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Sarton, May

poet teacher creativity woman

(US, 1912–95)

Born in Belgium, Sarton was a novelist, poet, and teacher. She is also known for her autobiographical writings, particularly Journal of a Solitude (1973), written as a year's diary reflecting on depression and creativity. Her novels usually concern friendships between women, the discovery of their sexuality, and the importance of human dignity. In The Magnificent Spinster (1985), a writer re-creates the life of her recently deceased friend and former teacher. The Education of Harriet Hatfield (1989) addresses the issue of homophobia more directly in its story of a bereaved woman who opens a feminist bookstore, encountering local prejudice as well as support. Mrs Stevens Hears the Mermaids Singing (1965) depicts an elderly woman poet forced to review the sources of her creativity in her early marriage and subsequent lesbian relationships.

Virginia Woolf, Elizabeth Bowen  JS

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