Other Free Encyclopedias » Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern Fiction » Encyclopedia of Literature: Joseph O'Connor Biography to Cynthia Ozick Biography

Tillie Olsen Biography

(1913–2007), Partisan Review, Yonnondio: From the Thirties, Silences, Tell Me a Riddle

women nebraska sensitivity including

American poet, novelist, short-story writer, critic, and activist, born in Omaha, Nebraska, she grew up in a poor household. She left school early, and as a teenager wrote various sketches and musical dramas for the Young People's Socialist League; in 1932 she was imprisoned for her leafleting activities. Her early work, much of which described her life as an industrial worker in her home state of Nebraska, was published in Partisan Review, including versions of the opening chapters of Yonnondio: From the Thirties (1974); the title is from the American Indian word for ‘lament for the lost’, and the novel displays a powerful awareness of the ruling social forces and a sensitivity to individual aspirations. With the pressures of family and domestic life, she ceased writing until the early 1960s. A collection of essays and extracts entitled Silences (1965) is an impassioned blend of personal memories and socio-historical observations, focusing on the stultification of individual expression owing to the restrictions imposed by class, race, or gender. A few stories, including ‘Requa I’ (1970), were collected as Tell Me a Riddle (1961), and her 1972 essay ‘One out of Twelve: Women Who Are Writers in Our Century’ was incorporated in the 1978 edition of Silences. Her other works include a collection of women's writings entitled Mother to Daughter, Daughter to Mother (1984). Her sensitivity to the politics of class and gender has inspired such women writers as Margaret Atwood, Adrienne Rich, Maxine Hong Kingston, and Ellen Moers.

User Comments

Your email address will be altered so spam harvesting bots can't read it easily.
Hide my email completely instead?

Cancel or