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Rita Mae Brown Biography

(1944– ), Rubyfruit Jungle, A Plain Brown Rapper, The Hand that Cradles the Rock

American novelist and poet born in Hanover, Pennsylvania, educated at the University of Florida, New York University, and the New York School of Visual Arts. Brown's works are deeply influenced by her commitment to the feminist and Gay Liberation movements. She is best known as the author of Rubyfruit Jungle, a sparklingly funny account of one woman's intellectual and sexual odyssey which, because of its erotic lesbian content, was rejected by several publishers before finally appearing in 1973. A Plain Brown Rapper (1976) sets out Brown's view of the women's movement in its first decade and reveals her abiding sympathy with women on the edge of society, including women of colour, lesbians, and working-class women. These sympathies inform her poetry, published in such politically charged volumes as The Hand that Cradles the Rock (1971), Songs to a Handsome Woman (1973), and Poems (1987). Novels like Six of One (1978) characteristically chronicle relationships between women. Southern Discomfort (1982), set in the context of a racially segregated community, tells of a love affair between a black adolescent and an older white woman. Sudden Death (1983) draws on Brown's own relationship with tennis champion Martina Navratilova to reveal the corrupt world of international tennis. Later novels include High Hearts (1986) a historical work, centred on the fortunes of a Southern woman fighting incognito with the Confederate army, and Bingo (1988).

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Bridgnorth Shropshire to Anthony Burgess [John Anthony Burgess Wilson Burgess] Biography