Here’s my review of Michelle Dean’s Sharp which is about the ten women writers who changed the NYC intellectual scene (and, therefore, that of the US) in the 20th-century. Dorothy Parker, Rebecca West, Hannah Arendt, Mary McCarthy, Susan Sontag, Pauline Kael, Joan Didion, Nora Ephron, Renata Adler, and Janet Malcolm — all earned their intellectual reputations by doing everything the male writers did, but often with more sass, style, and yes, smarts. Readers and writers all over the world still quote from these women’s works, many of which continue to stand the test of time.

Yes, no women writers of color there. Though, of course, Zora Neale Hurston, Audre Lorde, Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou, bell hooks, et al were also writing in the US then. But, sad as it is to admit, they were in the margins then. (I do reference another similar book here that was more inclusive.)

Anyway, as always, I’m looking for what we can learn from reading the lives and works of women writers and how they can (and should) shape cultural and socio-political thought.

Read the full review at PopMatters.

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