The ten brilliant women who are the focus of Sharp came from different backgrounds and had vastly divergent political and artistic opinions. But they all made a significant contribution to the cultural and intellectual history of America and ultimately changed the course of the twentieth century, in spite of the men who often undervalued or dismissed their work. These ten womenDorothy Parker, Rebecca West, Hannah Arendt, Mary McCarthy, Susan Sontag, Pauline Kael, Joan Didion, Nora Ephron, Renata Adler, and Janet Malcolmare united by what Dean calls sharpness, the ability to cut to the quick with precision of thought and wit. Sharp is a vibrant depiction of the intellectual beau monde of twentieth-century New York, where gossip-filled parties at night gave out to literary slugging-matches in the pages of the Partisan Review or the New York Review of Books. It is also a passionate portrayal of how these women asserted themselves through their writing in a climate where women were treated with extreme condescension by the male-dominated cultural establishment. Mixing biography, literary criticism, and cultural history, Sharp is a celebration of this group of extraordinary women, an engaging introduction to their works, and a testament to how anyone who feels powerless can claim the mantle of writer, and, perhaps, change the world....
|Title||:||Sharp: The Women Who Made an Art of Having an Opinion|
|Format Type||:||Kindle Edition|
|Number of Pages||:||384 pages|
|Url Type||:||Home » Sharp » Sharp: The Women Who Made an Art of Having an Opinion|
Sharp: The Women Who Made an Art of Having an Opinion Reviews
A meticulously researched overview of the women who shaped twentieth century public arguments. In a society still averse to outspoken women, this book holds a mirror to a world today's women writers likely wish existed.
A collection studying various female writers who at least began in the 20th century, all of whom were at one or another time called 'sharp' - which may seem a bit of a stretch, as premises go, but it stands for a whole constellation of qualities: women who because they weren't 'nice' were sometimes considered destructive, but who also tended to have at least somewhat vexed relationships to the feminist movement one might have expected to welcome them. I requested it from Netgalley principally be ...more
Mary McCarthy saw Susan Sontag at a party, where else, and said to her
“I hear you’re the new me.”
This account of the careers of Dorothy Parker, Hannah Arendt, Mary McCarthy, Susan Sontag, Pauline Kael, Joan Didion, Nora Ephron, Renata Adler and Janet Malcolm with walk-on parts for Rebecca West and Zora Neale Hurston was kinda interesting and I must also confess kinda just a little bit boring too.
I have read biographies of three of them already and am a big fan of Janet Malcolm already but th ...more
(2.5) “People have trouble with women who aren’t ‘nice,’ … who have the courage to sometimes be wrong in public.” In compiling 10 mini-biographies of twentieth-century women writers and cultural critics who weren’t afraid to be unpopular, Dean (herself a literary critic) celebrates their feminist achievements and insists “even now … we still need more women like this.” Her subjects include Rebecca West, Mary McCarthy, Susan Sontag, Joan Didion, Nora Ephron and Renata Adler. She draws on the wome ...more
Only really knew and read four of the women covered here: Dorothy Parker, Mary McCarthy, Joan Didion, and Nora Ephron. The other six were familiar names, but aside from Pauline Kael, I was pretty clueless. But I found it an interesting, well-researched book with more than forty pages of notes and index.
Conflicted is how I feel about this book. I enjoyed reading about Dorothy Parker; I had a hard time with the other writers. Perhaps it is because the author went to the pettiness and the criticism of each of the females authors had with each other. She threw in a good measure included the criticism of the women by men who were also critics as well. I guess a book about women writers who were critics would be full of criticisms, but it felt like just a diatribe of complaining that had a textbook ...more
This was not an easy book to read, but I am glad that I stuck with it and finished. As the subtitle indicates, Sharp is about "The Women Who Made an Art of Having an Opinion." (Aside: I recently heard a local talk host query, "Why do all current books seems to have subtitles?" Why?) The ten women of Sharp are Dorothy Parker, Rebecca West, Hannah Arendt, Mary McMarthy, Susan Sontag, Pauline Kael, Joan Didion, Nora Ephron, Renata Adler and Janet Macolm. While I had heard of most, though only read ...more
What a disappointment.
This is a book about women who built careers on criticism, yet does very little to really, truly delve into the minefield of what it means to be a person whose very existence is “critical” (Living While Female) while turning the mirror around on the societies that deemed them critical in the first place. The writing is light and easy to absorb, and the women discussed are interesting figures, which makes it all the more impressive that I was in no way *excited* about this ...more