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
I absolutely adored this book! 'Sharp' women of the 20th century literary New York crowd are exactly my cup of tea and so I consumed it much faster than I thought I would. Almost all the women Dean discusses in Sharp have been on my radar in some way or other, so I was absolutely thrilled to read about their lives, their work, and how their individual paths interlaced. Dean treads lightly on the line between conversational biographical facts and literary analysis, but the balance, for me, was ri ...more
At its best, Sharp feels like a lighthouse's glare beamed into the dark depths of a brackish ocean. It illuminates the lives of its subjects, whether you've never heard them before or, in fact especially, when you thought you'd heard everything about them. The book, as Dean must have hoped it would, given the dedication written to "every person who's ever been told, 'You're too smart for your own good'", feels like it's setting the record straight and settling some ancient score; who knows where ...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
Sharp is an exceptionally well written exploration of some of the most influential women writers of the last century. Almost every chapter explores a different woman's writing, giving details of their childhood and adolescent years as well as the intimate details of their writing careers. Dean differentiates this book from other collections of short biographies through two methods:
(1) She considers the writers' impacts on each other, rather than writing about them in isolation. Several chapters ...more
I’m a sucker for biographical information used to provide a point outside of a history. This collection highlights women I had not heard of or only had an idea of by describing their time periods, motivations, successes, failures, and relationships to one another. I loved the format and learned a great deal. Perhaps the best part of this book was that it brought light to women not frequently talked of, but for me personally, I loved that reading this has motivated me to explore writings in which ...more
This wasn't precisely what I had expected, but seeing as this turns out to be an intellectual history of notable 20th century female public thinkers, I was quite happy with what I got. Michelle Dean has a real talent for picking choice quotes and events from her subjects, and I was delighted that she takes us through how these brilliant women were socially and professionally collected. This book made me want to drop everything and pick up all the collections of writings from these women that I c ...more
An outstanding, must-read book--lovers of Didion, Sontag, Dorothy Parker or all the other brilliant women explored here: this is for you. A gift to the discussion of 20th-century arts and letters. And a lovesong to smart women.
From BBC Radio 4 - Book of the week:
As part of the Algonquin Round Table, Dorothy Parker established her reputation as one of the most brilliant wits in New York and came to epitomize the liberated woman of the 1920s.
As both a novelist and a critic McCarthy was noted for bitingly satiric commentaries on marriage, sexual expression and the role of women in contemporary urban America.
Susan Sontag was a brilliant essayist - inquisitive, analytical, fearlessly outspoken. Her ...more