Tuesday, January 09, 2007

She stood there ironing

Tillie Olsen died on January 1 at age 94. She's a writer I never got around to in grad school, or later--my loss. There was a kind of feminism, back then, that struck me as special pleading. I was wrong, I think, in her case. After all, it took a mainstream male writer, Wallace Stegner, to recognize that her story "I Stand Here Ironing" was worth an investment. If it hadn't been for him, back in 1955, she wouldn't have won the Stanford University Creative Writing Fellowship that launched her career. This story and much more is told in Anne Fernald's moving tribute.

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