Month: October 2019

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (First published in 1818.)

I finally read Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, considered one of the greatest horror stories ever written, not only for its gothic style, but for its chilling depiction of what comes from ambition in overdrive and the absence of compassion. It’s uncanny that a horror story such as this, when closely examined, reads more like an instruction book for life, a cautionary tale about how not to behave if you’re seeking a fulfilling existence amongst the living. Mary Shelley was twenty years old when her novel Frankenstein was published, first anonymously, but five years later re-released with her name as author....

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Angelina Grimké: Digging up the Weed of Racism by the Roots Out of Each of Our Hearts (American 1805-1879)

On February 21, 1838 when Angelina Grimké gave a speech before the state house in Boston, Massachusetts, many already knew her name and had heard her speak. But this was a first: “Until this, no American woman had ever spoken to a legislative body. Women did not vote nor stand for office and had no influence in political affairs. They received inferior elementary schooling and were, with the exception of recently opened Oberlin College, excluded from all institutions of higher learning. No church, except the Quakers, permitted women any voice in church affairs or in the ministry. The belief...

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Three Women by Lisa Taddeo (Published in 2019)

This book put me through the wringer. I was drawn to the title, Three Women, and the author’s last name, Taddeo, since I had worked with a student with that last name years ago. I had heard nothing about this bestseller, but there it was, on a new arrival display at Barnes & Noble. Soon this nonfiction work about female desire arrived at our library, so I eagerly checked it out. Riveted, I flipped through the pages, periodically reminding myself that these were true accounts. Soon it became apparent that in order to get through this book, I was...

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Sarah Grimké: Women Must Acquire Feminist Consciousness by Conscious Effort (American 1792-1873)

“But I ask no favors for my sex. I surrender not our claim to equality. All I ask of our brethren is, that they will take their feet from off our necks, and permit us to stand upright …” —Sarah Grimké Sarah Grimké’s story absolutely breaks my heart. Her entire life was limited and defined by sexism. Her abhorrence of the slavery and racism that she witnessed growing up as the daughter of a wealthy plantation owner in the state of South Carolina in the United States before the Civil War, caused her to make the conscious choice to...

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Mary Wollstonecraft: A Wild Wish, English (1759-1797)

In March of 2013 a stencil silhouette of a woman many refer to as the ‘mother of feminism’ mysteriously appeared on an exterior wall of the Unitarian church on Newington Green, in north London. This life-sized image of Mary Wollstonecraft was not entirely shocking, since many had been campaigning for a statue of Wollstonecraft to be erected in this place, where in 1784 she had established a school for girls and later completed much of her writing, her best known work being A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, published in 1792. How did this 18th century woman come...

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