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A series of extraordinary explorations of the biographies and literary achievements of twelve modern women writers, Passionate Minds tells the stories of women who “rewrote” the world that they inherited, shaping beliefs about vital issues ranging from religion to sex to race to politics.
Claudia Roth Pierpont organizes these probing portraits into three sections. Broadly speaking, the first deals with issues of sexual freedom, in essays on Olive Schreiner, Gertrude Stein, Anaïs Nin, and—surprisingly, for those who do not know her as a writer—Mae West. The second section, which examines Margaret Mitchell, Zora Neale Hurston, and Eudora Welty, deals with issues of race and the American South during a period of wrenching change and retrenchment. The third focuses on politics, particularly on the experience and historical interpretation of Soviet Communism and Nazi Germany: the Russian poet Marina Tsvetaeva, Ayn…[more]