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The Duchess of Alba, known as Goya’s muse, recalls the passions of youth on her deathbed in the royal court of eighteenth-century Madrid. A young woman defies the protocols of her arranged marriage and pursues love-and the life of a published writer-until her readers condemn her as a danger to society in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Nina Berberova escapes persecution during Russian Revolution and flees to Paris, where the intelligentsia naively covet the promise of a Soviet Union. These three women attempt to find passion and intimacy in worlds that rarely accommodate female desire. Goya’s Glass is an unforgettable novel of guilty pleasures coursing through history.
The Memoirs of an Egyptian Feminist, 1879-1924
In this rare first-hand account of the private world of a Cairo harem during the years before Egypt declared independence in 1922, Shaarawi recalls her childhood and early adult life, including her marriage at age thirteen. Shaarawi's feminist activism grew along with her involvement in Egypt's nationalist struggle and culminated in 1923 when she publicly removed her veil in a Cairo railroad station, a daring act of defiance.
In June 2001 Rahna Reiko Rizzuto travels to Hiroshima to research and interview survivors of the atomic bomb, leaving her husband and two young sons in New York. Her work does not go well until September 11, when the survivors finally open up as they share Americans’ fears and relive their own trauma. But Rizzuto’s marriage is crumbling. On her own in Japan, she questions her role as a mother and wife and ultimately makes the painful decision to get a divorce and have the children live with her ex-husband.
Michal Govrin, one of Israel’s most important contemporary writers, explores the post-Holocaust world through fiction and essays. Govrin uses a multiplicity of literary styles and voices to capture the denial and exuberance of discovering oneself alive when so much has been destroyed. Several essays deal with her visits to Europe, especially Auschwitz, which her mother survived, and her half-brother did not.
The Life and Times of the Woman Who Brought Abortion From the Back Alley to the Boardroom.
Merle Hoffman's life story is riveting. A former classical pianist, a self-made millionaire, and a feminist who found her life's work providing abortions, she has been a fearless crusader for women's right to choose. Over the years, Hoffman has used her entrepreneurial spirit to build one of the most comprehensive women's medical centers in the country. As a medical provider, she pioneered Patient Power, encouraging women to participate in their own healthcare decisions. Whether addressing the murder of abortion providers like Dr. George Tiller or challenging women to understand their own power over their bodies and the language used to wield such power, Merle Hoffman has been on the front lines of the feminist movement, a fierce warrior in the battle for choice.
Joss and Gold follows Li An, a Malaysian woman living in post-colonial Malaysia in 1969. After she meets Chester, an American Peace Corps volunteer, she moves to New York with him where she is confronted with the possibilities of being an economically independent woman. This novel explores the paradoxes of an era in which cultures merge and traditions die. It is a feminist manifesto and a commentary on women’s struggles for sexual and social agency in postcolonial Southeast Asia.
With humor, rage, and confessional detail, Virginie Despentes—in her own words “more King Kong than Kate Moss”—delivers a highly charged account of women’s lives today. She explodes common attitudes about sex and gender, and shows how modern beauty myths are ripe for rebelling against. Using her own experiences of rape, prostitution, and working in the porn industry as a jumping-off point, she creates a new space for all those who can’t or won’t obey the rules.
The founder of the Feminist Press and one of the first proponents of women’s studies presents a living history of the growth of feminism, especially in academia. Howe began her career teaching at major universities around the U.S. She went on to chair the Modern Language Association and bring women to the forefront in that organization. Next she founded the Feminist Press, which has been publishing feminist writing for more than four decades, and helped organize an international women’s studies network. From her summers in Mississippi where she created a freedom school in the dangerous days of the civil rights movement to her friendships with iconic writers like Marilyn French, Tillie Olsen, and Grace Paley, Howe documents a lifetime of activism.
Life in the Mills is the devastating story of a poverty stricken factory worker in the 19th century, an immigrant to the US from Wales who had hoped for a better life. A true artist, Hugh Wolfe, uses cast offs from the iron mills to fashion statues that depict his hopelessness. When his cousin steals a wallet from a wealthy visitor to the factory in hopes of allowing Hugh the freedom to pursue art, both their lives are destroyed. Rebecca Harding published this story anonymously in the Atlantic in 1861. It won instant fame and is one of the earliest American realist works. It explores factory life in nineteenth century America and is a critique of American capitalism, labor issues and women’s rights.
The Hidden History of Women in Science
Des Jardins uncovers the stories of prominent women scientists – from Rachel Carson to Jane Goodall to the women of the Manhattan Project—to explore how women often approach science differently than men. She offers insight into the barriers women in science face as well as their successes, and shows how socially defined gender roles have shaped scientific inquiry.