Our second woman is Lillian Hellman
She’s made it to this blog grâce à the following quotation, though I’m not convinced she was all that unattractive and I don’t want to get into the habit of suggesting that ugliness is okay because men can find a way to be attracted to women who possess it for other reasons. That is not what this blog is about. The relevant quote:
“Ambitious, acerbic and direct to the point of rudeness, Hellman was a woman of voracious appetites, the kind of “tough broad” who “can take the tops off bottles with her teeth”, according to a 1941 New Yorker profile. She knew she wasn’t a beauty (her first boyfriend said she looked like “a prow head on a whaling ship”), but she bristled with a sexual charisma designed to distract husbands from their wives. Lonely and insecure about her desirability, she found affirmation in affairs and friendships with men.”
[If you’re a tumblr newbie like me, you’ll need to be told that you access the article by clicking on this post’s title. I’m not 90, I swear, I’m 19, but sometimes the Internets… sometimes I don’t know what needs clicking.]
9:36 pm • 24 April 2012
“You don’t owe prettiness to anyone. Not to your boyfriend/spouse/partner, not to your co-workers, especially not to random men on the street. You don’t owe it to your mother, you don’t owe it to your children, you don’t owe it to civilization in general. Prettiness is not a rent you pay for occupying a space marked ‘female’.”
— Erin McKean
9:26 pm • 22 April 2012 • 24 notes
Our first woman is George Eliot, nineteenth century writer of Middlemarch and The Mill on the Floss, among others. Born Mary Ann Evans, she worked as a novelist, journalist, and translator in Victorian Britain. She is commonly cited as one of the best writers in Britain of her lifetime. I encourage you to discover more about her via the Internet. I haven’t read any of her books yet, but plan to start with Middlemarch because it’s one of the most celebrated novels ever written in the English language. The inimitable Virginia Woolf described it as “one of the few English novels written for grown-up people”. Emily Dickinson spoke pretty highly of it too.
Here’s what Henry James famously wrote of George Eliot in a letter in 1869: “She had a low forehead, a dull grey eye, a vast pendulous nose, a huge mouth full of uneven teeth and a chin and jawbone ‘qui n’en finissent pas’… Now in this vast ugliness resides a most powerful beauty which, in a very few minutes, steals forth and charms the mind, so that you end, as I ended, in falling in love with her. Yes, behold me in love with this great horse-faced bluestocking”. I love that so hard.
8:25 pm • 22 April 2012 • 4 notes