Tuesday, January 27, 2009

“Women’s Art is Women’s Work”

I’m very happy to announce that I’ll be posting some exciting essays on women writers of the 18th & 19th centuries, with particular attention to how the writing of these women—ranging from the very famous like Jane Austen to quite obscure—resonated with “women’s work” in the domestic sphere. The essays have been written over the past few years by my wife Eberle Umbach & our very good friend Audrey Bilger as part of a larger, ongoing project; Eberle & Audrey have been very kind & generous to allow these essays to appear on Robert Frost’s Banjo.

In addition to being very engaging essays both about the various writers, Eberle & Audrey paint a picture of home life that’s fascinating—both foreign & familiar; & to top it off, many of the essays end with a recipe for some dish that’s related to the topic at hand—so adventurous cooks out there, be on the watch!

Tomorrow’s essay by Eberle will deal with the topic of
“animal fiction” in general, & with the fasciating Beatrix Potter (or Peter Rabbit fame) in particular. Potter was a singular character herself, & a writer (even beyond her children’s lit reputation) who’s worthy of renewed consideration. Of course, I love children’s lit: Tove Jansson’s Moomintroll books, Carl Sandburg’s Rootabaga Stories, Kenneth Grahame’s Wind in the Willows, Margery Sharpe’s Rescuers, & of course Lewis Carroll are all among my favorite books. This essay most certainly has made me want to become reacquainted with Beatrix Potter; I hope it may do the same for some of you.

If you can’t wait to go to your library or bookseller, Beatrix Potter is available at Project Gutenberg. So read up on her strangely compelling creatures & be sure to tune in for our guest blogger tomorrow!

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