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Elizabeth Hardwick

November 30, 2010 in 1950s-1960s, 1960s-1970s, Intellectual history, Social history

Elizabeth Hardwick was a female novelist and feminist born in Lexington, Kentucky circa 1916.  Her name is often overlooked in history today and for what reason?  There are unfortunately many reasons why this woman who has contributed so much to the world of literature and feminism is so often ignored by historians.

Ms. Hardwick was a native of Kentucky and graduated from the University of Kentucky in 1939.  She was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship in 1947 and was first published by Harper’s in 1959, solidifying her future as one of the most influential female American writers.  Her first featured article was a piece titled “The Decline of Book Reviewing” in which she highly criticized book critiques that were done by prominent male authors and historians and even the New York Times.  Her criticism of book reviews inspired her to start a book review society of her own with the help of several other authors and scholars, including poet Robert Lowell, whom would eventually be her husband.

Overall, Ms. Hardwick published many novels including “The Ghostly Lover”, “The Simple Truth”, and “Sleepless Nights” all of which were top sellers.  She also continued to mentor and teach writing seminars at Barnard College and Columbia University through the 1970’s and 80’s.

Why is a majority of her work not made widely known throughout the commonwealth and the rest of the country?  How is a woman so magnificent reduced to near non-existence after leading such a well educated and exciting life?  There is reason to believe that being female has played a large role in Ms. Hardwick’s dissappearing act.  Other reasons include the lack of interest in literature and he rlast piece of work being published over 12 years ago.  Even so, Elizabeth Hardwick’s work and dedication to literature and society must be better recognized and given more notoriety.

Wiki Press.  Wikipedia.  Elizabeth Hardwick.  Oct. 31 2010.  30 November 2010.

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