Women Who Rewrote the World

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The mothers of modern womanhood were not, in many instances, mothers. Some weren’t feminists either.

Anais Nin, of the famous erotic diaries, made her way as the submissive mistress of the writer Henry Miller. Gertrude Stein, with her Julius Caesar haircut, had no interest in women’s rights; she thought genius was a male thing; it was said she taught Ernest Hemingway to write like a man.

The novelist and critic Mary McCarthy was a feminist and a femme fatale. Zora Neale Hurston, of the Harlem Renaissance, married repeatedly, but went through her writing life alone.

These were women before a women’s movement, daughters of a traditional age who saw that the old ways of dealing with sex, politics, race and religion were outworn and that new ways would have to be invented.

Claudia Roth Pierpont profiles twelve of them as “Passionate Minds” who rewrote the world – in this hour.
(Hosted by Christopher Lydon)


Claudia Roth Pierpont