Archives par étiquette : Tillie Olsen


The four pieces in TELL ME A RIDDLE are lyrical bulletins of working-class family life, charged with emotional detail and delivered with an attention to the rhythms of consciousness more rigorous and powerful than most of what is called realism.” –A.O. Scott, New York Times

by Tillie Olsen
‎ University of Nebraska Press, 2013
(via the Frances Goldin Literary Agency)

A century after her birth, Tillie Olsen’s writing is as relevant as when it first appeared; indeed, the clarity and passion of her vision and style have, if anything, become even more striking over time. Collected here for the first time are several of Olsen’s nonfiction pieces about the 1930s, early journalism pieces, and short fiction, including the four beautifully crafted, highly celebrated stories originally published as TELL ME A RIDDLE: “I Stand Here Ironing,” “Hey Sailor, What Ship?,” “O Yes,” and “Tell Me a Riddle.” Also included, for the first time since it appeared in the 1971 Best American Short Stories, is “Requa I.”
In these stories, as in all of her work, Olsen set a new standard for the treatment of women and the poor and for the depiction of their lives and circumstances. In her hands, the hard truths about motherhood and marriage, domestic life, labor, and political conviction found expression in language of such poetic intensity and depth that their influence continues to be felt today.
An introduction by Olsen’s granddaughter, the poet Rebekah Edwards, and a foreword by her daughter Laurie Olsen provide a personal and generational context for the author’s work.

Tillie Olsen, 1912-2007, is internationally renowned for her powerful writing about the inner lives of working-class families, women, and minorities. Her books, Tell Me a Riddle, Yonnondio from the Thirties, Silences, and her essays and lectures, have been translated into twelve languages. In April 2021, A.O. Scott, the critic at large and co-chief film critic for The New York Times, wrote about Tillie Olsen for his essay series on influential American authors, saying she “helped change the study of American literature, opening its canon to neglected voices and traditions.”

YONNONDIO de Tillie Olsen

The hopes, struggles, and dreams of a poor Wyoming family in the 1920s are revealed in their quest for a better life. Written by the author in the 1930s and rediscovered by her in the 1970s.

From the Thirties
by Tillie Olsen
Delacorte Press, 1974
(via Frances Goldin Literary Agency)

YONNONDIO follows the heartbreaking path of the Holbrook family in the late 1920s and the Great Depression as they move from the coal mines of Wyoming to a tenant farm in western Nebraska, ending up finally on the kill floors of the slaughterhouses and in the wretched neighborhoods of the poor in Omaha, Nebraska.
Mazie, the oldest daughter in the growing family of Jim and Anna Holbrook, tells the story of the family’s desire for a better life – Anna’s dream that her children be educated and Jim’s wish for a life lived out in the open, away from the darkness and danger of the mines. At every turn in their journey, however, their dreams are frustrated, and the family is jeopardized by cruel and indifferent systems.

Tillie Olsen (1912-2007) was an American author of fiction and nonfiction whose slim body of work was very influential for her treatment of the lives of women and the poor. She was one of the first writers to draw attention to why women have been less likely to become published authors (and why they receive less attention than male authors when they are published). In April 2021, A.O. Scott, New York Times critic at large and co-chief film critic, included her in his essay series of the most influential authors, and credited her with changing the « study of American literature, opening its canon to neglected voices and traditions. »