Friday, October 17, 2008

Literary Loves

This post is not really about fashion--maybe "style" would be a better word. I have been thinking a lot about a different kind of style lately...that is, writing style. In the midst of studying for my exams, I am feeling both a sense of gratefulness for the work I have chosen to do as well as a sense of being overwhelmed and inundated by words. When things start getting tedious, or the words start running together, or I feel like I am suffocating under an avalanche of library books, I have to figure out ways to put things into perspective. For some reason, it always helps me to look at pictures of the authors I am reading (and since most of my favorite authors are women, I get to admire their ensembles as well). I like to picture them leaning over their writing desk, sitting at their typewriters, or jotting notes on a napkin in a cafe. It is interesting to try and decipher some kind of connection between their pictures and their writing...or to see if the personality of their works comes out in their pose, the tilt of their hat, or their facial expression. By seeing them as I read, I form some kind of sympathy with them -- a mutual understanding of their work. I like to imagine meeting these women, having a conversation with them about what drove them, what inspired them, and what challenges they were able to overcome (or not to overcome, and why). I suppose this is a form of procrastination, like many of the things I find myself doing during the day when I should be studying, but somehow it feels more productive, and it helps me understand and discern the torrent of words swirling around in my brain. So, I thought I would just share a few photos of some of the most intriguing, talented, provocative modernist women -- women who pushed the envelope of style and subject when it came to the written word, and who each, correspondingly, seem to have had an equally strong grasp on unique personal style...

Zora Neale Hurston

H.D. (Hilda Doolittle)

Katherine Mansfield

Margaret Anderson

Jean Rhys

Nella Larsen

Djuna Barnes

Anais Nin


Anonymous said...

I am such a big fan of Anais Nin (and Henry Miller too). I hadn't seen that photo before so thank you for posting!

These women are such inspirations, not only we're they creative and intellectually amazing in the midst of a male-dominated arena, but they looked damn good doing it!

chelsea said...

I love old photos like this.