Celebrate the fact that reality is even more fuzzy than logarithms in software.
Kate Chopin (1850-1904) was an American feminist. She wrote short stories, and novels. First published in The Atlantic Monthly, she was revered as one of the greatest writers in her time within a decade of her death. Chopin is a regionalist writer, with much of her work set in Louisiana. She’s an important part of the best American writers because of her exquisite writing abilities that draw a reader into the story, and keep them thinking about the story long after it has ended.
She looked into the distance, and the old terror flamed up for an instant, then sank again. Edna heard her father’s voice and her sister Margaret’s. She heard the barking of an old dog that was chained to the sycamore tree. The spurs of the cavalry officer clanged as he walked across the porch. There was the hum of bees, and the musky odor of pinks filled the air.
Kate Chopin, The Awakening
The color is repellent, almost revolting: a smouldering unclean yellow, strangely faded by the slow-turning sunlight.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman, “The Yellow Wallpaper”
“The Yellow Wallpaper” (1899).
A feminist writer writing from her own experiences. She suffered from postpartum depression, and was treated by Dr. Weir Mitchell, who supported the treatment of rest. Her short story, “The Yellow Wallpaper,” is a semi-autobiographical depiction of her experience in his care.
Why should we read Gilman? A feminist writer, explaining what life was like for women at the turn of the century.
I celebrate myself, and sing myself
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.
Walt Whitman, Song of Myself
In Song of Myself, Whitman celebrates himself. This is really granting his readers permission to celebrate themselves. A celebration of what is America and American.
If you are American, then Walt Whitman is your imaginative father and mother, even if, like myself, you have never composed a line of verse. You can nominate a fair number of literary works as candidates for the secular Scripture of the United States. They might include Melville’s Moby-Dick, Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and Emerson’s two series of Essays and The Conduct of Life. None of those, not even Emerson’s, are as central as the first edition of Leaves of Grass.
- Harold Bloom, literary critic