Silences

Silences coverSilences
Tillie Olsen
Feminist Press, City University of New York
Anniversary edition, July 22, 2014, 370 pages
Kindle edition $9.99
Purchased during an Early Bird Books sale for $1.99

The book Silences was originally published in 1978. This edition is a 2003 reprint with a long introduction that page homage to Tillie Olsen and gives her credit for broadening the scope of reading lists in college curriculum.

The book is a strange hodgepodge conglomeration. The first two pieces are reconstructions of talks Olsen gave in which she calls out the marginalization of women authors and writers of color. Points very well and clearly made.

This is followed by Olsen’s very long afterword to the 1972 reprint of the nineteenth century expose, Life in the Iron Mills by Rebecca Harding Davis, a marginalized writer writing about marginalized men and women and their horrific working conditions.

The book then includes excerpts from a variety of authors, many of whom were not at all marginalized. Olsen also writes about the poor pay authors receive and the lack of recognition given women writers.

This is a book of the 1970’s. I was in the book business in those days and when Olsen writes that most publishing houses “are now owned by” conglomerate corporations I can only think that is nothing at all compared to the consolidated state of publishing today.

If nothing else Silences captures one worldview in the 1970’s and for that it is worth preserving.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s