These Modern Women
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ELAINE SHOWALTER is a literary critic and professor of English at Princeton University.

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These Modern Women

Autobiographical Essays from the Twenties
Edited by Elaine Showalter

Introduction by Elaine Showalter

In 1926-27, The Nation published these seventeen anonymous essays by "women active in professional and public life." At that time The Nation editors noted that, "Our object is to discover the origin of their modern point of view toward men, marriage, children, and jobs." In the introduction, Elaine Showalter discusses the issues raised—from alcoholism to celibacy, from mother-daughter relationships to politics—and identifies and examines the lives of the authors, among whom are Crystal Eastman, Mary Austin, and Genevieve Taggard.

"[This is] an exciting book, painful and exhilarating too. . . . What do they have to tell us, these letters from the feminist attic? Why publish them now . . . ? For a number of reasons. First, experience is not all that different. These essays record the continuing effort necessary if women are to become the human creatures they want to be."

— Elizabeth Janeway

"These brief, often bitter-sweet reflections on their lives by a group of 1920s feminists reveal aspects of our struggle from a time that is too readily overlooked. Elaine Showalter's provocative and interesting introduction makes clear that we neglect this period at our peril. In calling our attention to facts we might prefer to ignore, Showalter performs an important service."

—Alix Kates Shulman