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Olsen, Tillie

  • By: Mary Ruth Marotte
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

Tillie Olsen (1913–2007), born Tillie Lerner in

Omaha, Nebraska, is considered to be one of American finest working-class writers. In her writings, she treats motherhood, in all its complexities, with humanity and respect. In Silences, the A Room of One's Own for the working class, Olsen explores the lives of many famous literary figures, concluding that female authors who gained the most notoriety were those who were unmarried, childless, and wealthy. Those who would attempt motherhood and writing have been few, and typically those mothers who were successful writers had the money, the help, and subsequently, the time to put pen to paper. Undoubtedly, Olsen's own life informed her work, as she did not publish her first book Tell Me a Riddle until she was 50 ...

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