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Paley, Grace Goodrich

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

With a worldwide reputation larger than her relatively modest output, Grace Paley, poet, short fiction writer, and social activist was a significant feminist figure of the postmodern 20th century and Jewish literature. At a time when familial writings were considered trivial, she was among those early pioneers who wrote about the personal and political lives of women and children, especially focusing on the fatigue, sexuality, and exasperation of single mothers of all lifestyles.

Paley was born in the Bronx as Grace Goodside, the youngest child of immigrant Ukrainian Jewish antireligious socialists who were exiled by Czar Nicholas II to various prisons. She grew up in a feisty, intellectual household with two older teenage siblings, aunts, a grandmother, and any needy relative arriving from distant shores. Her ...

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