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Tillie Olsen

Tillie Olsen’s own struggles to combine writing with working and raising a family spurred her to recover the writing of other silenced women writers, revolutionizing the study of women’s literature.

Tillie Olsen, 1913 - 2007

A daughter of immigrants and a working mother starved for time to write, Tillie Olsen drew from her personal experiences to create a small but influential body of work.

"Tell Me a Riddle" reissued in paperback

August 15, 1971

On August 15, 1971, ten years after its original publication, Tillie Olsen's short story collection Tell Me a Riddle was re-issued in a new

Tillie Olsen

Writer Tillie Olsen is a leading spokesperson for silent and oppressed workers, especially creative women whose daily routine stifles their expression.

Fiction in the United States

Literature by American Jewish women reflects historical trends in American Jewish life and indicates the changing issues facing writers who worked to position themselves as Americans, Jews, and women.

Assimilation in the United States: Twentieth Century

Jewish women began to assimilate into American society and culture as soon as they stepped off the boat. Some started even earlier, with reports and dreams of the goldene medine, the golden land of liberty and opportunity. Very few resisted adapting to the language and mores of the United States; those who did often returned to Europe. Well over ninety percent stayed, even those who cursed Columbus’s voyage and subsequent European settlement in North America.

Tillie Olsen: Voicing What Was Silenced

by  Jordan Namerow

Last week, after Jewish writer Tillie Olsen died at the age of 94, I picked up a copy of Tell Me A Riddle, her first collection of short stories published in 1961. Last night I re-read “I Stand Here Ironing,” a story that recounts a poor working woman’s ambivalence about her parenting skills and about her eldest daughter’s future during the Great Depression.

Topics: Feminism, Fiction
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