Sharp : The Women Who Made an Art of Having an Opinion

Michelle Dean

Bernadette Dunne (Narrator)

04-10-18

11hrs 35min

Abridgement

Unabridged

Genre

Nonfiction/Social Science

As low as $0.00
Play Audio Sample

04-10-18

11hrs 35min

Abridgement

Unabridged

Genre

Nonfiction/Social Science

Description

“Dunne’s elegant performance adds great value to the insightful text. Her voice is lovely, and she has prepared impeccably, never missing the music in complex sentences and acing the trickiest pronunciations.” AudioFile

A New York Times Editor’s Choice
A Glamour Magazine Pick of Books to Buy Your Mom for Mother's Day
A Newsweek Pick of Best Nonfiction for Summer Reading
An Esquire Magazine Pick of Best Books of 2018 (So Far)
A Paris Review Selection
A New York Times Pick of New on Paperback Row
A Vogue Pick of the Most Anticipated Books of 2018
A Bitch magazine pick for April
A Kirkus Reviews Pick of 11 Must-Read Books by Women
An Entertainment Weekly Pick of Anticipated Must-Reads
A Harper’s Bazaar Pick of Most Anticipated Books of 2018
A Vanity Fair Magazine Pick of Upcoming Books
A BookRiot Pick of Most Anticipated Books of 2018
A Millions.com Pick of Most Anticipated Books of 2018
A Refinery29 Pick of Books We Can't Wait to Read
A Kirkus Reviews Pick of 9 Selections for Book Clubs
A Publishers Weekly Pick of the Week
See All +

Dorothy Parker, Rebecca West, Hannah Arendt, Mary McCarthy, Susan Sontag, Pauline Kael, Joan Didion, Nora Ephron, Renata Adler, and Janet Malcolm―these brilliant women are the central figures of Sharp. Their lives intertwine as they cut through the cultural and intellectual history of America in the twentieth century, arguing as fervently with each other as they did with the sexist attitudes of the men who often undervalued their work as critics and essayists.

These women are united by what Dean terms as “sharpness,” the ability to cut to the quick with precision of thought and wit, a claiming of power through writing rather than position. Sharp is a vibrant and rich depiction of the intellectual beau monde of twentieth-century New York, where gossip-filled parties at night gave out to literary slanging matches in the pages of the Partisan Review or the New York Review of Books as well as a considered portrayal of how these women came to be so influential in a climate where women were treated with derision by the critical establishment.

Mixing biography, literary criticism, and cultural history, Sharp is an enthralling exploration of how a group of brilliant women became central figures in the world of letters despite the many obstacles facing them, a testament to how anyone not in a position of power can claim the mantle of writer and, perhaps, help change the world.

Praise

“Dunne’s elegant performance adds great value to the insightful text. Her voice is lovely, and she has prepared impeccably, never missing the music in complex sentences and acing the trickiest pronunciations.” AudioFile

“My platonic ideal nerdapalooza of a book, a study of seminal female writers…The whole is even greater than the sum of its incisive parts.” Parade

“Engaging portraits of brilliant minds. A useful take on significant writers ‘in a world that was not eager to hear women’s opinions about anything.’” Kirkus Reviews

“Shrewd, discerning, fresh, and crisply composed interpretations of the temperaments, experiences, and sophisticated trailblazing works of these gutsy and transformative thinkers.” Booklist

“Michelle Dean has delivered an exquisite examination—both rigorous and compassionate—of what it has meant to be a woman with a public voice and the power to use it critically. This book is ferociously good.” Rebecca Traister, New York Times bestselling author

“This is such a great idea for a book, and Michelle Dean carries it off, showing us the complexities of her fascinating, extraordinary subjects, in print and out in the world. Dean writes with vigor, depth, knowledge and absorption, and as a result Sharp is a real achievement.” Meg Wolitzer, New York Times bestselling author

“An elegant, incisive, and richly detailed account…Sharp is not simply a collection of distinct biographical essays but a vital composite portrait of the intellectual life of twentieth-century America. It’s also a lot more fun to read than a deeply researched study of a group of intellectuals has any business being. A necessary book by a wonderful writer.” Mark O’Connell, author of To Be a Machine

“There can’t be enough cultural histories which make the point that a woman intellectual must represent her own mind and not the collective mind of all her ‘sisters.’ Sharp is a brisk, entertaining, well-researched reminder that it’s impossible to write―or think―without making life very messy for oneself, but to do so is an achievement well worth the pains.” Sheila Heti, author of How Should a Person Be?

“Dean makes the convincing argument that women’s voices―if not necessarily feminist ones―did far more to define the last century’s intellectual life than we realize.” New York Times

“The women Dean profiles here were willing to be unpopular. That made them not only sharp, but brave…[Dean] deftly and often elegantly traces these women’s arguments about race, politics and gender.” Los Angeles Times

“Examines women who battled a sexist industry and a gossipy social scene (which sometimes led to public feuds) as they made their rise as public intellectuals, critics, and artists.” Esquire

“Features intertwining depictions of our most important twentieth-century female essayists and cultural critics…A hybrid of biography, literary criticism, and cultural history.” Millions.com

“Dean’s literary bash is as stimulating and insightful as its roster of guests. She not only encapsulates their biographies and achievements with remarkable concision, but also connects the dots between them.” NPR

“What I like most about Michelle Dean’s book Sharp: The Women Who Made an Art of Having an Opinion is its cumulative effect. It’s not a biography of one or two or even three brilliant intellectuals, but ten: ten women writers who are variously funny, acerbic, insightful, opinionated, and complex. Together, they make a sisterhood, even though, Dean explains, most would likely balk at that notion.” Paris Review

“Few readers could fail to be impressed by both the research behind and readability of this first book by Dean…[A] stunning and highly accessible introduction to a group of important writers.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)

+ More
Details
More Information
Language English
Release Day Apr 9, 2018
Release Date April 10, 2018
Release Date Machine 1523318400
Imprint Blackstone Publishing
Provider Blackstone Publishing
Categories Women's History Month, Literature & Fiction, Women's Fiction, Biographies & Memoirs, Politics & Social Sciences, Social Sciences, Art & Literature, Nonfiction - Adult, Nonfiction - All
Author Bio
Michelle Dean

Michelle Dean is a journalist, critic, and the recipient of the National Book Critics Circle’s 2016 Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing. A contributing editor at the New Republic, she has written for the New Yorker, Nation, New York Times Magazine, Slate, New York magazine, Elle, Harper’s, and BuzzFeed.

Narrator Bio
Bernadette Dunne

Bernadette Dunne is the winner of numerous AudioFile Earphones Awards and has twice been nominated for the prestigious Audie Award. She studied at the Royal National Theatre in London and the Studio Theater in Washington, DC, and has appeared at the Kennedy Center and off Broadway.

Overview

A New York Times Editor’s Choice
A Glamour Magazine Pick of Books to Buy Your Mom for Mother's Day
A Newsweek Pick of Best Nonfiction for Summer Reading
An Esquire Magazine Pick of Best Books of 2018 (So Far)
A Paris Review Selection
A New York Times Pick of New on Paperback Row
A Vogue Pick of the Most Anticipated Books of 2018
A Bitch magazine pick for April
A Kirkus Reviews Pick of 11 Must-Read Books by Women
An Entertainment Weekly Pick of Anticipated Must-Reads
A Harper’s Bazaar Pick of Most Anticipated Books of 2018
A Vanity Fair Magazine Pick of Upcoming Books
A BookRiot Pick of Most Anticipated Books of 2018
A Millions.com Pick of Most Anticipated Books of 2018
A Refinery29 Pick of Books We Can't Wait to Read
A Kirkus Reviews Pick of 9 Selections for Book Clubs
A Publishers Weekly Pick of the Week
See All +

Dorothy Parker, Rebecca West, Hannah Arendt, Mary McCarthy, Susan Sontag, Pauline Kael, Joan Didion, Nora Ephron, Renata Adler, and Janet Malcolm―these brilliant women are the central figures of Sharp. Their lives intertwine as they cut through the cultural and intellectual history of America in the twentieth century, arguing as fervently with each other as they did with the sexist attitudes of the men who often undervalued their work as critics and essayists.

These women are united by what Dean terms as “sharpness,” the ability to cut to the quick with precision of thought and wit, a claiming of power through writing rather than position. Sharp is a vibrant and rich depiction of the intellectual beau monde of twentieth-century New York, where gossip-filled parties at night gave out to literary slanging matches in the pages of the Partisan Review or the New York Review of Books as well as a considered portrayal of how these women came to be so influential in a climate where women were treated with derision by the critical establishment.

Mixing biography, literary criticism, and cultural history, Sharp is an enthralling exploration of how a group of brilliant women became central figures in the world of letters despite the many obstacles facing them, a testament to how anyone not in a position of power can claim the mantle of writer and, perhaps, help change the world.

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