Conflicting Stories: American Women Writers at the Turn into the Twentieth Century

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Liz Ammons's book examines the dramatic appearance, at the turn of the century, of a highly talented group of American women writers from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds. How isolated occurrences of talent coalesced into a virtual phenomenon, and against what historical and social obstacles women of the early twentieth century contended, are recurring themes of Ammons' study. Posthumous barriers exist for these women today in the form of literary obscurity; Ammons seeks to overturn these barriers and broaden public recognition beyond individual, received authors (such as Wharton and Cather) by demonstrating the abilities of their peers. With extensive inclusion of numerous previously neglected women writers of African-American descent, Conflicting Stories joins a highly topical debate, and offers a necessary revision of mainstream criticism's simplified reading of America's literary past.