Passionate Minds: Women Rewriting the World

  • * Finalist, National Book Critics Circle Award



Passionate Minds: Women Rewriting the World is a collection of essays about influential women writers, all originally published in The New Yorker, although much revised and expanded for this book.  It presents an emphatically diverse group: Hannah Arendt and Ayn Rand, Gertrude Stein and Mae West, Doris Lessing and Mary McCarthy, Zora Neale Hurston and Eudora Welty.  Divided into sections dealing broadly with sex, race, and politics, this is a multi-chaptered story about how ambitious women worked out their destinies in an age of momentous change.  It takes on the issues of romantic love, knowingly avoided or helplessly pursued; physical beauty, as a weapon and as a mirror-lined trap; the  possibility of  a feminine style in writing, aspired to despised; the opposition between moral and artistic purpose – or, as it was often defined, between proper womanly sacrifice and disgraceful selfishness.  A finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, Passionate Minds was described by the New York Times as “a book that sparkles with intelligence, wit and human interest.”