Sophisticated Ladies in Life and Literature: Selective Portraits

It is our great pleasure to announce Dr. Anca Peiu’s new book, Sophisticated Ladies in Life and Literature: Selective Portraits. The press presentation is available below.

Anca Peiu Sophisticated Ladies in Life and Literature: Selective Portraits 

To a certain extent, Dr. Anca Peiu’s newly published volume, Sophisticated Ladies in Life and Literature: Selective Portraits (C. H. Beck, Bucharest, 2022), is a continuation of her book, Romantic Renderings of Selfhood in Classic American Literature (C. H. Beck, 2017). Each one of the chapters originally dedicated to Emily Dickinson, (with eighteen of her poems analyzed at that time), and Kate Chopin, (the bold American pioneer of literary naturalism, also carefully analyzed in Peiu’s same former volume) are now dutifully completed by the corresponding four essays, added in the present volume, each one of these essays deepening and nuancing the first approach of the two 19th century American women writers. On the other hand, this new volume could bridge the gap between Romantic Renderings and a further book (as just a work in progress for now) about Old and New Southern feminine literature. The beginning is already accomplished in Sophisticated Ladies, by quite a number of Peiu’s academic essays focusing on such Southern lady writers as: Kate Chopin, Flannery O’Connor, Eudora Welty, Margaret Mitchell.

All in all, there are twenty-seven literary and cultural feminine personalities commented upon in this new book. Fifteen of them are American women writers and distinguished scholars, such as: Emily Dickinson, Kate Chopin, Edith Wharton, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Gertrude Stein, Zelda Fitzgerald, Flannery O’Connor, Eudora Welty, Margaret Mitchell, Toni Morrison, Katherine Verdery, Anne F. Hyde, Therese Anne Fowler, Katie Henninger, Yaa Gyasi. Also here discussed then are two prominent Canadian feminine personalities of international prestige: writer Alice Munro, and literary theorist Linda Hutcheon. These are followed by three major women writers from the UK: Victorian novelist Anne Bronte; Virginia Woolf, the emblematic writer of British high modernism; and Angela Carter, a fine representative of British postmodernism, unfortunately also dead before her time now. Last but not least, no less than seven Romanian feminine cultural and literary personalities are presented within these pages, such as: Ana Blandiana, Lidia Vianu, Rodica Marian, Michaela Mudure, Luiza Pârvu, Olimpia Melinte, Amalia Precup. 

As anyone can see, two thirds of these authors are our contemporaries or at least were born during the 20th century. They are quite distinct from each other as creative personalities. What they share though is – beside the divine gift of a unique individual talent – an exceptional intellectual capacity, plus resilience, plus devoted hard work. This book is paying tribute to some exemplary women workaholics, therefore as such it is bound to remain inexhaustible.