Ambivalent times: the short fiction of Tess Slesinger

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1983
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Dunham, Myrna
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Dale H. Rose
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English

The Department of English seeks to provide all university students with the skills of effective communication and critical thinking, as well as imparting knowledge of literature, creative writing, linguistics, speech and technical communication to students within and outside of the department.

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The Department of English and Speech was formed in 1939 from the merger of the Department of English and the Department of Public Speaking. In 1971 its name changed to the Department of English.

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1939-present

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  • Department of English and Speech (1939-1971)

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Abstract

The American nineteen thirties produced a number of female writers whose work is now largely unknown. Among these are Josephine Johnson, Josephine Herbst, and Tess Slesinger, who at the age of twenty-nine astonished the New York literary community with publication of her novel, The Unpossessed. Known as a short story writer and motion-picture script writer as well as a novelist, Tess Slesinger, born in New York City in 1905, was the youngest member of an achieving family. Her mother, Augusta Slesinger, was a practicing psychoanalyst and a longtime welfare worker in the city; her father, Anthony, was a textile executive as was her brother Laurence. Another brother, Donald, after a varied career as an analytical psychologist, studied with Erich Fromm and became a practicing psychoanalyst. A third brother, Stephen, was a television producer. Tess Slesinger, who chose her literary vocation early in life, said of herself, "I was born with the curse of intelligent parents, a happy childhood and nothing valid to rebel against so I rebelled against telling the truth . . . I told whoppers at three, tall stories at four, and home runs at five. From six to sixteen I wrote them in a diary."

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Sat Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 1983