Home > Journalism, Writing > Cynthia Ozick, Feminist Writer

Cynthia Ozick, Feminist Writer

I won’t try to explain why I read the lead story in the NYT Sunday Styles section two Sundays ago. What possible explanation is there for reading about The Rising Stars of Gossip Blogs?

After an introductory section, the article introduces each of the eight rising stars whose group photo graces its top. I skipped around, reading a little bit about each of them and their current outlet, eventually reaching Lilit Marcus, editor of The Gloss. At the website’s homepage, you can see its self description as “A gloss on beauty, fashion, style, love and more.” No matter. Rather, what prompts me to write about the article and the site is the following passage: “The site, which focuses on fashion and beauty as much as the latest from the feminist writer Cynthia Ozick, aims to be lighter, Ms. Spiers said.”

I was dumbstruck. It had never occurred to me to describe Cynthia Ozick as a feminist writer. Maybe she is a feminist. Maybe not. But mostly she’s a writer, a great one, with enormous range — novels, short stories, essays. It’s not unusual to brand a writer with some simplistic label. One might complain whenever this is done. Sometimes I don’t even notice. Maybe I should. But this time I noticed, and it struck me as an especially dumb reduction of a great writer (who, by the way, if she must be simplistically reduced, might more naturally be called a Jewish writer).

By coincidence, just as I was going to start this post, The New Yorker put up a post by Erin Overbey on Ozick. The post is part of their 85th anniversary series, in which every day some piece from the The New Yorker archive is made freely available online, along with the entire contents of the issue the piece appeared in. An accompanying post provides context on the author and an excerpt from the piece. Today’s piece is Ozick’s short story The Shawl.

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Categories: Journalism, Writing
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