Thursday, December 1, 2011

Recognition: Authors, Portraits & Society

I know that the December 5th, 2011 cover of the New Yorker ('black friday' by Daniel Clowes) is at least most overtly about the demise of books (in actual physical form) and small bookstores but I was much more interested in the depiction of authors on the cover.

I was struck by how quickly I recognized the male authors and my complete lack of ability to place the two women.  I was a little surprised at first but when I thought about it I couldn't recall seeing lauded female authors' depicted regularly whereas the many of the men are frequently portrayed in pop-culture items like those shown on the cover.  Maybe it's just me, but I feel like this says a little something about society as well.  Seems like it's still harder to make it as a writer, at least an iconic one, as a woman than as a man.

Hemingway, Twain, and Shakespeare I didn't even have to think about.  James Joyce (in the hat) took me longer (my first thought was Tolstoy to be honest) and I would never have placed Virginia Woolf or Emily Dickinson without googling the cover.

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