Revolting Women NovelistsIf you're wishing to demonstrate to your youngsters that the independent woman in Texas is quite the long and honorable tradition, you may string this set of novels before them. There are, of course, more shocking novels of late, but these may do in the meantime.
The WTM editor recently had the occasion to speak (2007) to the “Friendship Club” in Houston. The topic was “Revolting Women Novelists: Some Texas Literary History: Pushy Women in Texas Literature Should Be No Surprise.” The talk pointed out the contributions of:
L’HEROINE DU TEXAS, an anonymous novel, our first by any account, and featuring a French heroine in the 1810s.
AUGUSTA EVANS WILSON (1835-1909), born in Georgia, and our first novelist with Inez: A Tale of the Alamo.
AMELIA EDITH HUDDLESTON BARR (1831-1919), b. Lancashire, England, and among her many were Remember the Alamo, that inspired John Wayne.
MAUD CUNEY-HARE (1874-1936), born Galveston, was not a novelist, but her play indicates a stereotype-breaking ability for this African American writer and musician and historian.
MOLLIE EVELYN MOORE DAVIS (1844-1909) born in Alabama. Her Wire Cutters preceded Owen Wister’s Virginian and Andy Adams’ Log of a Cowboy to make her the first to write the modern Western novel. Under the Man Fig Tree reveals more than just the “good old boy” network of a small town.
MATTIE RUTH CROSS (1887-1981), born in Sylvan, Texas, and as she breaks out of her Golden Cocoon she punches holes in typical novels by featuring the sharecropper of East Texas and branding a few wild bulls on the UT campus.
EMILY DOROTHY SCARBOROUGH (1878-1935), native Texan. Her novel The Wind sure brought shock to the bucolic West Texas ranching tradition.
LEONORA VILLEGAS DE MAGNON (1876-1955), born in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. For revolution read her La Rebelde.
KATHERINE ANNE PORTER (1890-1980) born at Indian Creek and reared at Kyle, is the best selection of genuine literature for the writers’ writers. Begin with Pale Horse, Pale Rider.
LENA ELITHE HAMILTON KIRKLAND, (1907-1992), born at Big Sky Ranch near White Chapel, near Coleman. I just enjoy her Love Is a Wild Assault.
SHELBY HEARON (born 1931, Marion, Kentucky), modern Queen of Texas Letters, begin with Armadillo in the Grass.
ANITA RICHMOND BUNKLEY (born Columbus, Ohio) and J. CALIFORNIA COOPER (born 1966, Berkeley, California) now lead the award-winning African Texan women into the broader range of novels and literature. Both have gone through the revolutionary doors. Bunkley entered with Emily, The Yellow Rose. Cooper’s emancipating Family and The Wake of the Wind awaken knowing readers to her ties to East Texas. Of course, Toni Morrison once taught English at Texas Southern University. WH