Radicals, Volume 1: Fiction, Poetry, and Drama

Audacious Writings by American Women, 1830-1930

This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.

Buy this Book on

You must sign in to see if this title is available for request.
Pub Date 15 Jun 2021 | Archive Date 15 Jun 2021
University of Iowa Press, University Of Iowa Press

Talking about this book? Use #RadicalsVol1 #NetGalley. More hashtag tips!


Kate Chopin on pot smoking. Pauline Hopkins on alchemy and the undead. Sui Sin Far on cross-dressing. Emma Lazarus and Angelina Weld Grimké on lesbian longing. Julia Ward Howe on intersexuality. Perhaps the first of its kind,

Radicals is a two-volume collection of writings by American women of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, with special attention paid to the voices of Black, Indigenous, and Asian American women.

In Volume 1: Fiction, Poetry, and Drama, selections span from early works like Sarah Louise Forten’s anti-slavery poem “The Grave of the Slave” (1831) and Fanny Fern’s Ruth Hall (1855), a novel about her struggle to break into the male-dominated field of journalism, to Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s revenge fantasy, “When I Was a Witch” (1910) and Georgia Douglas Johnson’s poem on the fraught nature of African American motherhood, “Maternity” (1922). In between, readers will discover many vibrant and challenging lesser-known texts that are rarely collected today. Some, indeed, have been out of print for more than a century. 

Unique among anthologies of American literature, Radicals undoes such silences by collecting the underrepresented, the uncategorizable, the unbowed—powerful writings by American women of genius and audacity who looked toward, and wrote toward, what Charlotte Perkins Gilman called “a lifted world.” 

Kate Chopin on pot smoking. Pauline Hopkins on alchemy and the undead. Sui Sin Far on cross-dressing. Emma Lazarus and Angelina Weld Grimké on lesbian longing. Julia Ward Howe on intersexuality...

Advance Praise

“This anthology offers up writing from women at a time when women’s literacy was largely the privilege of wealthy and upper-middle-class white women, and women were expected to write demure, well-mannered things. These writings are not that. They represent a hundred years of women writing their way into public discourse, giving voice to the complexities of their inner lives, their desires, their sentiments about the constraints of womanhood, the political climate, the strictures of class, and their places in their families, communities, and the world beyond.”—Roxane Gay, author, Bad Feminist: Essays

“This anthology offers up writing from women at a time when women’s literacy was largely the privilege of wealthy and upper-middle-class white women, and women were expected to write demure...

Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9781609387662
PRICE $25.00 (USD)

Available on NetGalley

NetGalley Shelf App (PDF)
Send To Kindle (PDF)
Download (PDF)

Average rating from 27 members

Featured Reviews

Radicals is an excellent book, a great and beautiful book that collects the work of many women writers. . I did not know the vast majority, I had no idea of ​​their existence, their work or the great achievements in their life, however it moves me. The point of view of these valuable artists who were ahead in time with their ideas and wishes. . I discovered and fell in love with some of the works in this anthology and I am going to keep an eye on volume two. It is a great selection and a great compilation job, so very well curated that should be present in every home library. . Thanks to #NetGalley and University of Iowa Press ti let me read #RadicalsVol1 in exchange for my honest opinion before goes on sale this june

Was this review helpful?

Radicals is a collection of stories written by American women of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. I was unfamiliar with most of the work and women included in this anthology. It was a joy to get to know their writing.

Was this review helpful?

Well selected interesting pieces. I will be using this with my seniors next year, so I will be adopting it for one course. I thought the selections were chosen in such a way that they will pair well with other things and be easily fit with assignments.

Was this review helpful?

I received an ARC from NetGalley and The University of Iowa Press in exchange for an honest review. “writing is a radical act because literacy has always been a privilege rather than an inalienable right for marginalised people.” -Roxanne Gay This was a fantastic anthology showcasing so many women I’ve never even heard of before. Some whose writing had been lost to time until this anthology. Unfortunately some of the topics written about so long ago are still present today, including voting rights, the right to autonomy over ones own body etc. This was such a moving and still so relevant anthology and I’m so grateful that it exists. I can’t wait for volume two, you can bet I’ll snap it up ! 5 stars!

Was this review helpful?

Extremely well-curated collection of short stories that showcases women's voices in fiction; important and empowering. I am looking forward to reading the second volume.

Was this review helpful?

The tagline for this book is ‘Audacious Writings by American Women, 1830-1930’. Firstly, can I say how much I love the word audacious? I think audacity is something we should all strive for in life. Anyway, this book. It’s a collection of short stories, poems and excerpts from longer prose works by women who were stepping outside of the lot assigned to them and speaking with voices that were loud and engaging. Women unafraid to show a view of the world as it was, not how everyone would have liked it to be. With lesser-known works by well-known authors such as Charlotte Perkins-Gillman or Harriet Beecher Stowe and on through a diverse range of authors: Sui Sin Far, Emma Lazarus, Angelina Weld Grimké and Julia Ward Howe to name a few, this is a book which brings life to the issues that mattered to these authors. Intersexuality, loss, death, recreational drugs… it’s all here. What I like about the way these works are presented is that each author is given an identity. We see photographs of them, learn a little of their history and this contextualises their works, bringing their voices to life on the pages of this anthology. And the works curated here are artfully chosen and presented thoughtfully. Longer works are interspersed with poetry, and most of the authors have one or two works presented, giving a broader perspective on their writing. This was like reading a history book written by the people who lived it – a snapshot of the feelings of these authors and their views on what was going on around them, living and breathing in these pages. Really fantastic. I’d highly recommend bookmarking this one for when it comes out in July – I know I’ll be buying myself a physical copy to dip into in the future. Here’s to being more audacious… always!

Was this review helpful?

This was a fantastic collection of very different writers. You could tell that Stabel and Turpin were careful in what they selected. I've added a lot to my reading list because of this book. Thank you NetGalley for a chance to read and review this!

Was this review helpful?

There is so much to uncover and enjoy in the essays and perspectives presented in Radicals. Thought-provoking, dialogue-stirring work that is entertaining and also a wellspring for literature courses and conversation circles.

Was this review helpful?

Oh my goodness, I truly cannot express how much I love this anthology. These voices, from Kate Chopin to Emma Lazarus and so many other women in between, are fascinating and smart and brave, romantic and witty and sometimes brutal. These are works that should live on everyone’s shelves, writers who should be celebrated, stories that should be heard and passed along. I will certainly do my part in passing this along to as many people as I can. What a wonderful collection. My thanks to NetGalley and University of Iowa Press for an advance reader’s copy.

Was this review helpful?

From Fanny Fern (born in 1811) to Georgia Douglas Johnson (who died in 1966). the female writers in this collection range—in their life spans—from the Romantic to the Postmodern periods in literature. Therefore, it's no surprise why "Radicals, Volume 1: Fiction, Poetry, and Drama", includes works from lesser-known and very well-known female writers who touch on taboo subjects, such as ghosts, lesbian love, women's writing being published, cross dressing and revenge—each excerpt reflects a specific moment in time. The writers use different types of traditional literary forms to write about topics outside of acceptable societal and gender norms. However, using traditional literary forms is not a criticism, just an observation. On the whole, I loved this anthology! It's a fantastic collection of women's writing! I suspect that Meredith Stabel and Zachary Turpin were faced with making difficult decisions about whose work and which work to include in this anthology. I feel that what has resulted is a collection of writing that, as is pointed in the foreword, is radical primarily because "literacy has always been a privilege rather than an inalienable right for marginalized people" (Loc 45). For women of any colour, writing was a means to say what was inappropriate for them to say aloud. As a woman of colour, reading this made me feel included in a history of literature that tends to exclude us. For example, there were moments I was waiting to read Phyllis Wheatley and then had to remind myself that, although Wheatley's poetry and writing is phenomenal, she was not writing about radical topics of her time. Yet, she's the only black poetess I learned about when I was studying American literature in university (in Canada). I wish I'd had a collection like "Radicals, Volume 1: Fiction, Poetry, and Drama" to refer to when I was studying. I highly recommend this text! I especially hope that your local public library has it once it's released! My personal favourites in this anthology were, "The Storm" by Kate Chopin, "A Chinese Boy-Girl" by Sui Sin Far, "If I Had Known" by Alice Dunbar-Nelson, "A Double Standard" by Frances E.W. Harper, "Talma Gordon" by Pauline Hopkins, "The Hermaphrodite" by Julia Ward Howe, "An Appeal to Woman" by Sarah Forten Purvis, "Clotelle—A Tale of Florida" by Katherine Davis Chapman and "The Soft-Hearted Sioux" by Zitkala-Sa. I'd like to end this review with a fantastic quote from Fanny Fern's "Ruth Hall: A Domestic Tale of the Present Time (1885): "'when I get to be a woman shall I write books, mamma?' 'God forbid,' murmured Ruth kissing the child's changeful cheek; 'God forbid,' murmured she, musingly as she turned over the leaves of her book; 'no happy woman ever writes' (Loc 854). Many thanks to NetGalley and the University of Iowa Press for giving me the opportunity to read an ARC of "Radicals, Volume 1: Fiction, Poetry, and Drama" in exchange for my honest review. I can't wait to get my hands on volume 2!

Was this review helpful?

Thought-provoking beautiful collection of women's writing! I absolutely loved reading the anthology and it is a book that should be on the shelf of every woman and should be read and not sitting in a TBR pile! Read it!

Was this review helpful?

This book is such a wonderful collection of feminist writings that I'm sure will become a mainstay in Women and Gender Studies classes all throughout the United States.

Was this review helpful?

I really like the book. The essays are thought-provoking but provided the book expired really early from when I received it I cannot say anything more in detail. Worth a shot though

Was this review helpful?

Readers who liked this book also liked: