Michelle Dean is a journalist, critic and the recipient of the National Book Critics Circle's 2016 Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing. A contributing editor at the New Republic, she has written for the New Yorker, Nation, New York Times Magazine, Slate, New York Magazine, Elle and BuzzFeed. She lives in New York City.
There can't be enough cultural histories which make the point that
a woman intellectual must represent her own mind, and not the
collective mind of all her 'sisters.' Sharp is a brisk,
entertaining, well-researched reminder that it's impossible to
write - or think - without making life very messy for oneself, but
to do so is an achievement well worth the pains -- Sheila Heti,
author of How Should A Person Be?
I have to recommend Michelle Dean's Sharp: The Women Who Made an Art of Having an Opinion, a delicious cultural history that comes out in April. It brings together some of the most influential social critics of the 20th century, including Dorothy Parker, Mary McCarthy, Hannah Arendt, Susan Sontag and Joan Didion, and shows how these glamorous iconoclasts forged their singular careers. Dean makes the convincing argument that women's voices--if not necessarily feminist ones--did far more to define the last century's intellectual life than we realize -- Michelle Goldberg * New York Times *
[A] stunning and highly accessible introduction to a group of important writers * Publishers Weekly *
Michelle Dean has delivered an exquisite examination - both rigorous and compassionate - of what it has meant to be a woman with a public voice and the power to use it critically. This book is ferociously good -- Rebecca Traister, New York Times-bestselling author of All the Single Ladies
This is such a great idea for a book, and Michelle Dean carries it off, showing us the complexities of her fascinating, extraordinary subjects, in print and out in the world. Dean writes with vigor, depth, knowledge and absorption, and as a result Sharp is a real achievement -- Meg Wolitzer, author of The Female Persuasion
This is a great and worthy project: a primer for those for whom these names are new; a sustaining reminder for those already familiar with them. You put it down feeling steadier, more determined -- Rachel Cooke * Observer *
Michelle Dean's Sharp, a portrait of 10 female writers and thinkers, is a bracing tribute to the life of the iconoclastic mind: a reminder, in our age of flashy hot takes, of the matchless power of sustained and elegant argument -- Pankaj Mishra * Guardian *
A fascinating analysis of brilliant female writers. By the end you'll want to read something by all of them * Evening Standard *
These crisp mini-portraits of some of 20th-century America's most brilliant women writers - like Joan Didion, Dorothy Parker and Nora Ephron - are so inspiring -- Carina Axelsson