cover of book

"Tell Me a Riddle": Tillie Olsen
edited by Deborah Silverton Rosenfelt
Rutgers University Press, 1995
Cloth: 978-0-8135-2136-7 | Paper: 978-0-8135-2137-4 | eISBN: 978-0-8135-5467-9
Library of Congress Classification PS3565.L82T45 1995
Dewey Decimal Classification 813.54

“Tell Me a Riddle” renders an unforgettable portrait of a working class couple when the gender determined differences in their experiences of poverty and familial life give rise to bitter conflict after almost four decades of marriage.  As she dies from cancer, Eva, the protagonist, recollects a revolutionary past that both critiques and offers hope for the present.  Deborah Rosenfelt’s introduction and the essays in this volume survey the critical reception of this highly acclaimed story, analyze its biographical and historical contexts, examine the text’s language, structure, spiritual and moral significance, and illuminate Olsen’s relationship to the American midwest, the American left, and the Jewish enlightenment tradition.

This casebook includes an introduction by the editor, a chronology of Olsen’s life, an authoritative text of “Tell Me a Riddle,” relevant essays by Olsen, seven critical essays, and a bibliography.

The contributors are: Joanne Trautmann Banks, Constance Coiner, Rachel Blau Duplessis, Mara Faulkner, Elaine Orr, Linda Ray Pratt, and Deborah Silverton Rosenfelt.

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