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The Extraordinary Work of Ordinary Writing: Annie Ray's Diary (review)

The Extraordinary Work of Ordinary Writing: Annie Ray's Diary (review) 09-Reviews (597-679) 10/5/04 12:13 PM Page 620 620 Biography 27.3 (Summer 2004) Jennifer Sinor. The Extraordinary Work of Ordinary Writing: Annie Ray’s Diary. Iowa City: U of Iowa P, 2002. 254 pp. ISBN, 0-87745-833-2, $19.95. When I agreed to review The Extraordinary Work of Ordinary Writing, I expected a book that was largely Annie Ray’s diary, edited and introduced at length by literary scholar Jennifer Sinor. Instead I was surprised and delight- ed by this compelling montage of memoir, scholarly argument, and, of course, the diary of Sinor’s great-great-great-aunt Annie Ray, who, with her husband, an itinerant blacksmith, homesteaded in the Dakotas in the late nineteenth century. Sinor’s book surprises because it defies traditional genres, and in doing so, questions how notions of genre and literary value determine our readings, especially of “ordinary” texts such as diaries by “ordinary” women like Annie Ray. And the book delights by exhibiting the processes of feminist recovery of a writing self in the best sense—that is, Sinor’s prose and her editing are consistently self-reflexive, situated, and keenly aware of the cultural work that such recovery performs and entails. Since the late 1970s, feminist scholars of American literature have been engaged in the http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Biography University of Hawai'I Press

The Extraordinary Work of Ordinary Writing: Annie Ray's Diary (review)

Biography , Volume 27 (3) – Nov 22, 2004

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Publisher
University of Hawai'I Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2004 Biographical Research Center.
ISSN
0162-4962
eISSN
1529-1456

Abstract

09-Reviews (597-679) 10/5/04 12:13 PM Page 620 620 Biography 27.3 (Summer 2004) Jennifer Sinor. The Extraordinary Work of Ordinary Writing: Annie Ray’s Diary. Iowa City: U of Iowa P, 2002. 254 pp. ISBN, 0-87745-833-2, $19.95. When I agreed to review The Extraordinary Work of Ordinary Writing, I expected a book that was largely Annie Ray’s diary, edited and introduced at length by literary scholar Jennifer Sinor. Instead I was surprised and delight- ed by this compelling montage of memoir, scholarly argument, and, of course, the diary of Sinor’s great-great-great-aunt Annie Ray, who, with her husband, an itinerant blacksmith, homesteaded in the Dakotas in the late nineteenth century. Sinor’s book surprises because it defies traditional genres, and in doing so, questions how notions of genre and literary value determine our readings, especially of “ordinary” texts such as diaries by “ordinary” women like Annie Ray. And the book delights by exhibiting the processes of feminist recovery of a writing self in the best sense—that is, Sinor’s prose and her editing are consistently self-reflexive, situated, and keenly aware of the cultural work that such recovery performs and entails. Since the late 1970s, feminist scholars of American literature have been engaged in the

Journal

BiographyUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Nov 22, 2004

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