Book Abroad Reads Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments
Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments by Saidiya Hartman explores the revolution of black intimate life in Philadelphia and New York at the beginning of the twentieth century by examining the untold history of women who led “wayward” lives and rejected respectability in response to being denied access to the American Dream.
“In wrestling with the question of what a free life is, many young black women created forms of intimacy and kinship that were indifferent to the dictates of respectability and outside the bounds of the law. They cleaved to and cast-off lovers, exchanged sex to subsist and revised the meaning of marriage. Longing and desire fueled their experiments in how to live. They refused to labor like slaves or to accept degrading conditions of work.”
It is a unique, genre-bending work that is deeply researched and melds history to the literary imagination.
Key historical figures like Ida B. Wells, W. E. B. Du Bois and Billie Holiday make appearances, but Hartman’s narrative focuses on lesser-known women who have been overlooked historically and are usually invisible in official archives.
This is sure to be an engaging discussion that will hopefully spark conversation about a rarely discussed aspect of Black history. We look forward to seeing you there!
|Washington DC, USA
|London, United Kingdom
|Dubai, United Arab Emirates