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Mary Jones, Miscellanies in Prose and Verse (Oxford, 1750). This 400-page volume was well-reviewed upon publication, and its production was paid for by 1,400 readers, including many notable writers of the day. Photographed by Jo Emmerson

Books We Should Have Known [private]

American culture is in a moment of reckoning. With the Women’s March, #MeToo, and Black Lives Matter, there has been a demand for greater accountability among the powerful, and an insistence that we pay close attention to privilege and its blindspots. This gut-check has extended beyond the realm of civil rights to encompass repairing the historical record. This past March, The New York Times began “Overlooked,” an effort to rectify an imbalance in its own obituary coverage since 1851. “Who gets remembered—and how—inherently involves judgment,” noted Amisha Padnani and Jessica Bennett in their introduction to the project. It all comes down to the chroniclers, the gatekeepers.

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Photograph by Adria Malcolm

Rosi’s Choice

When a young mother fleeing violence in El Salvador faces long odds for asylum, it raises a crucial question: Who deserves sanctuary in America?

Photo by Eman Helal

Power Jam

Nouran Elkabbany’s family wasn’t thrilled about the idea of her joining a roller derby team. They worried about all the ways she might damage her body. 

<i>Toni Erdmann</i>. Directed by Maren Ade. Sony Pictures Classics, 2016. 162 minutes</p>

Professional Lives

“Career woman” is a term that enjoyed a certain vogue across the latter half of the twentieth century. An American idiom much bound to the eighties but coined in the thirties, under the guise of defining what a woman is, the phrase points emphatically to what she is not: “a woman whose career is more important to her than getting married and having children.” An archetype born of its time, the career woman is bound to that era’s signature medium: The movies helped midwife her into Western culture; on film she was made unruly (and almost always white) flesh, fed on drive and solo popcorn dinners, dressed in power colors, and sent into an unreconstructed world, where her success or failure typically depended on her willingness to obey a more natural order. There is, of course, no such thing as a career man.

<i>Double Bind: Women on Ambition</i>. Ed. by Robin Romm. Liveright, 2017. HB, 336p. $27.95.

Bound to Succeed

I once asked my mother, a well-educated, exceedingly competent woman, why she served as someone’s assistant for the majority of her professional life, yet always took a leadership role in volunteer organizations (president of the PTA and director of nearly every church committee on which she’s ever served, for example). Her response was unequivocal: “Your grandmother always told me that I would never be anything other than a secretary.” Mothers—“They fuck you up,” Philip Larkin wrote. “They may not mean to, but they do.”

Women of Troy

In Women of Troy, poet Susan Somers-Willett and photographer Brenda Ann Kenneally look at the lives of young, working-class women in Troy, New York.

A Call to Arms

Don’t make the mistake of calling her
angel or saint. The tremendous broad crowning
Troy’s war monument grips her sword