Recognizing Female Genius by Dr. Rosanne Welch

I was doing editor rewrites on a chapter titled “Dorothy Parker: The Creative Genius Behind Film Franchise A STAR IS BORN.” To the note asking me to consider a “less hagiographic title,” I said “No”.

A quick check showed me that many, many, many male writers are called geniuses – but few women.

For instance, this article, Genius – still a country for white, middle class, heterosexual men*, notes:

“Try a quick google search of the terms “literary genius”. The same names keep appearing: William Shakespeare, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Henry James, William Chaucer, Virginia Woolf, Ernest Hemingway, Herman Melville, Walt Whitman, Jane Austen, Mark Twain, J.D. Salinger, and so on.” 

But I would object to J.D. Salinger. Catcher in the Rye did not move me at all – but S. E. The Outsiders(Susan Elizabeth) Hinton’s The Outsiders moved me and all the generations from mine through my son’s Millennial group and into the folks watching the musical on Broadway right now – while teaching us all to love the poetry of another male genius – Robert Frost. See, I’m willing to use the adjective on men when they deserve it.

So the lesson of the day is that if any writer deserves to be called genius, it’s Dorothy Parker.

Own your genius. And use it to describe other female creatives. And maybe refrain from using it on less men for once. 

* Genius – still a country for white, middle class, heterosexual men, Natalie Kon-yu, The Conversation

From High School Teaching to Writing the First Screenwriting Bible: Marguerite Bertsch – Dr. Rosanne Welch, Script Magazine, May 2024

From High School Teaching to Writing the First Screenwriting Bible: Marguerite Bertsch – Dr. Rosanne Welch, Script Magazine, May 2024

Read From High School Teaching to Writing the First Screenwriting Bible: Marguerite Bertsch


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Hobnobbing with Her Fellow Writers (and Wizards) Across the Decades – The Screenwriting Career of Florence Ryerson – Dr. Rosanne Welch, Script Magazine, April 2024

 

Hobnobbing with Her Fellow Writers (and Wizards) Across the Decades – The Screenwriting Career of Florence Ryerson – Dr. Rosanne Welch, Script Magazine, April 2024

Read Hobnobbing with Her Fellow Writers (and Wizards) Across the Decades – The Screenwriting Career of Florence Ryerson


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Writing Successful Films into her 60s? Zelda Sears Did It! – Dr. Rosanne Welch, Script Magazine, March 2024

Writing Successful Films into her 60s? Zelda Sears Did It! – Dr. Rosanne Welch, Script Magazine, March 2024

Read Writing Successful Films into her 60s? Zelda Sears Did It!


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So Much More than Merely Her Chocolate Cake Recipe – Dr. Rosanne Welch, Script Magazine, February 2024

So Much More than Merely Her Chocolate Cake Recipe – Dr. Rosanne Welch, Script Magazine, February 2024

Read So Much More than Merely Her Chocolate Cake Recipe


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Between Broadway and Hollywood: The Screenwriting Career of Ketty Frings – Dr. Rosanne Welch, Script Magazine, January 2024

Between Broadway and Hollywood: The Screenwriting Career of Ketty Frings – Dr. Rosanne Welch, Script Magazine, January 2024

Read Between Broadway and Hollywood: The Screenwriting Career of Ketty Frings


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Opportunities and Adventures in Scholarly Publishing with Dr. Rosanne Welch and Dr. Kristine Ashton Gunnell, Claremont, CA, February 22, 2024 [Video]

Here’s the video of the presentation that my friend Kristine Gunnell and I recently made to the current History and English masters at the Claremont Graduate University campus where we both earned our Ph.D.

Opportunities and Adventures in Scholarly Publishing.

Surrounded by our most recent publications we discussed “Opportunities and Adventures in Scholarly Publishing”. I shared ideas for gaining your first academic credits – from doing book reviews in journals to writing entries for encyclopedias to submitting essays or chapters to anthologies and discussed creating working relationships with editors. Kristine went in-depth into working in archives when researching and writing books on very specific subjects and how to find connections in the lives of other women whose lives you are bringing to the attention of modern readers.

 

Book Talk: Opportunities and Adventures in Scholarly Publishing with Dr. Rosanne Welch and Dr. Kristine Ashton Gunnell, Claremont, CA, February 22, 2024

If you live in the Claremont area stop in at the IAC on the Claremont campus for a Book Talk about “Opportunities and Adventures in Scholarly Publishing” on Thursday, February 22nd from 4-5:30. Free and Open to the Public.

Book Talk: Opportunities and Adventures in Scholarly Publishing with Dr. rosanne Welch and 0r. Kristine Ashton Gunnell, Claremont, CA, February 22, 2024

Great New Autobiography to add to your list – Necessary Trouble: Growing Up at Midcentury by Drew Gilpin Faust [Books]

I was introduced to historian Drew Gilpin Faust’s books in my PhD program and learned so much (about writing, women’s involvement in the Civil War, and cultural shifts) from her This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War…


…that I was excited to read her new autobiography, Necessary Trouble: Growing Up at Midcentury

As expected, I learned so much – she was born in Virginia to (sadly) racist parents but chose Northern schools to teach herself the opposite of their ways – ended up at the march in Selma and became friends with John Lewis — the book title comes from his famous phrase which she asked his permission to use.

My Mom always said you learn more from autobiographies than from fictional books. Though I still read copious amounts of both kinds, she was right in that the real-life details I’ve collected from autobiographies have stayed in my mind longer than much of my other reading.

And if you don’t know the story of how Gilpin Faust became the first female president of Harvard University – check it out:

 Drew Gilpin Faust, the First Female Harvard President, Was Nicknamed ‘Chainsaw Drew’

Essentially, previous president Lawrence H. Summers was forced out for saying that “intrinsic” gender differences accounted for the lack of women in science (in other words there weren’t a lot of women in science and math departments because ‘girls aren’t good at math’) so they appointed Faust the immediate interim pres while they looked for a new one – and after 18 months of looking it suddenly occurred to them that she’d been doing the job for… 18 months so why not make her the permanent new pres? She held the gig for 11 years and “generated what might be considered the opposite kind of controversy: She was too PC, her critics griped — during her time, the number of tenured female faculty rose by 47 percent.”

Before Peanuts, Alice Guy Blaché Presented the First True Meaning of Christmas Film – Dr. Rosanne Welch, Script Magazine, December 2023

Before Peanuts, Alice Guy Blaché Presented the First True Meaning of Christmas Film  – Dr. Rosanne Welch, Script Magazine, December  2023

Though she never wrote a horror film, to celebrate Halloween this month’s focus is screenwriter, poet, and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Zoe Akins, born on October 30, 1886. In 1935 Akins would become the third woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, the highest honor for a Broadway play in the United States, after Zona Gale (1921) and Susan Glaspell (1931). Akins’ win came from her dramatization of Edith Wharton’s The Old Maid. Four years later the play was adapted by Casey Robinson into a film starring Bette Davis, even though Akins had begun adapting plays and turning out her own screenplays in the early 1930s. Throughout her career, she collaborated with some of the most important women both behind and in front of the cameras which has kept her work in the public eye.

Read Before Peanuts, Alice Guy Blaché Presented the First True Meaning of Christmas Film


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