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October 21 , 2008

Wanton: Stories of Wonderfully Shameless Women


Wanton. Shameless. Indecent. The women in the following stories have one thing in common: they each break out of the mold, and follow their own rules, instead of those which are forced upon them. 

Some are rebelling against their own, self-imposed rules, like Sophy from Sophy-As-She-Might-Have-Been. Others rebel by lampooning the single life, and the fate of the bachelor girl, as in A Guide to Men. 

The heroine in A Pair of Silk Stockings slowly, then completely rejects the notion that wife and mother equals martyr or saint; and in the classic The Yellow Wallpaper, the protagonist finds comfort and solace in the very room which imprisons her; perhaps to her own peril. 

Jane Austen’s little-known Lady Susan is perhaps her most scandalous character: she is self-serving, outspoken, and takes lovers many years her junior. She is completely wanton and unapologetic; unheard of at the time of the story’s publication. 

The Uninhibited Flapper offers a tongue-planted-firmly-in-cheek look at the downfall of the modern woman and reveals the eternal conundrum: once an activity is declared forbidden, or, taboo, it becomes blindingly irresistible and, perhaps, unavoidable 

F. Scott Fitzgerald is a writer who knows how to let a story unfold in it’s own time, and Bernice Bobs Her Hair is a story with the perfect balance of disappointment and revenge, the intersection of which is where a wanton woman comes into her own. 

Sherlock Holmes meets a complicated and brazen woman in A Scandal in Bohemia, and thus begins Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic tale of mystery. 

All of these women are tied together by their nonconformity, their unpredictable nature and their utterly perfect wanton behavior. 
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