Karen Christensen

Home>Karen Christensen

About Karen Christensen

Karen Christensen is an entrepreneur, environmentalist, and scholar who writes about the many ways women have gained and wielded power. She is the owner and CEO of Berkshire Publishing Group, a trustee of the University of Pennsylvania’s Penn Press, a member of the National Committee on US-China Relations, and founder of the Train Campaign. Read Karen’s occasional dispatches from the frontlines of international publishing at the Berkshire Blog (or subscribe by clicking here) and follow her on Twitter @karenchristenze.

Why Villette is Better than Jane Eyre (“Old Book” pick for December 2019)

Probably all of us have read Jane Eyre, about one of what biographer Lyndall Gordon calls Charlotte Bronte’s “searching spirit” heroines. But more passionate, more personal and autobiographical, and more searching is Bronte’s Villette. The three Bronte sisters had many fictional characters who suffered terribly, who were orphaned, impoverished, sick and lonely. But they loved. Oh, how they loved! I think of passages in Villette that are a torrent of desire. Not sexual desire (though we can certainly, and reasonably, read some of that kind of passion into the stories), [...]

December 6th, 2019|Categories: Writing a Woman's Life|

Deirdre Bair on Simone de Beauvoir, Sheila Weller on Carrie Fisher: celebrating women writing women’s lives

A year ago I was accepted into a group called “Women Writing Women’s Lives” (WWWL) in New York. I thus became part of a community of biographers and memoirists who write about women, and, for the first time in my life, a member of a women’s group. (That is, if you don’t count Girl Scouts, which I dropped out of after only a week - twice.) November 12th happened to be the official publication date for new books written by two of my friends, both greeted with much acclaim. Parisian [...]

December 6th, 2019|Categories: Writing a Woman's Life|Tags: , , |

“Thanks for Typing” in LOGOS, Journal of the World Publishing Community

This is the full text of my article, published in November 2019 in LOGOS, Journal of the World Publishing Community: Abstract In this paper, I review the Thanks for Typing Conference held at Oxford University in March of 2019, which explored the experiences of women who worked as literary helpmeets for famous men. I also give some details from the paper I presented there. In “‘Jumped-up Typists’: Two Secretaries Who Became Guardians of the Flame,” I discussed how two literary wives, Sophia Mumford (1899–1997), wife of the American historian and [...]

November 16th, 2019|Categories: Writing a Woman's Life|

Smiling because we have to?

I came across this blog post, "I Tweeted About The Joker Being a Woman Who Was Tired of This Shit and It Now Feels Auto-Biographical." It made me smile, then laugh. "The Joker should have been a woman. And she finally went insane because too many random dudes told her to smile, so now she perpetually smiles while terrorizing Gotham." Geraldine @everywhereist Here's a little from Geraldine DeRuiter’ s explanation of how she came to this revelation: I wrote this tweet in the lobby of a hotel in downtown Seattle [...]

October 27th, 2019|Categories: Writing a Woman's Life|Tags: , , |

“Hidden Wives” & #thanksfortyping in the TLS

Details from my article “Hidden Wives, Hidden Lives” was picked up by the Times Literary Supplement a couple weeks ago. I enjoyed reading the TLS writer’s additions - including Robert Caro’s note about his wife, Ina Caro. In fact, a colleague had suggested I include the Caros in my piece, mentioning that Ina Caro had gone so far as to wear gingham dresses and make jelly with Texas hill country women to get them to talk to her husband about Lyndon Johnson. The Acknowledgments page is a familiar part of [...]

Walking down Broadway at the Climate March

I'm not a fan of big crowds, and my activism generally starts with fingers on a keyboard, but there was no way I wasn't going to be in New York last Friday, the day of the Climate Strike and Climate March. I took as many photos and videos as I could while also holding a Train Campaign placard, and thanks to Michael Hanish, our wonderful video editor, you can get a glimpse (it's only a minute long) of what it was like on the street with those thousands of young [...]

October 2nd, 2019|Categories: Home Ecology|