As I read more and more 19th and 20th century writers I tend to see a trend. Many of these writers–women and men–are highly prolific. Several are also childless. Now, when the bios mention childlessness in women the feminists around me groan. Why, they ask, is it assumed they wrote because they couldn’t have kids? What I want to know, and what isso often unanswered, is why no children? Did they chose that (a highly unconventional choice at that time) or did children just not come? (infertility is not a new phenomenon, but the diagnosis and treatments are new.)
As a writer and a woman who struggles with infertility I notice that the theme slips into my own writing all the time in many different guises. So when I see these writers who have no children andwhose writing exhibits themes of barreness, childlessness, or infertilityI wonder how much is autobiographical.
The surprising aspect is that many readers miss this theme even when it is repetative.