Silences -- Silences in literature -- One out of twelve: writers who are women in our century -- Rebecca Harding Davis -- Acerbs, asides, amulets, exhumations, sources, deepenings, roundings, expansions -- Silences in literature -- II -- Silences -- its varieties -- The work of creation and the circumstances it demands for full functioning -- Subterranean forces -- and the work of creation in circumstances enabling full function -- When the claims of creation cannot be primary -- The literary situation -- The writer-woman: one out of twelve -- II -- Blight -- its earliest expression -- A sense of wrong voiced -- Literacy -- One out of twelve -- the figures -- The baby; the girl-child; the girl; the young writer-woman -- The damnation of women -- The angel in the house -- Freeing the essential angel -- Wives, mothers, enablers -- Blight. The hidden silencer -- breakdown -- Hidden blight -- professional circumstances -- Hidden blight -- some effects of having to counter and encounter harmful treatment and circumstances -- Other obstacles, balks, encumbrances in coming to one's own voice, vision, circumference -- Creativity; potentiality. First generation -- Excerpts from Life in the iron mills -- Miscellany -- Excerpts from My heart laid bare. "In Silences, Tillie Olsen ... confronts ... the crucial relationship between circumstances--class, color, sex, the times and climate into which one is born--and the creation of written literature. These essays ... explore the problems of literary 'silences' in the careers of both the acknowledged great and those who ceased to write ... Tillie Olsen focuses on the silences that are most immediate to her own experience: how a negative literary climate, childbearing and rearing shape a woman's writing life"--Cover.