You would scarcely guess it from Spinster, but the figure of the never-married woman of a certain age evokes a vast constellation of abrasive, eccentric, no-nonsense, sour, strong-minded, or socially invisible women who were born to inspire drag queens, tomboys, lesbians, late-bloomers, loners, joiners, haters, do-gooders, nuns, divas, misfits, misanthropes, saints, wallflowers, or various combinations of the above. This starry host includes towering archetypes of female genius such as Jane Austen, Emily Dickinson, and Flannery O’Connor; haggard paragons of power such as Elizabeth I; and the apotheosis of the fictional spinster, the formidable Miss Havisham of Dickens’s Great Expectations, with her ragged wedding dress, spidery cake, and quenchless thirst for revenge. [link]


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