Book Discussion: Rosalyn Drexler's I Am the Beautiful Stranger

April 1, 2017
10:30a doughnuts and coffee / 11:00a program

In conjunction with the exhibition Rosalyn Drexler: Who Does She Think She Is?, Museum members and the Washington University community have the unique opportunity to discuss Rosalyn Drexler’s first novel with award-winning poet Mary Jo Bang and fiction writer Danielle Dutton, both professors in the Department of English in Arts & Sciences.

I Am the Beautiful Stranger (1965) introduces readers to precocious thirteen-year-old narrator Selma Silver. Even as Selma reveals her dysfunctional family and limited circumstances in the Depression-era Bronx, we also learn of her rich inner life, including her crushes and fantasies, and irrepressible zest for life. Written in short, stream-of-conscious-like fragments and overflowing with word play, this loosely autobiographical novel is a vivid mingling of the real and imagined, boldly exploring teenage sexuality and a complex self-awakening.

Mary Jo Bang is the author of seven books of poems, the most recent of which is The Last Two Seconds (2015). Among her numerous award-winning publications, Elegy (2007) received the National Book Critics Circle Award. Danielle Dutton is the author of the story collection Attempts at a Life (2007), and the novels SPRAWL (2010) and Margaret the First (2016), and her fiction has appeared in magazines such as Harper’sBOMBFence, and Noon.

The program is free for Museum members and the Washington University community. Complimentary doughnuts and coffee from Vincent Van Doughnut. Please register online here or by emailing

Three Novels by Rosalyn Drexler, which includes I Am the Beautiful Stranger, is available for purchase in the Museum Shop. Members receive a 10% discount.

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