Washerwoman of Breton

by Greta Schuler

[Editor’s Note: Click on the triptych below to view it at full size.]

Microsoft Word - Greta_Schuler-Washerwoman_of_Breton-2.doc

Greta Schuler’s work has appeared in various journals, including the Crab Orchard Review, Creative Nonfiction, Confrontation, and PANK (online). She has her MFA in Creative Writing from American University and is currently pursuing her PhD from the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa

What surprising, fascinating stuff can you tell us about the origin, drafting, and/or final version of “Washerwoman of Breton”?

    I’ve become interested in issues of appropriation while trying to write about my experiences conducting creative writing workshops with migrant sex workers in South Africa. When I saw Jules Breton’s painting “The Washerwomen of Breton,” I was immediately drawn to the figure looking over her shoulder at the viewer with what seemed to me seemed a defiant glare. I wondered what the models in his painting, mostly rural laborers, thought about being depicted by the famous painter.
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