The Classics Club is hosting a new event, or more accurately, they are hosting a celebration, a joyous exaltation of all things to do with women and classic literature.
Starting now with a planned finished date of 31st December 2016, it’s time to get your booty on, get in touch with your inner sassy and embrace your feminine mystique!
The event? Read classic literature by female authors, & share your thoughts (or links to your thoughts) at #ccwomenclassics on Twitter, or in our quarterly check-ins, which we’ll have here in January, April, July, October, & December of 2016.
You can choose any genre you like….You could do a deep exploration of a single author’s work, or pick a couple authors whose works you’d like to compare and contrast.
If the title was penned by a female and written or published before 1960, it counts.
Biographies on classic females count, too. (Even if they were written recently.)
The point is to get people thinking about women writers & sharing favorite reads.
Over the years, my reading has become more and more female focused. So much so, that I have to occasionally remind myself to read the male perspective as well!
So this event is perfect for me and my reading habits. The challenge will be to broaden my horizons.
I have spent this past year focusing on Australian women writers thanks to my involvement with the Australian Women Writers Challenge. But it has meant that my Classics Club list was left languishing on the sidelines.
Next year I was planning on reading more classics written by Australian women.
For anyone else who’d like to explore more Australian classics please check out this link. I also have some classics lists under my AusReadingMonth tag and the Miles Franklin tab at the top of my page.
I’m hoping the WCLC will inspire, excite and encourage me to read those female writers currently on my CC list as well as explore the lists created by other Clubbers.
I would like to find more women’s classics from other cultures and countries.
Recommendations welcome in the comments below.
I’m not usually one for surveys, but to answer a few of the questions posed by The Classics Club…
I have read a lot of Colonial, Victorian and Regency female classics over the years.
Jane Austen, L.M. Montgomery, Louisa May Alcott and Edith Wharton are perennial favourites.
At different times I have also been fascinated by Ruth Park, the Bronte’s, Monica Dickens, George Sand, Nancy Mitford, Virginia Woolf , Agatha Christie, Colette, Muriel Spark, Daphne du Maurier, Janet Frame, Katherine Mansfield and George Eliot.
In recent years Elizabeth Gaskell, Willa Cather, Barbara Pym, Elizabeth Harrower, Madeleine St John and Henry Handel Richardson have caught my attention.
It has been hard to think of female characters written by men that don’t fall into the ‘saints or sinners’ mould – Anna Karenina, Lara Guishar (Dr Zhivago), Esther Summerson (Bleak House), Penelope (Homer), Miss Haversham (Great Expectations), Emma Bovary all saints or sinners – and even Shakespeare fell into this way of developing his female characters – think the virtuous Juliet and the scheming Lady Hamlet. Which isn’t to say that they aren’t fascinating character studies…they’re just like no woman I’ve ever met.
Whereas I have met a real life Scarlett O’Hara, I know many wanna-be Lizzie Bennett’s and I am Elinor Dashwood!
The most true-to-life, well-written female by a male author that springs to mind right now, would be Irene in The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy. She not only reminds me of a friend of old but also brings to mind Helen from The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. (my desire to watch/rewatch the DVD’s has only increased now that I’ve discovered that Rupert Graves is in both productions!)
Female authors I hope to get to during the WCLC are Karen Blixen, Elizabeth Bowen, Pearl S Buck, Simone De Beauvoir, E.M. Delafield, Elaine Dundy, Edna Ferber, Patricia Highsmith, Elizabeth Jenkins, Margaret Kennedy, Doris Lessing, Toni Morrison, Sylvia Plath, Christina Rossetti, Dodie Smith and Elizabeth Taylor.
I’m hosting a readalong during November for AusReadingMonth of The Fortunes of Richard Mahony.
Written by Henry Handel Richardson – the pen name of Ethel Florence Richardson born in Melbourne in 1870.
The Fortunes of Richard Mahony is Richardson’s well-known trilogy about the slow decline, due to character flaws and an illness, of a successful Australian physician and businessman and the emotional/financial effect on his family. It was loosely based on Richardson’s own family experiences.
Richardson and her sister, Lillian, were active supporters of the suffragette movement. Ethel also explored lesbian relationships at various times throughout her life.
If you’d like to tackle a fascinating classic Australian female writer, this could be your chance!
I also plan to host my annual Edith Wharton readalong in January 2016 (Edith’s birthday month).
And finally – a favourite inspirational quote from a classic female writer….?
It has to be Jane Austen in Persuasion: