Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Classics Club: Women's Classic Literature Event

So. I'm not officially a member of the Classic's Club, but I am very familiar with the project and love reading the posts of those who are in the club. When I saw a few different bloggers (exhibit A, exhibit B) post their introduction post to this project, I decided to join in. You can read about the event here, but basically the event runs from now until the end of December 2016, and the goal is to read as many classics by women as you can. This event comes at a perfect time for me because I was just discussing my frustrations with a classmate about the lack of diversity on the reading list for my American Literature class this semester. 

I have decided to make a list of all of the classics I currently own by women authors, and I will try to get through as many as I can in the next year. I'm not setting a certain number to read because you guys know how overwhelmed I get with school sometimes, but I really want to make a dent in the books I own. I will be compiling a list and posting it in the next few weeks, and adding it as a page at the top of my blog. For now though, I will be answering the introductory questions for this event, as I think they are quite fun. 

I hope you join in, and if you do, please let me know so I can follow your progress! 

Introduce yourself. Tell us what you are most looking forward to in this event.
I'm Mallory, I'm an English Education major with a history minor. I love classic literature and I'm really looking forward to discovering new authors and pieces that are left out of the cannon that I am required to read for my degree. I often get fed up with the lack of diversity on my reading lists.

Have you read many classics by women? Why or why not?
Not as many as I would like to have read, but I'm hoping this event will help me with that. 

Pick a classic female writer you can’t wait to read for the event, & list her date of birth, her place of birth, and the title of one of her most famous works.
I'm really looking forward to reading more Edith Wharton for this event. I read and loved Ethan Frome a few years back, but haven't continued on with her works yet. She was born in New York. New York in 1862. She is the author of The Age of Innocence and The House of Mirth both of which I would love to read for this challenge.
 Think of a female character who was represented in classic literature by a male writer. Does she seem to be a whole or complete woman? Why or why not? Tell us about her. (Without spoilers, please!)
The last female character I read that was written by a male author was Tess from Tess of the D'urbervilles by Thomas Hardy. This book was pretty feminist for its time, and while Tess' life is full of tragedy, I do think she is a complete woman for her time. She has some moments in the book of full clarity and states that what has happened to her is unfair in every way. It's a really great novel, if you haven't read it I highly recommend it. 

Then there is also the women characters in the 1920's literature by prolific authors such as Fitzgerald and Hemingway. Those characters are not complete and are usually used as a plot device to cause ruin for a male character. Modernism was a tough time for women characters. 

Favorite classic heroine? (Why? Who wrote her?)
Lately I have been thinking a lot about Jane Austen's Emma. I think Emma is sassy and so unusual for her time. She is selfish and pretentious and imperfect, and that's exactly why I love her. 

We’d love to help clubbers find great titles by classic female authors. Can you recommend any sources for building a list? (Just skip this question if you don’t have any at this point.)
I know that Persephone Books is a publishing house that solely publishes female writers, and often time female writers that have been forgotten and pushed aside. They are beautiful books, but hard to get a hold of in the states.

Here's a list of 20th century female authors.
And here's a list of Overlooked Classics by female authors. (I have read and loved Passing by Nella Larson from this list.
And my previous Women Writers list may give you some inspiration.

Recommend three books by classic female writers to get people started in this event. (Again, skip over this if you prefer not to answer.)
Sylvia Plath's Ariel and The Bell Jar are fantastic.
Jane Austen is a must read; I've read, Emma, Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion, and Sense and Sensibility (Emma is my favorite)
Kate Chopin's The Awakening and short stories are life changing.   

Will you be joining us for this event immediately, or will you wait until the new year starts?
I will begin now I think. I will just be gradually working on my list of novels and ladies, in fact I already have a list of women author's I made a year or so ago here that I want to read too. 

Do you plan to read as inspiration pulls, or will you make out a preset list?
Both, I'm making a list, but not strictly sticking to it, or aiming to complete it. 

Are you pulling to any particular genres? (Letters, journals, biographies, short stories, novels, poems, essays, etc?)
All of the above!

Are you pulling to a particular era or location in literature by women?

Do you hope to host an event or readalong for the group? No
 worries if you don’t have details. We’re just curious!
Maybe something this summer when I have a little more free time for reading! I would love to participate in readalongs though, so let me know of any that are happening!

Is there an author or title you’d love to read with a group or a buddy for this event? Sharing may inspire someone to offer.
hmm I'm not sure. Perhaps Their Eyes were Watching God by Zora Neal Hurston or Beloved by Toni Morrison.

Share a quote you love by a classic female author — even if you haven’t read the book yet.
"Let me live, love, and say it well in good sentences." 
-Sylvia Plath from The Journals of Sylvia Plath
Finally, ask the question you wish this survey had asked, & then answer it.
Have you found many women authors on your required reading lists?
I haven't! I read two books by women authors in high school, which is shocking because I took almost every English class offered. And my college course have pretty much stuck to the white-male cannon to my horror.

To keep up with me, you guys can follow on Bloglovin' and add me on Goodreads. Let me know if you are joining in so I can follow your progress, and check back for my list of female authors and novels soon! 


  1. Oo, this looks great! I think I might have to join in. :)

    1. I was hoping you would Jess! I can't wait to see what you read for the project!
      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. The House of Mirth is EXCELLENT. One of my favorite reads. I so agree with your three recommendation. (Ariel is incredible.) & also I love you Plath quote. I need to read Tess. I was just discussing it with a friend (who's reading it) & it made me want to pick it up. I'm SO GLAD YOU'RE JOINING!! :-D

    1. Tess was a great read! A little slow and heavy on descriptions at some points, but overall great. Plath is one of my all-time authors! I'm glad I ran across your post about this project so I could join in!
      Thanks for stopping by!

  3. * recommendation[s]

    * you[r] Plath quote

    (typos bother me) :-)

  4. I will be hosting my annual Wharton Review in January. It seems like there is a lot of interest in reading Age of Innocence, so I will host a readalong as part of it. Keep a look out for it, if you'd like to join us.

    I have The Bell Jar on my TBR pile, so I plan to finally get to it in the next 18mnths. I read The Awakening many, many years ago but don't remember it at all - maybe I was too young and should try it again.

    I've tried Beloved but haven't got very far with it - I think a readalong for it would be a great idea *nudge, nudge, wink, wink!!

    1. Awesome! I will pencil in The Age of Innocence for January! Please read The Bell Jar, it's so good! I first read The Awakening in high school and of course was way too young for it the, but upon reading it again in college, it was great.
      Ah! I may have to consider a Beloved read along then!
      Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Glad you're joining us Classics Clubbers for this event :) It's nice to see another Emma fan. I know Jane Austen described her as "a heroine whom no one but myself will much like," but I am still surprised how many Austen fans I talk with don't like Emma. It was the first Austen novel I read and the version with Gwyneth Paltrow was the first Austen film adaptation I saw.

    1. I found Emma to be Austen's most humorous book, and although Emma can be a bit pretentious and well... clueless, she is real and good-hearted. I have not seen the version with Paltrow (Netflix took it off right before I finished the book), but the latest BBC mini-series is really great.
      Thanks for stopping by!