Thursday, October 29, 2015

Classics Club Event: Women's Lit in 2016

...or now, really.  The Classics Club is running a long-term event/celebration on great literature by women.  And there's a questionnaire and all!  So I don't know that I'll point it out every single time I read a classic work by a female-type person, but at the very least I'll answer these questions and talk about it every so often.  My first post for this event was Wives and Daughters the other day!  It took me a while to get all this stuff written out.

  1. Introduce yourself. Tell us what you are most looking forward to in this event.  I'm Jean, I'm a librarian and sewist and homeschooling mom, and I will most enjoy reading others' posts about women in literature.
  2. Have you read many classics by women? Why or why not?  Yes.  The fact is that I gravitate towards women writers anyway; this is not exactly an event that will push me out of my comfort zone.  Maybe I will search out lesser-known works or something.
  3. 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.  Let's go with Elizabeth Gaskell, because I read Wives and Daughters this week!  Mrs. Gaskell was born in Chelsea near London, and lived from 1810-1865.  I think she is most famous for North and South, a lovely novel about a refined rural Kentish girl who goes to live in an industrial Northern city.  Wives and Daughters is her crowning achievement, but is also unfinished, as she died before it could be completed.  It's almost done though.
  4. 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!) I guess that depends on which heroine you choose, hm?  Let's go with Isabel Archer, the subject of Henry James' Portrait of a Lady.  I think Isabel counts as a whole person, as in, she is a fully-rounded out and complex character who is as realistic as any of James' -- or literature's -- characters.  (Is a whole woman different than a whole person?  What is a whole woman?)  Isabel is an American lady who travels to England, charms every man she meets, and eventually chooses to marry an awful fellow who lives in Rome and collects beautiful objects (such as Isabel).
  5. Favorite classic heroine? (Why? Who wrote her?)  I'm such a cliche; I love Jane Eyre best, by Charlotte Bronte.  She is just so principled and independent and stubborn about it.  
  6. 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 can only recommend looking at blogs, usually but not always by other Clubbers.  In fact I suppose if you looked over my "Index of Reviewed Books" (which is months behind reality) in the literature section, you could find some.
  7. Recommend three books by classic female writers to get people started in this event. (Again, skip over this if you prefer not to answer.)  Agnes Grey, by Anne Bronte (lesser known, but a great book, and then move on to the utterly fabulous Tenant of Wildfell Hall); The Book of the City of Ladies, by Christine de Pisan, one of my all-time favorite medieval works; and 
  8. Will you be joining us for this event immediately, or will you wait until the new year starts?  I was already starting Mrs. Gaskell's Wives and Daughters, so I guess I have joined.
  9. Do you plan to read as inspiration pulls, or will you make out a preset list?  Inspiration!  At least until I've finished my current CC list, which has a lot left on it and I'm nervous about getting done in time (for me, March 2017).
  10. Are you pulling to any particular genres? (Letters, journals, biographies, short stories, novels, poems, essays, etc?)  Hm, letters sounds fun!  Probably mostly novels and essays.
  11. Are you pulling to a particular era or location in literature by women?  Era, not really.  I'll take whatever comes along.  I do prefer to seek out literature from other places and languages.
  12. Do you hope to host an event or readalong for the group? No worries if you don’t have details. We’re just curious!  If I can think of a good one, I would be quite happy to.
  13. 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.  Gosh, I don't know, but I'd be happy to participate in a group read for anything long or intimidating.
  14. Share a quote you love by a classic female author — even if you haven’t read the book yet. I finally actually did read the source for a general favorite.  In Louisa May Alcott's Work, the heroine falls asleep in her servant garret while reading and leaves her candle alight, against house rules.  It sets fire to her clothing hanging nearby.  Her employers arrive home and run into her room just in time to prevent the fire from really getting going.  Christie, meanwhile, awoken by yelling to see all her clothing aflame, gets a little hysterical and laughs.  Her mistress cries:  "She is too fond of books, and it has turned her brain!"
  15. Finally, ask the question you wish this survey had asked, & then answer it.  This was pretty thorough!

1 comment:

jrleek said...

Question 7 seems to be unfinished or truncated.