The folks over at The Classics Club are hosting an event to read classics by female authors. You know those human beings whose works were often overlooked when lists of the best books were created because the topics they wrote about were trivial or trite? Or those persons who had to publish their books under male pseudonyms otherwise no one would publish them or buy their books?
What are the details of the Women's Classics Literary Event? Between now and December 2016 read classics written by female authors. There are no other "rules". Sign up over at the club, read as many books, journals, essays, biographies by and about the authors as you want. Post links to your blog, if you want. Tweet with the handle: #ccwomenclassics. The whole point of this event is to read classic books written by women. Answer the questions in the survey, if it strikes your fancy. Here are my responses to it:
1. Introduction--- My name is Anne Bennett. I am a high school librarian in Washington State. I was a classroom teacher for twenty-five years before moving to the library. I didn't read many classics as a kid nor did I take any literature classes in college (I took lots of science classes.) I am making up for lost time now, frantically reading as many classics books as I can scrunch in between the YA novels I read for my job and the books I read for my two book clubs. I am excited for this event. It gives me an excuse to focus my efforts on the female authors on my classics list.
2. Classics by women---I haven't read many classics by men or women. Of my list of 60 classic titles I'd like to read/have read, posted here, only 18 of them are by women. That is a situation which needs to be remedied. I hope through this event to find other female authors to add to my list.
3. Highlight an author: Edith Wharton was born in 1862 during the Civil War. She was the first female author to win a Pulitzer Prize in 1921 for The Age of Innocence. Her first novel wasn't published until she was forty but she was remarkably productive, publishing fifteen novels, many novellas, essays, poems, and 85 short stories. She knew many famous individuals of her day including Teddy Roosevelt.
4. A female character written by a male classic author: Estella in Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. She is beautiful, refined, and mean. She also is incredibly unhappy and marries for prestige or money (or both.) I often wonder if men create female characters they would like to meet in person, aka super lovely and hot! Dickens' character here seems to fall into that category.
5. A favorite female character: Elizabeth Bennet by Jane Austen. Elizabeth is plucky and spirited. She is smart and has a mind of her own, too.
6. Sites which contain lists of females classics authors
- 20 Most Influential Women Authors
- Buzzfeed: How many of the greatest books authored by women have your read?
- My Antonia by Willa Cather
- Persuasion by Jane Austen
- The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
8. I will start reading for this event as soon as I finish the reading projects I am currently working on.
9. I hope to read off my classic list but I imagine that my reading choices will start to dictate my subsequent choices.
10-11. I hope to read from a variety of genres including poetry, short stories, and biographies.
12-13. Will I host an event or read-a-long? Too soon to tell. Stay tuned.