about American women writers. Why don’t I read them? Why has their legacy not remained strong? I’ve been thinking about this on and off ever since reading the brilliant book A Jury of Her Peers by Elaine Showalter. I’ve mentioned this book before, I think. I recently checked it out from the library for the kajillionth time (I really need my own copy). I find it extremely fascinating reading about so many women authors who I, and probably most people, have never heard of. Women who had to find time to write while raising children, enduring abusive marriages, laboring on farms and in large households, scrabbling for a living in big cities, and while suffering the hardship of prejudice. A limited number of these women received recognition in their lifetimes, a few who did are Louisa May Alcott, Edith Wharton, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Willa Cather. Hundreds of others are not remembered and, sadly, not read. The creative efforts of so many female authors are lost to time and to disinterest and contempt. Reading their stories in Showalter’s book makes my heart ache for them and makes me want to revive their contributions to literature by reading them and telling others about their work. Of course, academics have studied these women and debated their merits, reprinted many of their works and written articles dissecting their achievements. I’m just a normal reader, but I too want to read the stories of my countrywomen and honor the heritage of American literature through them.
So, you’ll be seeing a lot more books by American women here on Gudrun’s Tights during the rest of the year. I am going to start where I am and read some of the books I already have on my shelves. Most of the titles are fairly contemporary.
Books like these.
But I have plans to find and download to my Kindle many of the more obscure titles by authors from the 19th century.
I am excited to read more of the literature of my native land and to find out about the sensational American ladies who’ve written this literature.
I hope you enjoy following along with me on my journey.
Do you have a favorite female American author? Are there any American women writers you’d like to recommend?