|"The female literary tradition, long neglected, emerges as one that has not only developed concurrently with, but has also influenced male literati. In this large and fascinating volume we meet the minds that analyzed and chronicled the lives these women lived and observed.
One might argue about the selections included and excluded here. Pearl Buck, the only woman to win both a Nobel Prize (1938) and a Pulitzer (1932) is excluded.
The book is divided into 6 eras, each with a lengthy "period introduction" giving historical and thematic backgrounds for the works included in that section.
From the five earliest women writers (dating from 700 to 1600), women began to shape and define their literary voices. England's first professional woman writer, Aphra Behn, whose literary career began in 1670, is the writer who women must honor above all others. According to Virginia Woolf, "it was she who earned them the right to speak their minds."
Here the reader will find rare works such as Jane Austen's "Love and Friendship" and George Eliot's "The Lifted Veil." Three notable novels are included in their entirety: JANE EYRE by Charlotte Bronte, THE AWAKENING by Kate Chopin, and THE BLUEST EYE by Toni Morrison.
Poems, stories, memoirs, essays, plays, letters, novels -- all literary works originally composed in English -- over 150 authors decrying, exalting, agonizing over, and celebrating the things we all have in common: Life...love...and death.
This is a fascinating collection and one that will stand reading and re-reading over a long period of time."
"This anthology has been more relevant to me over the years since I've graduated from college (with a BA in English) than any of the others I own. For bibliophiles who have an interest in understanding the unique position women have had over the centuries in articulating their thoughts, lives, concerns, desires, etc., this anthology is a must. I am constantly pulling it from the shelf to look up the author bios, historical background information, etc. But more than that, I really enjoy returning to it to read favorite poems and short stories by the most celebrated women writers of all time. I have given this anthology as a gift and recommended it on numerous occasions to friends and acquaintances who are interested in further understanding women's history, literature, feminism, etc. I also have some of the literary criticism the editors have written (Madwomen in the Attic, others) and recommend those as well."
"I first opened this book because of a Women's Lit class I took last year. Sure, I was excited, but I really did not expect to find it interesting. After all, the public school system only allows a few women writers to be taught: Mary Shelly, Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Kate Chopin, and Emily Dickerson. But what about the many wonderful women writes who have not been taught at length? Anne Sexton, Toni Morrison, Elizabeth Bareet Browning, Christina Rosettie, Maya Angelou, Sylvia Plath, Anne Finch...the list is endless, literally. Every woman should own a copy of this book, regardless of whether you need it or not. It is time to spread the enormous talent of the world's best poets and authors. Many could not publish their works or gain the respect of their equally talented male writers, now it is time to give the Ladies all the credit they deserve."