Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The REALLY Dead Women Writers Meme

I expect I've made some mistakes or left some people out. Please feel free to make suggestions for corrections, copy and transmit, transmute, or whatever; just remember to read some of these great writers along the way. (My suggestion of the day is to read Anne Clifford's diary; but feel free to choose something else!)

My thanks again to everyone who contributed, and especially to Mon for coming up with the idea of a women writers meme and being gracious when I made one for REALLY dead women writers. Always remember, when it comes to writers, the deader, the better. (I think Sappho's the grand winner here.)

A bit of added background: The meme started with a short post here about how earlier women writers get ignored; because I felt that any list I put together wouldn't be nearly full enough, I proposed that I'd start with five writers, and asked people to contribute their own five suggestions. Lots of people (as you can see from the list) posted contributions on their own blogs, or contributed in the comments to blogs, and as a bonus, I learned a lot more about women writers. I posted a second draft of the REALLY dead women writers blog here. The current draft incorporates the second round of suggestions and corrections. (But given the editorial skill I've shown elsewhere, I expect there are still corrections to be made.)

In the collaborative spirit of the meme, I hope folks will get some ideas for reading / teaching from the list, and realize just how rich women's writing has been in the past, how complex our history is, and how very worthy of study.

Here's a thought for further work: help me learn how to teach women writers better, how to incorporate more women's works into my classes. (Dr. Virago at Quod She, for example, has a just way cool recent post about teaching Margery Kempe. I'd love to read more posts about teaching women writers and teaching feminism in earlier periods.)

Again, thanks for teaching me so much about women writers!

Contributors: Links are to the blogger's meme post

And Gladly Wolde (S)he lerne (History Geek)
Bitch PhD
The Blog that Ate Manhattan (tbtam)
Cats and Dogma
Dr. Crazy - ?
J. Dryden - ?
Early Modern Notes (Sharon)
Heo Cwaeth
Hieronimo - ?
Household Opera (Amanda)
Jenny D - ?
Karl the Grouchy Medievalist - ?
La Lecturess
Meatcheesebun (St. Eph)
Medieval Woman
Medusa Smiles (Minerva)
My So Called (ABD) Life (Mon)
Penny L. Richards - Disability Studies
Phantom Scribbler - ?
Purple Elephant’s Corner
Quod She (Dr. Virago)
Siris (Brandon)
Self Portrait As (Holly)
Styley Geek - ?
Swan Dive (Weezy)

The Meme!

Anonymous - The Floure and the Leafe (See Quod She for explanation)
Anonymous - Eliza's Babes or The Virgin's Offering (1652)
Hannah Adams (1755-1831) - Alphabetical Compendium of the Various Sects
Maria Gaetana Agnesi (Italian, 1718-1799) - mathematical and philosophical treatises, including Propositiones Philosophicae (1738) and Analytical Institutions
Andal (Tamil Religious Poet) - ?
Angela of Foligno -
Jane Anger - Jane Anger Her Protection for Women (1589)
Anne Askew - The Examinations of Anne Askew
Mary Astell - A Serious Proposal to the Ladies (1694), Some Reflections upon Marriage
Jane Austen – Lady Susan, Love and Freindship, etc
Abigail Abbot Bailey - The Memoirs of Abigail Abbot Bailey (1790s)
Martha Ballad - The Diary of Martha Ballard 1785- 1812 (or just read A Midwife’s Tale)
Anna Lætitia Barbauld (1743-1825) - Hymns in Prose for Children
Baudonivia - Vita of Saint Radegund
Aphra Behn - Oroonoko
Ana Eliza Bleecker - The History of Maria Kittle (1779)
Frau Ava - "Johannes," "Leben Jesu," "Antichrist," "Das Jüngste Gericht"
Anne Bradstreet - collected poems, The Tenth Muse Lately Sprung Up in America, written in "the New World"
St. Bridget - hymns, Revelations
Frances Moore Brooke (English, 1724-1789, pseudonym "Mary Singleton, Spinster") - editor of The Old Maid (1755-56), wrote poems, a play, libretti, translations; while in Canada, wrote The History of Emily Montague (1769)
Fanny Burney - Evelina
Elizabeth Cary – The Tragedy of Mariam (1613); The History of the Life, Reign, and Death of Edward II (1627)
Catherine of Sienna - The Dialogue of Catherine of Sienna
Margaret Cavendish – The Blazing World, The Atomic Poems, The Convent of Pleasure (1668)
Susanna Centlivre - "A Bold Stroke for a Wife"
Christine de Pisan (aka Pizan) – Book of the City of Ladies, Book of the Path of Long Study, Christine's Vision
Anne Clifford - Diary
Catherine Trotter Cockburn - "Defence of Mr. Locke's Essay," The Revolution of Sweden
Mary Collier – The Woman’s Labour
An Collins - Divine Songs and Meditations (1653)
Vittoria Colonna - "Amaro Lagrimar"
Anna Comnena - The Alexiad
Mary Cooper - The Diary of Mary Cooper
Damaris Cudworth (Lady Masham) -- Occasional Thoughts
Charlotte Dacre - "Zofloya"
Dhuoda - Handbook for William: A Carolingian Woman's Counsel for Her Son (at Sunshine for Women) and a dual-language version from Cambridge UP
Elizabeth Drinker - The Diary of Elizabeth Drinker: The Life Cycle of an Eighteenth Century Woman
Maria Edgeworth - ?
Eloise – The Letters of Eloise and Abelard (well, hers, anyways)
Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz - Fama y obras póstumas La Comtessa de Dia - "A chantar m'er" & other Trobairitz poetry
Sarah Fyge Egerton – The Female Advocate
Elizabeth Elstob - The Rudiments of Grammar for the English-Saxon Tongue (1715).
'Ephelia' - Female Poems On Several Occasions (c. 1679)
Margaret Fell - Women's Speaking Justified, Proved, and Allowed by the Scriptures (1666)
Elizabeth Graeme Fergusson - ?
Sarah Fielding - ?
Anne Finch - Poems, The Principles of the Most Ancient and Modern Philosophy
Moderata Fonte (Modesta da Pozzo) - Il merito delle donne (Woman’s Worth) (1600)
Hannah W. Foster - The Coquette
Sarah Friske - A Confession of Faith (1700)
Luise Kulmus Gottsched (German, 1713-1762) - plays, poetry, translation Hadewijch devotional poet (13th century) - ?
Queen Hatshepsut - Speech of the Queen Mary Hays - ?
Eliza Haywood - The History of Miss Betsey Thoughtless
Mary Sidney Herbert – see Mary Sidney
Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179) - Scivias and Liber Divinorum Operum
Hrostvitha of Gandersheim (c.930-c.1002) - Plays Gallicanus & Dulcitius
Eleanor Hull - A Commentary on the Penitential Psalms
Huneberc of Heidenheim's - Hodoeporicon of St. Willibald (8th century, Latin)
Lucy Hutchinson (1620-1681) - Order and Disorder
Mary Jemison - The Diary of Mary Jemison
Julian of Norwich - Revelations of Divine Love
Lady Kasa - ?
Catherine Macaulay - Letters on Education (1790) and History of England, 8 vols. (1763-1783)
Bathsua Makin (1600-1675) - An Essay to Revive the Antient Education of Gentlewomen
Margery Kempe - The Book of Margery Kempe
Sarah Kemble Knight - The Journal of Madame Knight 1666-1727
Louise Labbe (Labe?) - Sonnets
Aemilia Lanyer - Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum
Anne Locke (aka Ane Loke, etc) – Meditations of a Penitent Sinner
Leonor Lopez - Autobiography
De la Riviere Manley (Mary De La Riviere Manley) – The Secret History of Queen Zarah and the Zarazians
Marguerite de Navarre - "L'Heptameron"
Marie de France – Lais of Marie de France, The Fables (beast fables a la Aesop), The Purgatory of Saint Patrick (a saint's life/treatise)
Gwerful Mechain - Poems
Mechtild of Magdebourg - The Flowing Light of the Godhead
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu - ?
Marie Morin (Quebecois, 1659-1730), first Canadian nun - memoirs as the annals of the Hotel-Dieu
Sarah Wentworth Morton - ?
Murasaki Shikubu - The Tale of Genji
Judith Sargent Murray - "On the Equality of the Sexes" (1790)
Amelia Opie - ?
The Paston Women - The Paston Letters
Perpetua - Passions of Perpetua and Felicity
Katherine Phillips - Poems
Eliza Lucas Pinckney - The Letterbook of Eliza Lucas Pinckney, 1739-1762
Plumpton family (Dame Anges Plumpton, Dame Isabel Plumpton, Dame Elizabeth de la Pole) - Plumpton Letters
Margaret (Marguerite de) Porete - Mirror of Simple Souls
Ann Radcliffe - The Mysteries of Udolpho, The Romance of the Forest
Clara Reeve (English, 1729-1807) - The Old English Baron (1778), The School for Widows (1791) Veronica Franco Rime (1575) - ?
Robinson, Mary (1758-1800) - Beaux and Belles of England Mrs. Mary Robinson, Written by Herself, With the lives of the Duchesses of Gordon and Devonshire Poems and Sappho and Phaon.
Mary Rowlandson - The Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson (available online)
Susanna Rowson - Charlotte Temple
Sappho - ?
Jane Sharp – The Midwives Book
Frances Sheridan - ?
Sei Shonagon - The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon
Mary Sidney – The Triumph of Death (translation of Petrarch), Psalms
Rachel Speght - Mouzell for Melastomus and Mortalities Memorandum
Germaine de Stael - "Corinne, or Italy"
Gaspara Stampa - ?
Stonor family (Mary Barantyne (sister to William Stonor), Jane Stonor, Elizbeth Stonor, Anne Stonor) - The Stonor Letters
Teresa of Avila - Life
Lucy Terry - "Bar Fights"
Hester Thrale - Anecdotes of the Late Samuel Johnson
Chen Tong, Tan Ze and Qian Yi - The Peony Pavilion: Commentary Edition by Wu Wushan's Three Wives
Trotula - The Diseases of Women
Elizabeth Tudor – Poems, Speeches, Letters
Mercy Otis Warren - ?
Phillis Wheatley - The Poems of Phillis Wheatley
Isabella Whitney - The Copy of a Letter, lately written in meeter by a yonge Gentilwoman: to her unconstant lover (1567) and A Sweet Nosegay, or Pleasant Posy: Containing a Hundred and Ten Philosophical Flowers (1573)
Helen Maria Williams - "Letters from France"
Betje Wolff (Dutch, 1738-1804) - Historie van mejuffrouw Sara Burgerhart (1782)
Mary Wollstonecraft – A Vindication of the Rights of Women
Susanna Wright (1697-1784) – Poems?
Lady Mary Wroth - Urania, Poems

**Some corrections made, thanks!


  1. Now that this completely admirable and daunting list has been established, there is no way I'm actually doing this as a meme! Using it as a reading guide, perhaps. But my meme would consist of a lot of (textual) blank stares. :)

    word verification: txtydg = texty dames of generations (past)

  2. Love your blog! I can't believe how long that list is!! More on Ann Eliza Bleeker: (1752-1783) most notable work was *The History of Maria Kittle* in 1779.

  3. Wow, that list is impressive.

    You still haven't added one or two of my suggestions, though (e.g., Catherine Trotter Cockburn and Hester Thrale).

    (On Cockburn, I wrote down her Defence of Mr. Locke's Essay, since I do philosophy and am more familiar with it than her other works; but she wrote quite a few plays as well, e.g., The Revolution of Sweden. She rewrote some on the suggestion of Congreve, with whom she corresponded.)

    I also notice that you don't have a work for Catherine of Siena: she dictated a theological dialogue (The Dialogue of Catherine of Siena and has a rather extensive extant correspondence.

    A list like this is a wonderful thing to find.

  4. Thanks, folks! I'm making corrections, and have reached to here so far...

  5. Anonymous3:37 PM

    I know it has been a few days since the list has been updated but there are a few more writers I couldn't leave "languishing in the wings."

    Enheduanna (~2300 BCE) Sumerian Priestess/Poet of Goddess Inanna (collected poetry: Inanna, Lady of Largest Heart)

    Catherine des Roches Les Missives (1586)

    Pernette du Guillet Rymes (1545)

    Tullia d'Aragona Rime della Signora Tullia d'Aragona (1547)

    Sister Margaret Smulders Letters (1628)

    Mother Maria de San Jose Journals (1590s)

    There are always more to add (especially religious writings)...but the list may become unwieldy!

  6. Madame de La Fayette's The Princess de Clèves should be included on such an awesome list like this.

  7. Anonymous9:04 AM

    Good Job! :)