“Then the curtain rose.” – A Survey for the Women’s Classic Literature Event

I am excitedly planning to take part in the Women’s Classic Literature Event hosted by the Classics Club in 2016. So here are my plans, which turned a little more detailed than I was expecting in answering the pre-challenge survey!

  1. Introduce yourself. Tell us what you are most looking forward to in this event.

I noticed that, although I have plenty of female authors on my Classics Club list, most of the authors from other nationalities are male. When I Googled female Russian classic writers I only found one woman! As I have been taking part in a round the world reading challenge this year, I decided to do the same again next year only with classic female authors – one from each continent (excluding Antarctica unless anyone can find me a book that fits the bill!) So I am looking forward to extending my original list Classics Club list to make it more international and redress the gender balance.

As well as looking forward to reading more classics by female authors, I can’t wait to see the books that everyone else chooses and hopefully I will gain some new reading recommendations.

2. Have you read many classics by women? Why or why not?

I think I’ve read quite a few. I read everything by Jane Austen when I was a teenager, and have re-read them since. My final year at university introduced me to George Elliot. They remain two of my favourite authors. I also really enjoyed To Kill a Mockingbird and Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl. I still have many more to go though.

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.

I am determined to finally read something by Virginia Woolf, after several failed attempts whilst at university. I think I just wasn’t ready for her when I was nineteen. She was born 25th January 1882 in Kensington and I am going to read her iconic work A Room of One’s Own for the challenge.

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 am going to go for Anna Karenina as I have just finished reading this and have to say, no, she did not seem to be a whole or complete woman. I thought that Tolstoy put a lot more work in to creating his male characters than he did his female ones, and Anna’s character did not seem sufficiently developed enough to explain her actions.

5. Favourite classic heroine? (Why? Who wrote her?)

A tough one. I used to say Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice, not just because she shared my name but because she was smart, funny and stood up for herself. But now I think that Dorothea from George Elliot’s Middlemarch shows more strength of character and depth.

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.)

Goodreads list some, there is an article from The Guardian which had an interesting list of influential books by women and I am gaining some of my inspiration from this list.

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.)

The Mill on the Floss by George Elliot (not as daunting as Middlemarch), anything by Jane Austen and Anne Frank’s Diary for anyone who hasn’t read it.

8. Will you be joining us for this event immediately, or will you wait until the new year starts?

As it’s going to be my 2016 reading challenge I will wait until the bells ring at midnight on the first of January. But I will probably have my first book ready to start that morning…

9. Do you plan to read as inspiration pulls, or will you make out a preset list?

I like to have a bit of a plan, but with room for expansion if I get inspired (she says with a list already drawn up before I even got round to publishing this…)

10. Are you pulling to any particular genres? (Letters, journals, biographies, short stories, novels, poems, essays, etc?)

Whatever I can find to fit my theme! I do fancy reading in forms other than the novel though, as I seem to read mainly novels and not much else. I’ve got some poetry planned.

11. Are you pulling to a particular era or location in literature by women?

Yes, classics by women from six different continents.

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!

I’d be interested in doing this, but have never taken part in one so I’m not sure how they work. Maybe an event to read a classic (female) author from another country?

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.

Any – it would be great to discuss one of my books with someone else. Or if anyone else wants to do the same and read their way around the world then that would be even better!

14.Share a quote you love by a classic female author — even if you haven’t read the book yet.

I’m terrible at recording or remembering quotes. hopefully be the end of next year I will have one that I remembered to write down!

15. Finally, ask the question you wish this survey had asked, & then answer it.

Q: Which authors/books are you planning to read?

A: Europe: A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf; Asia: The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu; Africa: The Story of an African Farm by Olive Shreiner; North America: The Awakening by Kate Chopin; South America: Selected Poems of Gabriela Mistral; Australia: My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin; and one extra: Selected Poems by Anna Akhmatova (Russia). Any other suggestions welcome 🙂


6 thoughts on ““Then the curtain rose.” – A Survey for the Women’s Classic Literature Event

  1. I’m planning to read A Room of One’s Own as well and The Tale of Genji,I’d be happy to read either of those with you 🙂 I love your idea of reading women writers from the different continents. I had real trouble finding any from outside of the Uk/US/Aus!


  2. I love your plan to read classic women from around the world, I hope to find more female writers from outside of Europe/North America/Australasia as I have read plenty of those in the past.

    I can suggest many more Australian & NZ women writers if you’d like to try more after My Brilliant Career 🙂

    Good luck

    Liked by 1 person

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