Inspiring female authors of the classics

Being an author is a great accomplishment in itself. Becoming an author two hundred years ago was a greater one, considering how hard it was to become one, what with the small number of publishing books and far smaller reading target groups. However, what I consider an even grander accomplishment is becoming a female author , which is why I admire some of the classics so much. So here are some intelligent, inspiring women who were not afraid to express themselves in difficult times, and to achieve what only few women in the world could in their era.

 

800px-SenseAndSensibilityTitlePageJane Austen (16 December 1775 – 18 July 1817). One of the most widely read writers in English literature, her works include Pride and Prejudice, and Sense and Sensibility. Little is known of her personal life, it is ,however, known that she received a proper amount of education and was one of the “lucky” women of her era, as she is said to have been given free access to her father’s library, having therefore an access to literature that most women did not have. Her works were published anonymously, and therefore brought her little acknowledgement through her life. Her novels, however, quickly became fashionable among opinion-makers.

 

 

 

 

 

CharlotteBronte
Charlotte Bronte (wikipedia.org)

Charlotte Brontë (21 April 1816 – 31 March 1855). Bronte’s life was not an easy one. Having lost her mother at an early age, she acted as a motherly figure for her younger sisters.Her first novel, the famous Jane Eyre, was rejected and had to be re-edited before it was accepted under a male pseudonym. . In May 1846 Charlotte and her sisters,  Emily and Anne self-financed the publication of a joint collection of poems under their assumed names Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell. The purpose of the pseudonym was to hide their gender. Charlotte’s pseudonym was Currer Bell, and she continued using it throughout her writing career.  Although she died at the very early age of 38, Charlotte Bronte managed to leave behind wonderful novels, such as The Professor, Emma, and Jayne Eyre.

Emily Jane Brontë (30 July 1818 – 19 December 1848) . The younger sister of Charlotte Bronte was a poet and a writer,  best known for her only novel (and my all time favorite classic), Wuthering Heights, now considered a classic of English literature. She wrote under the pen name Ellis Bell in order to conceal her gender.Emily died of tuberculosis when she was only 30 years old, and all she had managed to leave literature with are some poems and her novel, Wuthering Heights, but it is such a wonderful classic piece of literature, that is now considered one of the masterpieces of literature.

 

Louisa_May_Alcott_headshotLouisa May Alcott (November 29, 1832 – March 6, 1888) was an American novelist and poet. She is best known as the author of the novel Little Women. Her family suffered severe financial difficulties and she had to  work in order  to help support the family from an early age. She worked as a teacher, seamstress, governess, domestic helper and  was a strong supporter for women’s suffrage , becoming the first woman to register to vote in Concord, Massachusetts in a school board election. When the American Civil War broke out, she served as a nurse . She was a prolific author, writing throughout her entire life. Her works include Little Women, Litlle Men and Jo’s Boys.

 

 

 

FrankensteinDraft
Shelley’s handwritten notes of Frankenstein

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley ( 30 August 1797 – 1 February 1851) is best known for her gothic novel Frankenstein. Daughter of a political philosopher and a feminist, Shelley remained a political radical throughout her life. Until the 1970s, Mary Shelley was known mainly for her efforts to publish her husbands, Percy Shelley, works and for her novel Frankenstein.  Recent scholarship has yielded a more comprehensive view of Mary Shelley’s achievements. Scholars have shown increasing interest in her novels, which include Valperga and The Last Man and Falkner.