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Timeless Authors of Feminist Literature

timeless authors of feminist literature | photo: J. K. Rowling

While the works of some authors don’t live long, others have become timeless. This is valid for both men and women. Women have been expressing themselves as writers throughout history although they have often been suppressed by men.

Here are 5 (7) timeless female authors from Britain, who are also known as important figures of feminist literature.

feminist literatureVirginia Woolf (1882-1941)

Virginia Woolf is an important author of feminist literature. She was raised in the Victorian Period, which is considered as the most intense period of pressure and discrimination. She always hated this period. During the Victorian Period women were banned from school education.  She was educated at home with her mother’s help, and had access to books thanks to her father’s (who was a famous author) library. In spite of all the difficulties of her time, her hatred towards the Victorian Period actually nourishes her feminist view.

She used a writing technique called stream of consciousness. Stream of consciousness is a literary writing technique that conveys an inner dialogue of the characters, and shows the thinking ways of the characters. Woolf’s best known novels are Mrs Dalloway (1925) and To The Lighthouse (1927). She wrote To The Lighthouse (1927) after her mother died. Also A Room of One’s Own (1929) is considered as a feminist manifesto.

Virginia Woolf suffered from a deep manic depression. For this reason, she attempted suicide more than once and lost her life in her last attempt. She admitted that she was harassed by her stepbrother when she was a child. Although her depression was a genetic disease we can not deny the fact that how being harassed can influence one’s life. If you want more information about Virginia Woolf, you can check this website! 🙂

Jane Austen (1775-1817)

feminist literatureShe might be my all time favourite female author. If you just look through her works, and don’t think much on her works you may think that she is just talking about love, romance. But that is not the truth. Without doubt I can say that she is a feminist. With her sense of humor she is criticising women of her time, and their lifestyle. She does not make deep analyzes and uses a simple language. But you can understand that there is a deeper meaning between her lines. She observes the everyday life perfectly. If you want a quick socio-psychological trip in history, you can start to read her novels.

Obviously the most famous work of her is Pride and Prejudice (1813), and I know lots of girls who have fallen in love with Mr. Darcy. Her other famous works are; Sense and Sensibility (1811), Mansfield Park (1814), Emma (1815), Northanger Abbey (1817), Persuasion (1817). If you want to have more information about Jane Austen you can check this website! 🙂

Bronte Sisters

Bronte Sisters are also 19th century British authors. We can not seperate The Bronte Sisters; Charlotte (1816-1855), Emily (1818-1848) and Anne (1820-1849) from each other when it comes to talk about them. Of course they used male names as aliases at the beginning. Besides prose, they were also interested in poetry. I haven’t read all of their books yet but I read Jane Eyre (1846) from Charlotte Bronte, Wuthering Heights (1847) from Emily Bronte and Agnes Grey (1847) by Anne Bronte.

In my opinion, they reflect their lifestyle to their books like how Jane Austen does, and they are really successful in portraying the surroundings of their plots (like how they present rural areas). For example, I can tell you that when I was reading Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte I felt the moors, the wind, and even Cathy’s voice. Also I can feel a kind of darkness while I’m reading their books. This feeling comes from the gothic elements that they added to their works. That’s probably because of the darkness around them. If you want more information about them you can check this website! 🙂

Virginia Woolf, Jane Austen and Bronte Sisters wrote fictional novels which are related to daily life. But female authors can also write crime stories, fantastic fictions etc. So here are Agatha Christie and J. K. Rowling even they are known as feminist authors as much as Virginia Woolf, Jane Austen, and Bronte Sisters!

Agatha Christie (1890-1976)

Agatha Christie is another British author who can be described as the mother of detective and mystery stories. Her most well known work can be Murder on The Orient Express, that she wrote in Istanbul. It is widely known that she wrote this book when she traveled to Istanbul in Orient Express and while she was staying in the Pera Palace. There are also some other informations that she really booked a room in the Pera Palace but actually she stayed in the Tokayliyan Hotel in Istanbul.

There are lots of legends about her like how and why she was disappeared for 11 days. This legend includes her Istanbul journey. The legend says that there is a key in her Pera Palace room, and that is a room key of a mansion in Istanbul. That room will solve the mystery of her disappearence. Among her books my personal favourite is definitely And Then There Were None. It was the first book of her that I read. Maybe that’s why it is my favourite. The famous character that she created is Detective Hercule Poirot. Later she also created a female character called Miss Marple. This makes me happy, cause seeing a female detective makes me happy. If she had not created the character of Miss Marple I would have disappointed. Although she is not considered in feminist literature as she created a female detective, we may consider her as a member of feminist literature too. If you want to have more information about Agatha Christie you can check this website! 🙂

J. K. Rowling (1965-now)

Now, the potterheads gone crazy. Hope you didn’t think that I would forget her. As a potterhead I have to mention her as a timeless female author. Her full name is Joanne Rowling but the letter ‘K’, initial of her grandmother’s name Kathleen, was added by publisher’s request. The publisher thought that a female author may not appeal young boys, that’s why they added the letter ‘K’.

She created a new universe and this universe keeps expanding like how our universe expands. Of course Harry Potter universe is a product of culture industry (like most of the today’s literary products). But how can we ignore the effort given to the creation of this universe? By creating a new universe she also became a timeless female British author. And don’t forget that she created lots of strong female characters. So we can count her as a feminist author too.

She also wrote a book called The Casual Vacancy (2012) and wrote a crime series under the pseudonym, Robert Galbraith, in order to be free from expectations. She also established an international children’s foundation called Lumos. If you want more information about J. K. Rowling you can check this website! 🙂

Of course there are more timeless female authors from Britain. And of course feminist literature is not just for Brits. If you have more names to suggest, share with us! 🙂






Written by Ezgi





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