>Bardiac has bothered to put in writing what I also thought when I saw the “Women Writers Meme” around the b-sphere (most recently at Badger’s place): Where are the pre-1800 women writers on that list?
Go read Bardiac’s post, because everything she says is what I would’ve said, including the part about other feminists not taking you and your work seriously if you work on early literature. And that includes student feminists who, no matter how many times you tell them they’re seriously over-simplifying matters (or just plain wrong), write papers about anchoresses that argue that the women were being ‘locked up’ by patriarchy. Never mind that there were male anchorites. Never mind that maybe a life of reading and prayer and being considered a source of wisdom by townspeople and visitors alike might be more appealing than, say, having 14 kids all 14 of which might have killed you in childbirth. Never mind that being an anchoress could be read as a medieval version of a “room of one’s own.” Sigh.
Anyway, Bardiac has proposed we put together our own list of pre-1800 women writers (those of us who work in those fields or have read widely in them). She’s already taken some of the medieval goodies (I shake my fist at you, Bardiac!) but there are more I can add. So here’s Bardiac’s list with my additions (and I changed some of Bardiac’s links to translations I prefer):
The (draft) REALLY DEAD WOMEN WRITERS meme.
Behn, Aphra – Oroonoko
Christine de Pisan (aka Pizan) – The Book of the City of Ladies
Julian of Norwich – Revelations of Divine Love
Locke, Anne (aka Ane Lok, etc) – A Meditation of a Penitent Sinner
Marie de France – The Lais of Marie de France
The Paston Women – The Paston Letters
Margery Kempe – The Book of Margery Kempe
Anonymous – The Floure and the Leafe
(I am convinced the writer was a women. Unless you can name a medieval dream vision where the dreamer was not a persona of the author — and therefore the same gender — I stand by my convinction.)
Lady Mary Wroth – Poems
There’s more I could add, but I’ll leave it to others. Don’t want to hog them all!
Update: I was supposed to add five texts and I only added 4. D’oh! Oh well — more for others to play with! And they’ve already begun: Medieval Woman, La Lecturess, and Amanda at Household Opera. And if you add more to the list, don’t forget to visit Bardiac or drop her a line at bardiacblogger at yahoo dot com, so she can compile the whole list.
Oh, and also, Christine de Pisan and Marie de France wrote other texts — feel free to add those to your list!