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Women's Writing In English

Field of Study Reading List

Medieval and Early Modern Period

*Kempe, MargeryThe Book of Margery Kempe (c. 1431-1438). 
*Whitney, IsabellaThe Copy of a letter (1567).
*Queen Elizabeth I. "The Doubt of Future Foes," "On Monsieur's Departure," "Speech to the Troops at Tilbury" (c. 1570-1588).
*Sidney, Mary Herbert, Countess of Pembroke. A Dialogue betweene two shepheards, Thenot, and Piers, in praise of Astrea (1590).
*Lanyer, Aemilia. From Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum: "To the Virtuous Reader," "Eve's Apology in Defense of Women" (1611).
Clifford, Lady AnneFrom Anne Clifford's Diary for 1616-19 (Norton Anthology, the 17th Century).
Anger, JaneIane Anger her Protection for vvomen (1588).
*Wroth, Mary. Love's Victory and Pamphilia to Amphilanthus or The Countesse of Mountgomeries Urania (1621).
Cary, ElizabethThe Tragedie of Mariam (1613) or Edward II (1627).
*Bradstreet, Anne. "The Prologue," "In Honor of That High and Mighty Princess Queen Elizabeth of Happy Memory," "The Author to Her Book," "To My Dear and Loving Husband." "Here Follows Some Verses upon the Burning of Our House, July 10th, 1666," "Before the Birth of One of her Children," "The Flesh and the Spirit" (1650-78).
Philips, Katherine. "Friendship's Mysteries, to My Dearest Lucasia," "To Mrs. M.A. at Parting," "On the Death of My First and Dearest Child, Hector Philips," "To Sir Amorous La Fool," "A Married State" (1655-67). *Behn, AphraThe Rover (1677), or The Widow Ranter (1689).
*Behn, AphraOroonoko, or The Royal Slave (1688).
*Behn, Aphra. "The Willing Mistress," "Love Armed," "The Disappointment," "On Her Loving Two Equally," "To the Fair Clarinda, Who Made Love to Me, Imagined More than Woman" (1673-1688).
Cavendish, MargaretThe Description of a New World, Called the Blazing World (1666), or The Convent of Pleasure (1688).
*Rowlandson, MaryA Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson (1682). 
*Astell, MaryA Serious Proposal to the LadiesBy a Lover of Her Sex (1694).

Eighteenth Century and Romantic Period

Mary, Lady Chudleigh. "To Almystrea," "The Wish," "Song" ("When Daphne first her Shepherd saw"), "To the Ladies," "On the Death of My Dear Daughter," "The Resolve" (1703.
Fyge, Sarah (later Egerton)The Female Advocate (1686, 1687) or Lady Mary Chudleigh. The Ladies Defence (1701).
*Finch, Anne [Winchilsea, Countess]. Selected Poetry to include "The Spleen" (1701, 1713); "Life's Progress," "A Tale of the Miser and the Poet," "The Petition for an Absolute Retreat," "To the Nightingale," "A Nocturnal Reverie," "To Death" (1713); "Clarinda's Indifference at Parting with Her Beauty," "An Invocation to Sleep," "The Introduction," "The Unequal Fetters" (1903).
*Montagu, Lady Mary WortleyEclogues (1716, 1747); "Constantinople" (1717); "The Reasons that Induced Dr. S[wift] to write a Poem call'd the Lady's Dressing room" (1734) and Turkish Embassy Letters (1716-18, pub. 1763. 
Centlivre, Susanna. A Bold Stroke for a Wife (1718).
Fielding, SarahDavid Simple, including Volume the Last (1744, 1753) or Scott, Sarah RobinsonA Description of Millenium Hall (1718).
*Haywood, ElizaThe Female Spectator, No. 5. Selected Writings of Eliza Haywood II, vol. 2 (1744).
*Haywood, ElizaLove in Excess (1719-20); or Betsy Thoughtless (1751).
Brooke, Frances. The History of Emily Montague (1769).
*Burney, FrancesEvelina (1778).
*Burney, Frances. The mastectomy letter ((March-June 1812; from The Journals and Letters of Frances Burney [Madame d'Arblay], ed. Joyce Hemlow et al. [1975] 6: 596-616).
*Smith, CharlotteElegiac Sonnets (1784).
Adams, Abigail. Selections from Letters to John Adams (1775-76).
Murray, Judith Sargent. "On the Equality of the Sexes" (1790).
Wheatley, Phillis. "On Being Brought from Africa to America," "To His Excellency General Washington," "To S. M., A Young African Painter, on Seeing His Works," "To the University of Cambridge, in New England," "To the Right Honourable William, Earl of Dartmouth" (1772-76).
Inchbald, ElizabethSuch Things Are (1788); or Lover's Vows (1798).
Baillie, Joanna. De Montfort (1800).
*Barbauld, Anna Laetitia. "The Mouse's Petition," "A Summer Evening's Meditation," "Washing-Day," "The Rights of Woman," "To a Little Invisible Being who is Expected Soon to become Visible" (1773-1825).
*Barbauld, Anna Laetitia.Eighteen Hundred and Eleven (1812).
Radcliffe, Ann. A Sicilian Romance (1790) or The Italian (1797).
Hays, MaryEmma Courtney (1796) or The Victim of Prejudice (1799).
*Hemans, Felicia. "Casabianca," "Indian Woman's Death-Song," "The Homes of England," "The Graves of a Household," "The Image in Lava," "Properzia Rossi" (1826-28).
*Landon, Laetitia Elizabeth. "Home," "Love's Last Lesson," "Revenge," "Lines of Life," "Felicia Hemans," "The Improvisatrice" (1824-1839).
*Robinson, Mary. "January, 1795," "The Haunted Beach," "The Camp," "A London Summer Morning" (1795-1804).
*Wordsworth, Dorothy. "Address to a Child during a Boisterous Winter Evening" (pub. 1815), "Floating Island" (pub. 1842).
*Wollstonecraft, MaryA Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792).
Wordsworth, DorothyJournals (Alfoxden journal (1798), Grasmere journal (1800-03), pub. 1941).
*Austen, JaneEmma (1816).
*Shelley, MaryFrankenstein (1818), and Mathilda (1819, published 1959).

Nineteenth Century and Victorian

*Prince, MaryThe History of Mary Prince, A West Indian Slave (1831).
Fuller, Margaret. Woman in the Nineteenth Century (1845).
*Bronte, Charlotte. Jane Eyre (1847).
*Bronte, EmilyWuthering Heights (1847).
*Moodie, Susanna. Roughing It in the Bush (1852).
*Gaskell, ElizabethCranford (1853) or Ruth (1853).
*Stowe, Harriet Beecher. Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852-3).
Spence, Catherine HelenClara Morison: A Tale of South Australia During the Gold Fever (1854).
*Barrett Browning, ElizabethAurora Leigh (1857).
Jacobs, Harriet. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (1861).
*Eliot, GeorgeAdam Bede (1859) or The Mill on the Floss (1860) or Middlemarch (1871-72).
*Dickinson, Emily. "I never lost as much but twice" (1858), "I taste a liquor never brewed" 1860, "Success is counted sweetest" (1859), "Safe in their Alabaster Chambers" (1859), "Some keep the Sabbath going to" (1860), "I'm Nobody! Who are you?" (1861), "Wild Nights - Wild Nights!" (1861), "There's a certain Slant of light" (1861), "I like a look of Agony" (1861), "After great pain, a formal feeling" (1862), "The Soul selects her own Society" (1862), "This World is not conclusion" (1862), "I died for Beauty - but was scarce" (1862), "I dwell in Possibility" (1862), "Because I could not stop for Death" (1863), "I heard a Fly buzz - when I died" (1862), "The Brain - is wider than the Sky" (1862), "Much Madness is divinest Sense" (1862), "I've seen a Dying Eye" (1862), "Tell all the Truth but tell it slant" (1868), "My Life had stood - a Loaded Gun" (1863), "I'm wife-I've finished that" (1860), "I felt a Funeral in my Brain" (1861), "She rose to his Requirement" (1863).
Martineau, Harriet. "Female Industry" (1859). (In Criminals, Idiots, Women, and Minors: Victorian Writing on Women by Women, ed. by Susan Hamilton. Broadview Press, 1995.)
Oliphant, MargaretSalem Chapel (1863) or The Perpetual Curate (1864).
Cobbe, Frances Power. "Celibacy vs. Marriage" (1862), "What Shall We Do With Our Old Maids?" (1862), "Criminals, Idiots, Women and Minors" (1868). (In Criminals, Idiots, Women, and Minors: Victorian Writing on Women by Women, ed. by Susan Hamilton. Broadview Press, 1995.)
Schreiner, OliveThe Story of an African Farm (1883).
Grand, Sarah. The Beth Book (1897) or The Heavenly Twins (1893).
*Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. "The Yellow Wallpaper" (1892).
*Chopin, Kate. The Awakening (1899). Webster, Augusta. "Circe" (1870), "A Castaway" (1870), "Mother and Daughter Sonnets" (1895).
Levy, Amy. "To a Dead Poet" (1884), "A Minor Poet" (1884), "To Vernon Lee" (1889).
Meynell, Alice. "A Poet's Fancies" (1893), "In Manchester Square" (1913), "Maternity" (1913).
Field, Michael (pen-name of Katherine Bradley and Edith Cooper). "Noon" (1893), "Cyclamens" (1893), "An Aeolian Harp" (1893).
*Rossetti, Christina. "Goblin Market" (1862), "Monna Innominata" (1881).

Early Twentieth Century / Modernism

Franklin, MilesMy Brilliant Career (1901).
Wharton, EdithThe House of Mirth (1905).
*Robins, ElizabethVotes for Women (1907).
Johnson, Emily Pauline (Tekahionwake). Flint and Feather (1912).
*Stein, Gertrude. Three Lives (1909).
Glaspell, Susan. Trifles (1916).
*Woolf, Virginia. Mrs. Dalloway (1925) or To the Lighthouse (1927).
*Woolf, VirginiaA Room of One's Own (1929) and "Modern Fiction" (1925).
West, Rebecca. The Return of the Soldier (1918) or The Judge (1922).
Sinclair, May. Mary Olivier: A Life (1919).
*Mansfield, Katherine. "Bliss" (1920) and "The Garden Party" (1922).
*Doolittle, Hilda. "Sea Rose" (1916), "Garden" (1916), "Oread" (1924), "Helen" (1924), Her (1923).
*Sitwell, Edith. "Aubade" (1923), and from Façade (1922): "Ass-Face," "The Bat," Fox Trot" "Sir Beelzebub."
*Mew, Charlotte. "Fame" (1916), "On the Road to the Sea" (1921), "Monsieur qui Passe" (1929).
Ostenso, Martha. Wild Geese (1925).
*Barnes, Djuna. Nightwood (1936).
Hurston, Zora NealeTheir Eyes Were Watching God (1937).

Contemporary: Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries

*Brooks, GwendolynAnnie Allen (1949).
O'Connor, Flannery. A Good Man is Hard to Find (1955).
Paley, Grace. The Little Disturbances of Man: Stories of Men and Women at Love (1959).
*Lessing, Doris. The Golden Notebook (1962).
*Laurence, Margaret. The Stone Angel (1964) or The Diviners (1974).
*Plath, Sylvia. Ariel (1965).
*Rhys, Jean. Wide Sargasso Sea (1966).
Smith, Stevie. "Not Waving but Drowning" (1957), "Pretty" (1966).
Sexton, Anne. Live or Die (1966).
Walker, MargaretJubilee (1966).
Angelou, Maya. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969).
Aidoo, Ama AtaNo Sweetness Here (1970) or Anowa (1965).
*Atwood, Margaret. Power Politics (1971) or The Edible Woman (1969) or The Handmaid's Tale (1985).
*Munro, AliceLives of Girls and Women (1971).
Rich, Adrienne. Diving into the Wreck (1973).
Campbell, MariaHalfbreed (1973).
Levertov, Denise. The Freeing of the Dust (1975).
*shange, ntozake. For Coloured Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf (1975).
Hong Kingston, MaxineThe Woman Warrior (1976).
Livesay, Dorothy. The Woman I Am (1978).
Churchill, CarylCloud Nine (1979) or Top Girls (1982).
*Gordimer, Nadine. Burger's Daughter (1979) or July's People (1981).
*Pollock, Sharon. Blood Relations (1980).
Kogawa, JoyObasan (1981).
El Saadawi, Nawal. Memoirs from the Women's Prison (1981).
Erdrich, LouiseLove Medicine (1984) or Tracks (1988).
*Lorde, Audre. The Cancer Journals (1980) or Sister Outsider (1984).
Frame, JanetAn Autobiography (Includes To the Is-land (1982), An Angel at my Table (1984), The Envoy from Mirror City (1984)).
Winterson, Jeannette. Oranges are not the Only Fruit (1985).
*Morrison, Toni. Beloved (1987).
Grenville, Kate. Joan Makes History (1988).
Roy, ArundhatiThe God of Small Things (1997).
Sears, DjanetHarlem Duet (1997).
Smith, ZadieWhite Teeth (2000).
Satrapi, MarjanePersepolis (2007).