Women Writers: Their Contribution to the English Novel, 1621-1744

Women Writers: Their Contribution to the English Novel, 1621-1744

Women Writers: Their Contribution to the English Novel, 1621-1744

Women Writers: Their Contribution to the English Novel, 1621-1744

Excerpt

If Shakespeare had had a sister endowed with literary powers, could she have won to success in that early period? What factors would have impeded her development as a writer? These questions, raised by Virginia Woolf in her penetrating essay, A Room of One's Own, seemed to me well worth answering. They were the starting-point of a long journey backwards through the years--a journey which had for its object a consideration of those forces which affected women writers during the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries; and an evaluation of these women's contribution to literature. It soon became apparent that women had mainly contributed towards the development of the novel. Their contribution and the influences which conditioned it have been traced from 1621 until 1817. The present volume represents the first half of the work. It is hoped to publish the second volume in the near future.

It might perhaps have been possible to condense these researches into a single volume, but only by omitting or shortening most of the passages quoted from the writings of these women-novelists. It seemed essential to retain the copious quotations, since they have been taken from books so rare as to be difficult of access to the interested student.

B. G. MACCARTHY.

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