Readersforum's Blog

February 16, 2013

Are these the 50 most influential books by women?

HouseBy Robert McCrum

As readers pointed out, my last list was rather skewed to a male-dominated tradition. Here is an alternative perspective

Last week’s post about the 50 turning-points of English (and American) literature stirred up quite a bit of debate, raising some interesting issues. One of the big complaints about my selection was the inadequate representation of women writers. This blog has been admittedly slow to engage with the gender politics of literature, but this challenge – what about the women ? – is self-evidently a fair question.

My previous list (and it was only a list) reflected patriarchal values, and a male-dominated literary culture. That’s hard to avoid, in the light of history. But, as Kathleen Taylor and Gillian Wright have shown, there is another story, a different way of looking at our cultural bibliography.

And so, 50 years to the day since the death of Sylvia Plath, here is my alternative Anglo-American list of the 50 women writers who shaped our literary landscape – a list constructed with no conferring on my part with any other pre-existing catalogue.

Click here to read the rest of this story


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