Barnes and Noble has been giving away 12 free classic ebooks each week throughout the summer. This week’s theme is Women Who Inspired Us. When I saw the theme I got excited. You’d think that Women Who Inspired Us = female authors and “inspiring” female protagonists, right?
Um, no. 7 of the 12 books are written by men, and 2 of the remaining 5 books by women are by Virginia Woolf (which is great and all, but it would’ve been nice for them to spread the love with another female author).
But what really gets my goat is that they included Daisy Miller/Washington Square by Henry James. I mean, really. Daisy Miller? Daisy Miller, who gets killed off by disease for being a “flirt?” And this is inspiring how?! Ugh.
I know classic lit leaves much to be desired in the female department–as it was completely dominated by the dead white men who now comprise The Literary Canon–but it’s not so devoid of women that one can’t come up with 12 inspiring authors and/or protagonists:
- The Narrative of Sojourner Truth
- The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson
- The Life of Charlotte Bronte by Elizabeth Gaskell
- Hmm, didn’t the other two Bronte sisters also write stuff?
- And speaking of Gaskell…hey, she wrote fiction too!
- Little Women
- Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
- The Secret Garden
- Pretty much anything by Jane Austen
- Some George Eliot, perhaps?
- American Indian Stories
- A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains
Plus, of course, the Virginia Woolf, Willa Cather, Charlotte Bronte, and Edith Wharton books on the original list.
There you go, Barnes and Noble. Fixed that for you. A quick browse through your classic ebooks will get you a list of at least 15 inspiring women, no men (or author repeats) required.