Women That Pioneered Our Pages

3 min read

Women That Pioneered Our Pages

This International Women’s Day, we celebrated the female authors that pioneered the literary world, sharing this year's important message: Choose to Challenge. Literature has been a tool for women throughout history to both anonymously and publicly express their voice with the rest of society. As more and more women entered the literary sphere, the boundaries of femininity and gender norms are continuously challenged. In light of this years theme, here are just a few of our favourite pioneering female authors that make a great addition to any bookshelf:

Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë

The Brontë sisters entered the literary scene under male aliases. Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë (otherwise known as Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell) came from a 19th century background, where society placed women in the private sphere, and men in the public.


The sisters challenged the view on gender and finance in Victorian society as the earnings they received from their novels placed them as the family breadwinners. Today, their novels use the women’s real names but remain just as successful. Their stories favourited autonomous heroines, used as escapism for the girls - a hopeful vision of the future.

The Brontë sisters offer a modest introduction into the world of women’s literature. We recommend starting with Charlotte’s classics and reading further literature from Anne, whose novels are perhaps lesser known, but just as influential.

 

Shop the Bronte sisters

Virginia Woolf

Woolf was arguably more obvious and direct with her challenge towards the preconceived idea of a woman’s role in society. As a huge feminist icon in the 20th century, Woolf wrote books and literary criticism on gender and politics that debunked the concept of gender norms and is still discussed in literature today. The author made a name for herself as one of the first female writers to use a stream of consciousness as a narrative style. This ultimately gave her writing personality; a singular voice that was unusual for female authors, rather than another book that followed canonical styles.

Shop Virginia Woolf

Beatrix Potter

Beatrix Potter can be found on most childhood bookshelves. Her books have found a place not just in the family home, but have also been adapted into films, showcasing the scale of her success. As the case for most of our writing women however, the literary sphere was not easy for Potter to navigate. 

Having lived in a society where women were ostracised for working, she pitched her books to many publishing firms and received multiple rejections. Potter then earned the title of a pioneering woman on the literary scene by refusing to shrink to the size society expected. Instead, she challenged the male dominated literary world and self published her own work. Her courage and determination resulted in her huge success, as well as demonstrating to women across the nation the strength and opportunities that independence can give them.

 Shop Beatrix Potter

Daphne Du Maurier

Like Potter, Du Maurier’s more classic literary work has been made into a film adaptation and many of her narratives are successful plays. Whilst Du Maurier was fortunate enough to be born into a theatrical setting, the content of her writing was particularly challenging to its time.

Although speculated, the author’s sexuality and gender is often disputed. There are many readings into the sexual tones of Du Maurier’s narratives, but whether true or not, we admire the ambiguity of Du Maurier’s novels and its ability to strike imperative discussions. By delving into her novels, you will explore unique forms of passion, relationships in turmoil and a challenge to gender norms that was ahead of its time.

Through prose and poetry, women have used literature as an instrument to challenge gender inequality. Their novels provide a needed means to express themselves and are important to read as they mark significant milestones in history, shaping new novels that are published today.

Daphne du Maurier


Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in Country House Book Blog

Everything you need to know about Pelican books
Everything you need to know about Pelican books

4 min read

With their bright blue covers and striking designs, Pelican books are instantly recognizable. Covering a huge range of topics and written by leading experts, the books provide an approachable introduction to intellectual subjects.
Read More
Frankenstein: Exploring Horror's Most Tragic Tale
Frankenstein: Exploring Horror's Most Tragic Tale

3 min read

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is one of the most critically acclaimed and widely read works of classic horror fiction in all of literature. At over two centuries old, it remains as effective, haunting, and thought-provoking today as it has ever been, still in print and continuing to be adapted near countless times in a variety of formats.
Read More
7 Reasons Why We Love Vintage Books - Obviously!
7 Reasons Why We Love Vintage Books - Obviously!

4 min read

Old books or new? This simple question has long been a subject of debate between readers and bookworms around the world. In the end it all comes down to personal taste, but a strong argument can be made for why either is a more attractive choice to adorn your bookshelf with - and as a vintage bookstore, you should known where we stand on the matter already. That's why we're here to explain that old, rare, vintage, and antique books are not just deserving of a place in your literary collection, but have a right to be there.
Read More