Rating: 5 stars
Category: Literary fiction, retellings
Synopsis: “Great Achilles. Brilliant Achilles, shining Achilles, godlike Achilles… How the epithets pile up. We never called him any of those things; we called him ‘the butcher'”
The bards sing of Achilles, hero of the Trojan war, but never the slave who shared his bed, Briseis. Taken from her fallen city, Lyrnessus, she is brought to the Greek camp besieging Troy and given as a prize to Achilles. No woman is better placed to strip bare the true inglorious agonies of war, both on and off the battlefield. Continue reading The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker: Devastating Feminist Retelling of the Trojan War
Rating: 3.5 stars
Category: Short stories, literary fiction
Synopsis: Christopher Isherwood, an English tutor and novelist, is rootless. Yet it is this quality of rootlessness that allows him to seamlessly drift between the high and low of Berlin society, from decadent lakeside houses to cramped attic rooms shared by entire families.
Goodbye to Berlin is a semi-autobiographical collection of episodes that portray life in 1930s Berlin. Poverty, suffering and the rise of Nazism is beginning to give a threatening edge to all of the rich possibilities of the city. Continue reading Goodbye to Berlin by Christopher Isherwood: Rich Yet Unsettling Portrayal of 1930s Berlin
Rating: 5 stars
Category: Literary fiction, Dystopian
Synopsis: Lydia is one of the most feared Aunts in Gilead – but she’s about to go rogue with a secret manuscript.
Agnes and Daisy are both navigating the trials of coming-of-age – but with one raised inside and one outside Gilead, they might as well come from different planets.
These three unlikely women will be brought together to unite against the powerful Gileadean theocracy – challenging every single one of their assumptions about reality in the process. Continue reading The Testaments by Margaret Atwood: Searingly Plausible Dystopian
Questioning the Canon: T.S. Eliot and Adrienne Rich
Questioning the Canon is a new feature in which I hope to bring to light lesser-known books about a certain issue, which can be read alongside or instead of infamous ‘classics’. Today, I will be comparing the poetry of T.S. Eliot and Adrienne Rich… Continue reading Questioning the Canon: T.S. Eliot and Adrienne Rich
Rating: 5 stars
Category: Literary fiction
Synopsis: In Girl, Woman, Other, Bernardine Evaristo intertwines twelve lives – mostly black, British women. Their voices range from Hattie, an ancient mixed-race grandma struggling to keep her family farm and her pride along with it, to Amma, a black lesbian playwright whose radical work is showing at the National Theatre for the first time.
Through this lively spectrum of characters, Evaristo explores the nuances of identity, connection, and what it means to be proud of who you are. Continue reading Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo: Because One Voice is Never Enough
Rating: 3 stars
When John Durbeyfield learns that he is descended from a grand ancient lineage known as the d’Urbervilles, he sends his daughter Tess to their nearest relations in the hope of claiming kin and improving his family’s prospects. As the family sinks ever-further into poverty, she is only too aware of the keen urgency of her mission.
However, Tess knows nothing of the world outside her village, or the attention she draws by nature of her youth and beauty. Her experiences at the d’Urberville house will leave her torn between preserving secrecy – and her reputation – or risking honesty with the people she loves most. Continue reading Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy: Classic Pastoral Tale with a Hint of Proto-Feminism
Did you know that it’s World Poetry Day on 21st March? To get you in the mood, I thought I would retrieve the words of some talented yet oft-overlooked 1930s poets from the Miscellany Pages archives… Continue reading Archive Nostalgia: Top 10 Powerful Quotes from 1930s Poetry
External link to 20 Empowering Quotes from Female Authors to Start Your 2020
Questioning the Canon is a new feature in which I hope to bring to light lesser-known books about a certain issue, which can be read alongside or instead of infamous ‘classics’.
People are starting to discuss whether the authors we hold up as cultural icons – Shakespeare, Dickens, Wordsworth – should be accompanied by previously marginalised writers. Our idea of what constitutes ‘great literature’ is becoming broader.
This can only be a good thing, as it means more diversity and social representation in what we read! Continue reading Questioning the Canon: William Shakespeare and Thomas Middleton
The whirlwind of New Year’s resolutions and endless articles about losing weight, saving money, eating better, finding love etc. can make you feel defeated before you’ve even begun. To put you in a better mindset, who better to turn to than some of the most inspiring female authors?
From Alcott to Atwood, their words of wisdom are sure to make you feel empowered for 2020… Continue reading 20 Empowering Quotes from Female Authors to Start Your 2020
As part of my English Literature degree, I am making a digital project that explores the relationship between literature and digital culture. My project is Resilient Verse, a website dedicated to audio recordings of women’s poetry. Why not take a look? Continue reading Resilient Verse: Women’s Poetry Recordings