Saturday, December 15, 2007

Nineteenth Century Women Writers Challenge

Edited to add: The first round-up post can be found here. For the winter/spring reading of January through March, visit this post to leave your reviews OR leave your mini-review in the comments section if you don't have a blog of your own.

Okay, okay. I shouldn't really be thinking about hosting another challenge. But sometimes I just can't resist. This one will focus on--you guessed it--Women Writers who were writing in the nineteenth century. 1800-1899. (Or if you prefer 1801-1900). Any nationality. Any genre. British. American. Canadian. Etc. Poetry. Nonfiction. (Yes, essays count.) Fiction--whether short stories or novels. The author qualifies as long as they were female and writing at some time in those hundred years. (Note: If it was written during this time, but not published until after the author's death, it still counts for this challenge. If it was written before this time period (for example, 1700-1800) but first published within this time period (1800-1900), then I say it still counts. However, if the author was merely born in this time period but didn't write or publish anything until the next century, I say it doesn't count. And I'm willing to look the other way if you've got a book that you've been wanting to read that let's say was published in 1798 or 1902. But that's about as far as I'll go--two years in either direction.)

To sign up simply leave a comment.

You can find a long list of examples at A Celebration of Women Writers. There are also website specializing in particular periods (Victorian, for example) or specializing in nationality (British, for example). Or specializing in a particular author or family of authors (Bronte sisters, for example). I also know there is a great site that documents the American South. Fiction. Nonfiction. Both sides.

Other sites you might find helpful:

About site on Women Writers 1801-1900
African American Women Writers of the 19th Century
Domestic Goddesses: AKA Scribbling Women
A Celebration of Women Writers

The challenge will last all of 2008. But don't feel the need to stretch your reading out for all twelve months. Read what you want, when you want. How many books am I asking? I'd strongly suggest six books. But if you can only squeeze in four, I'll allow it. 6 Books, 12 Months. Overlaps with other challenges encouraged. (For example, 2 of your 6 can be titles you're reading for the Jane-Austen Mini-Challenge I'm hosting.)

Examples: Louisa May Alcott, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, George Eliot, Emily Dickinson, Jane Austen, all of the Bronte sisters, Elizabeth Gaskell, Kate Chopin, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, etc. I'm sure I'm missing some biggies...but that's what I can think of off the top of my head.

What about poetry? What about short stories? If you choose a poet, then please review at least several poems or a whole collection of poems to review. If there is only one poem by that author that is available, then you may count it. (But try not to let this challenge just be reviewing six individual poems.) Short stories? Again, if there is a collection of short stories available by a particular author, review at least several of them and have them count as one.

What about biographies? If you want to read a biography of an author of this time period, then that works for me. Try to keep it balanced. If you go that route, maybe keep it three biographies and three actual works (novels, poetry collections, short story collections, autobiographies, essays, travel journals, letters, diaries etc.) by a qualifying author.

Becky's List (Of The Moment...You know how often I change my mind...)

At least 2 books by Jane Austen
At least 2 books by one or more Brontes
The Awakening and Other Stories by Kate Chopin
1 book by George Eliot (Middlemarch? Mill on the Floss? Something else...???)
Perhaps a poetry collection of Emily Dickinson???


Anonymous,  7:09 PM  

I'm's my list:

Agnes Gray by Anne Bronte
Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Little Men by Louisa May Alcott
The Story of An African Farm by Olive Schreiner
Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell

- Lena

Sharon 8:02 PM  

This is great! Here's my list:

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Emma by Jane Austen
Elizabeth and Her German Garden by Elizabeth von Arnim
Middlemarch by George Eliot
Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell
Little Men by Louisa May Alcott


Kitty 8:17 PM  

Great idea for a challenge Becky. I'm definately in!

My List:
Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell
Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell
A Long Fatal Love Chase by Louisa May Alcott
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Susan L

samantha.1020 10:28 PM  

I want to join too..this should be fun!

I'm going to read:
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Pride and Prejudice and Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Middlemarch by George Elliot

Dinky Wingy 7:37 AM  

Thanks for this great challenge.

My list is :

Louisa May Alcott
*Little women
Jane Austen
*Pride and prejudice
George Eliot
*Adam Bede
George Sand
*Elle Et Lui
*L'Histoire De Ma Vie

Shannansbooks 7:27 PM  

I want to join this one I will post my list closer to the challenge.
Probably something from the Brontes and Eliot or Austen.

Chrisbookarama 7:53 AM  

This is up my alley. I don't have a list yet but Gaskell, Austen and Shelley will probably be on it.

Chrisbookarama 8:55 AM  

Hi Becky

My list is up for this and the Mini-Austen Challenge Here

Chrisbookarama 8:57 AM  

Oh and Girlebooks is a great source for 19th century women authors.

I'll shut up now.

~nsr~ 6:06 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shree 6:44 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shree 6:52 AM  

Joining in, picking 4 books, since I'm doing other challenges. Here's my list:

Wives & Daughters - Eliz. Gaskell
Half Sisters - Geraldine Jewsbury
Marriage - Susan Ferrier
Aurora Floyd - Mary Braddon

list is also at:


SFP 7:02 AM  

I'm in. My authors pool is listed here:


Anonymous,  10:02 AM  

Definitely. I'm thinking Mary Kingsley, Olive Schreiner, and as many books about New Women as I can. Plus sensation literature and poetry thrown in for good measure. I get a bit overexcited about 19th C lit...

Lizzy Siddal 3:25 PM  

I have the perfect book for this challenge - an anthology of Women's 19th Century Stories published by the Folio Society.

It contains:

The Lifted Veil - George Eliot
The Green Dwarf - Charlotte Bronte
The Grey Woman - Elizabeth Gaskell
The Fatal Marriage - Mary Elizabeth Braddon

All of the above are published as separate volumes - so that's four sorted. But there are another 8 stories to boot penned by Jane Austen, Mary Shelley, Louisa May Alcott, Kate Chopin, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Olive Schreiner, Edith Wharton and Charlotte Mew.

I, therefore, think I can count this particular anthology as 6 titles! :)

I can't wait to get started!

~nsr~ 6:00 AM  

Oh great, thanks for hosting this Becky! I promised myself that this would be the last challenge I'd join for next year. Luckily this one overlaps with my 888 challenge list. I'd read works of Brontes, Austen, Louisa May Alcott, Willa Cather and Elizabeth Gaskell. The following is my possible list!

Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte
Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen
Persuasion, Jane Austen
Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
Agnes Grey, Anne Bronte
Lucy Gayheart, Willa Cather
Mansfield Park, Jane Austen*
Cranford, Elizabeth Gaskell

Sense & Sensibility, Jane Austen
North & South, Elizabeth Gaskell

Iliana 6:55 PM  

Hi Becky - This is a great challenge so I'm joining in :)
My list is in this blog post ( I'll put up the challenge button soon.
Thanks for hosting.

The Bookworm 9:36 PM  

hi becky, you always host such ool challenges, I may join this one too.

Laura McDonald 9:21 AM  

Hi Becky--I was refered here by Chris (book-a-rama), this is a really cool idea! I'll have to get my list together for this. By the way, as Chris mentioned, I have a lot of these books available as free ebook downloads at

Juli 4:17 PM  

I'd like to join. Here is my list

Kate Chopin--The Awakening and Other Short Stories

Charlotte Bronte--Jane Eyre

Emily Bronte--Wuthering Heights

Louisa May Alcott--The Inheritance

Anonymous,  9:50 AM  

Neat Challenge! Thanks for hosting!! My list is posted here:

Anonymous,  11:16 PM  

Count me in with this one. I'm already reading Emma and Sense and Sensibility for the Jane Austen challenge. Will browse the link you provided and add my other 4 soon!

Framed 8:35 PM  

Sounds like fun. Here's a link to my list:

DJ 10:47 PM  

I'm in (and probably reading some of the most obscure authors). Current choices (subject to change) are Mary Elizabeth Brush, Mary Bamford, Amanda Douglas, Molly Seawell, Mary Crowninshield, and Laura Nichols, all children's book authors.

(Can I also mention 19th-Century Girls' Series at ?)

Lizzy Siddal 3:19 AM  

1st author (Elizabeth Gaskell) reviewed here.

So good that I need to read more by her now!

Anonymous,  2:15 PM  

Here I have some books for women that I like:)

Petunia 4:18 PM  

I just found you. This looks like fun. Here's my list:

Anonymous,  8:31 PM  

Wow your reading challenges sound wonderful. I want to join in for the Nineteenth Century Women Writers with:

Cranford by Mrs. Gaskell
Wives and Daughters by Mrs. Gaskell
Middlemarch by George Eliot
Villette by Charlotte Bronte
Persuasion by Jane Austen
Miss Marjoribanks by Mrs. Oliphant


dshep 7:04 PM  

This sounds like fun. Here's my tentative list:

Louisa May Alcott "A Modern Mephistopheles"
Jane Austin "Pride and Prejudice"
George Eliot "Silas Marner"
Emily Bronte "Wuthering Heights"

Chrisbookarama 6:54 AM  

I don't know if there was an update post, but I posted a review of my pick: Sonnets from the Portuguese.

Anonymous,  2:34 AM  

I am in. I will put up my list soon.

Is itlate to join?

Becky 9:15 AM  

It is definitely not too late to join :) I'm glad you're in!

Anonymous,  10:35 AM  

Great challenge, Becky.
I learned about it through framed. It challenges me to read books that I have mentally challenged myself to read for a long time!

My List (So Far):

The Hidden Hand, or Capitola the Madcap by Mrs. Emma D.E.D. Southworth
Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon
Wyllard's Weird by Mary Elizabeth Braddon
Behind A Mask by Louisa May Alcott
Lost Man's Lane by Anna Katherine Green


Becky 11:09 AM  

SG/Sandra, so glad you're joining! I look forward to reading your reviews. I thought about reading some Braddon myself.

Kelly 3:19 PM  

Hi Becky,

I just joined! Great challenge.

Here's my list:

At Fault, Kate Chopin 1890
Frankenstein, Mary Shelley 1818
The Gate of the Giant Scissors , Annie Fellows Johnston 1898
Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austin 1813
Northanger Abbey, Jane Austin 1798
The Leavenworth Case, Anna Katharine Green 1878

Whitney 4:05 PM  

I'd like to join. Here's my list:

Wurthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Villette by Charlotte Bronte
Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
Persuasion by Jane Austen
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

Maria 10:40 AM  

I've been in for awhile, but just forgot to comment here. My list is:
* Eight Cousins - L.M. Alcott
* Rose In Bloom - L.M. Alcott
* The Rosary - Florence L. Barclay
* Vilette - Charlotte Bronte
* Nine Unlikely Tales - E. Nesbit
* Heidi Johanna Spyri

Anonymous,  2:00 PM  

Good Job! :)

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