Must Read Female Authors

I would venture to guess that Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman.

Virginia Woolf

In the vast spectrum of literature, women have bestowed eminently, despite earlier, being often left out of the said spectrum and forced to put on a veil of anonymity and nom de plumes.

Female authors have time and again braved all odds and given us some of the most cherished literary jewels of all time.

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Today as female authors write and thrive we look at 5 of the some of the must read female authors of all time.

1. Jane Austen (1775-1817)

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One of the most cherished authors of all time, Jane Austen was born December 16, 1775 at Steventon, Hampshire, England and published 4 novels during her lifetime, some of her other works were later published posthumously.

Pride and Prejudice is notably regarded as her best novel. Her other novels including Mansfield park, Sense and Sensibility, Emma, The Northanger Abbey and Persuasion are also extremely popular.

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Austen’s novels are seen as a close representation of her own self, though not married Austen’s novels highlighted the themes of marriage, love , courting and the life of women with enticing wit.

she passed away at the age of 41 on July 18, 1817 and was buried in Winchester Cathedral. She left a legacy of great literature behind.

“The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.”

 Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

2. Mary Shelly (1797-1851)

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English novelist Mary Wollstonecraft Shelly was born August 30, 1797, in London, England and is best known for her horror novel “Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus.” Married to poet Percy Bysshe Shelly, she was regarded as the mother of science fiction.

The main themes she highlighted in Frankenstein included nature, man’s quest for power and other intense emotions.

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She wrote several other books, including Valperga (1823), The Last Man (1826), the autobiographical Lodore (1835) and the posthumously published Mathilde

Shelley died of brain cancer on February 1, 1851, at age 53, in London, England. She was buried at St. Peter’s Church in Bournemouth.

“The very winds whispered in soothing accents, and maternal Nature bade me weep no more.”

Mary Shelly

3. Charlotte Bronte(1816-1855)

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Charlotte Brontë was an English 19th-century novelist born on April 21, 1816, in Thornton, Yorkshire, England. Brontë published her first novel, Jane Eyre, in 1847 under the manly alias Currer Bell.  She followed it with Shirley in 1848 and then Villette in 1853.

She highlighted themes like death, religion, grief, search for meaning and a sense of belonging.

She died during her pregnancy, on March 31, 1855, in Yorkshire, England. 

“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.”

Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre

4. Emily Bronte (1818-1848)

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Emily Brontë famous author of the novel ‘Wuthering Heights’ was born on July 30, 1818, in Thornton, Yorkshire, England and was the sister of Charlotte and Anne Brontë.

 Publishing under the alias Ellis Bell, Brontë published her defining work, Wuthering Heights, in December 1847.

Wuthering heights was weaved around the themes of family, revenge, betrayal, society and class and had a supernatural tinge to it as well.

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She died of tuberculosis on December 19, 1848.

“If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger.”

Emily Jane Brontë Wuthering Heights

5. Virginia Woolf (1882-1941)

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English author Virginia Woolf was born in an influential English household on January 25, 1882.

She wrote feminist centred classics like ‘Mrs. Dalloway’, ‘To the Lighthouse,’ as well as , ‘A Room of One’s Own’ and ‘Three Guineas’.

Her works explored the themes of flawed marriages, ambition, success, failure, children etc.

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She suffered from constant bouts of depression and fell prey to it on March 28, 1941 when she committed suicide by drowning herself into the River Ouse.

“As a woman I have no country. As a woman I want no country. As a woman, my country is the whole world.”

Virginia Woolf

citation: https://www.biography.com

 

AN INTERVIEW WITH NOVELIST-FILMMAKER TRISHA DAS

Trisha Das, a filmmaker and bestselling author, has just published Misters Kuru: A Return to Mahabharata (HarperCollins India priced Rs 350), her latest work of feminist mythological fiction.

Ms Draupadi Kuru: A Novel is a sequel to her book. After the Pandavas, the racy, sassy roller-coaster ride full of action, adventure, romance, and comedy is set in modern-day Kalyug in Delhi as a kind of continuation of the Mahabharata.

Das has previously written and directed over 40 documentaries in her filmmaking career, winning an Indian National Film Award (2005) and being named the International Artist of the Year at the UGA (2003).

She discusses the significance of reimagining and rewriting myths from a female viewpoint, her early influences from Indian mythology, and the use of humour in mythology.

The Kuru novels are a kind of sequel to the Mahabharat, rather than a retelling. Thousands of years after the conclusion of the original Mahabharata, the storey of Ms Draupadi Kuru picks up in modern times. Draupadi and her companions descend from heaven to Delhi. The Pandava brothers accompany their women to Delhi in The Misters Kuru.

When asked the question “How were you motivated to write a feminist retelling of the Mahabharata in a contemporary setting?” She replied saying, “My motivation was simple- I wanted to give these characters another shot at their lives, at reshaping their destinies. So many of them were forced into living lives they didn’t want to- being stripped of their kingdom, exiles, et cetera. I though it would be fun to see what kind of lives they would choose, given the choice.”

A mythological woman apparently only has power over men if she has a small waist and lotus eyes, or if she is their mother.

It’s a pain. Women are celebrated for their sacrifices or their appearance rather than their accomplishments. Any form of resistance to being punished or attempt at self-determination is severely punished, and women are constantly punished for their menfolk’s dumb decisions. Ask any attractive woman wanting to take a bath in the woods. Consent is practically non-existent.

She said once, “My maternal grandfather started my fascination with mythology as a young child. He was religious, but in an inclusive way, and he told the best stories from both the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. I read various versions and interpretations of the Mahabharata growing up and, as an adult, delved into the Ganguli and Debroy translations, alternate versions like Bheel Mahabharata and mythological fiction. I used to watch the TV series every Sunday on Doordarshan and point out mistakes, which everyone in my house found thoroughly annoying.”

Feminism is a relatively new phenomenon, but female dominance has always existed in some form or another. Even when the official narrative did not endorse it, women have always been strong. They worked in the shadows or exercised influence by dressing up as men, being saints, or a thousand other ways to get around the machine. Feminists are now working to shift the narrative and modify- same result, different approach.

Feminism

What is feminism?
Who are called as a feminist?
What does a feminist do?
Why feminism arrived?

Before saying about feminism let me clear one thing feminism is not only about women getting equal rights and opportunities rather feminism is a belief that every individual should be given equal rights, powers and opportunities. If you stand for equality then you are a feminist. Basically feminist are those individuals who takes care no one is treated unfairly.

Feminism started in the 19th and early 20th centuries addressing issues of women’s suffrage (the right of women to vote in elections). The second-wave feminism started in 1960s broadened debate to include cultural inequalities, gender norms, and the role of women in society.

During the 17th and 18th centuries in Europe many Enlightenment philosophers defended the rights of women, including Jeremy Bentham (1781), Marquis de Condorcet (1790), and Mary Wollstonecraft (1792). Other important writers of the time also expressed the views of the feminist.

Unlike the Western feminist movement, India’s movement was initiated by men, and later joined by women. The first phase of feminism in India was initiated by men to uproot the social evils of sati (widow immolation), to allow widow remarriage, to forbid child marriage, and to reduce illiteracy, as well as to regulate the age of consent and to ensure property rights through legal intervention.

But feminism as an initiative by women started independently a little later in Maharashtra by pioneering advocates of women’s rights and education: Savitribai Phule, who started the first school for girls in India (1848).

 Tarabai Shinde, who wrote India’s first feminist text Stri Purush Tulana (A Comparison Between Women and Men) in 1882; and Pandita Ramabai, who criticized patriarchy and caste-system in Hinduism, married outside her caste and converted to Christianity (1880s).

The Bengali reformers included abolishing sati, which was a widow’s death by burning on her husband’s funeral pyre, abolishing the custom of child marriage, abolishing the disfiguring of widows, introducing the marriage of upper caste Hindu widows, promoting women’s education, obtaining legal rights for women to own property, and requiring the law to acknowledge women’s status by granting them basic rights in matters such as adoption.

The second phase started when Mahatma Gandhi expanded Indian women’s public activities by initiating them into the non-violent civil disobedience movement against the British. Many women organisations formed. Women-only organisations like All India Women’s Conference (AIWC) and the National Federation of Indian Women (NFIW) emerged. Women started looking for their scope in leadership roles in political parties, women’s franchise and communal awards. In 1954 the Indian Communist Party formed its own women’s wing known as the National Federation of Indian Women.

By the 19th century and 20th century more women issues came to spotlight. More amount of women became active and started protesting for their rights. Feminists in the 1970s challenged the inequalities that had been established and fought to reverse them. These inequalities included the unequal wages for women. The aim was to abolish the free service of women.

Struggle of feminist are still going on. Many women are still fighting for their freedom. We need to change this view that women don’t need permission they have their voice and they can make their own choice.

Let’s find out about some Indian feminists and their contributions. They are :

  • Savitribai Phule  She is one of the earliest Indian feminists. She started the first school for girls in India in the year 1848.
  • Tarabai Shinde – The writer of India’s first feminist text Stri Purush Tulana (A Comparison Between Women and Men) in 1882.
  • Kamini Roy She is a poet and suffragette. She became the first woman Honors Graduate in India in 1886.
  • Saroj Nalini Dutt – She is the early social reformer who pioneered the formation of educational Women’s Institutes in Bengal.
  • Mira Datta Gupta – Activist for women’s issues and one of the founding members of the All India Women’s Conference.
  • Sarala Devi Chaudhurani – Founder of the Bharat Stree Mahamandal, one of the first women’s organisations in India.

Credit Where It Is Due

Who invented the telephone? Alexander Graham Bell. Who invented the computer? Charles Babbage. Who invented the automobile? Karl Benz. Who invented the airplane? The Wright Brothers. We all were taught in school about the great inventors and scientists who created history by creating something extraordinary, but as history has appreciated some of the remarkable people it has not been so kind to the women inventors and there were times when the credit of something remarkable was passed on to a man, stealing away not only the credit but also a chance to be recognized and be remembered always. Let us take a look at such incredible women who’s inventions were credited to their male counterparts.

Rosalind Franklin- In 1958, James D. Watson and Francis H.C Crick received a Nobel prize for their groundbreaking discovery o the double Helix, which changed our point of view of the human DNA, but little do we know that it was Rosalind Franklin who actually discovered the double Helix but died 4 years prior of cancer with no recognition whatsoever.

Lise Meitner- In 1944, Otto Hann won a prize in Chemistry from the Royal Swedish Academy for his discovery of nuclear fission. This discovery would later contribute to the making of the atomic bombs. The woman that he worked in this dangerous research was Lise Meitner, who never received credit for her work.

Hedy Lamarr- Hedy Lamarr was an American-Australian actress and a fashion icon, but she was also the brilliant mind who took part in the invention of the radio guidance system- the system that enables the WiFi and Bluetooth that we use every day. What’s tragic is that while she was presenting her invention to the Navy with her partner, George Antheil, the Navy just pretended to not be interested in it and then stole it later on. Unfortunately, she received her due to recognition in her 80s.

Margaret Knight- In 1868, a woman who was working at a paper bag factory, invented the machine that sealed and folded the paper bag on its own, saving millions of dollars in the workplace. It may sound nothing but back in 1868, it was a revolutionary idea. But there was a machinist who asked to see her machine and he went and tried to patent it in his name behind her back. Fortunately, she fought him and because there were several eyewitnesses, she managed to win the case and received her credit.

The dreams we dare to dream.

If we are talking about the present scenario everybody starting from a kid in high school to a working class adult to a pop sensation all of us are suffering from a thing what we call as a conflict of conscience. So in a manner we are asked to grow up when it’s required and at the same time we are also told not to talk while the so called adults are speaking. Therefore we all are in the same page of mental tussle and dilemma that what is right and what is wrong and what does the future beholds for us.

Well if you ask me we all inherit that so called thing called conscience which helps us to differentiate in things and acts which we call humane or inhumane,kind or cruel. If you are still wondering what am I talking about let’s talk about things like a boy can’t wear makeup or a girl should not wear shorts bikinis. Well why is that? Why is it always about you can’t do this you can’t do that what will the people think if you do something like that well what someone else is thinking of me it should not be my problem. As we should always live our lives in a manner that we can embrace everything we are and we can be. As that wise being said love yourself and your decisions and if because of some circumstances things doesn’t work out the way you planned rise up fight again as at least in that way you took your own decision that means that failure won’t be turned into an excuse and that is what makes life a precious thing to behold and beguile. To be frank this society needs some serious reformation as people thinking that a woman can’t do this because they are physical lesser capable or comments like someone is not man enough because of their orientation or developments at the cost of millions of trees who are the only beings keeping us alive from the extinction which is already in effect is not justified.

People will always say stuff like that your dreams are unrealistic,grow up,drinking is a sin, making love is bad and really weird stuff like that but at the end of the day the most important question which we all should ask is what do we want?As that’s all that matters. To do something you love to do is what enlightens our soul. Fight for your dreams and the cause you believe in and live your life in away that you won’t have any regrets and you love each second of your life. As after a storm there comes a light a light of hope justice and Love. Surround yourself with people who actually care for you because there will be a few for sure but don’t dabble with fake ones who are just their to pull you down. As it doesn’t matter if you are associated with one person or a hundred, as long as that one person really cares for you there is nothing to regret .

As at the end you will not need immortality and at that time one life will be enough to touch the stars and to make miracles as we pass to the great unknown together with people with whom we shared this place called home.