‘A smart, funny and highly readable journey through the lives of women writers and the challenges they and their works face. It’s an informative, enthusiastic and rightly enraging tour de force.’
Eve Bites Back
An Alternative History of English LiteratureAnna Beer
Warned not to write – and certainly not to bite – these women put pen to paper anyway and wrote themselves into history.
From the fourteenth century through to the present day, women who write have been understood as mad, undisciplined or dangerous. Female writers have always had to find ways to overcome or challenge these beliefs. Some were cautious and discreet, some didn’t give a damn, but all lived complex, eventful and often controversial lives.
Eve Bites Back places the female contemporaries of Chaucer, Shakespeare and Milton centre stage in the history of literature in English, uncovering stories of dangerous liaisons and daring adventures. From Julian of Norwich, Margery Kempe, Aemilia Lanyer and Anne Bradstreet, to Aphra Behn, Mary Wortley Montagu, Jane Austen and Mary Elizabeth Braddon, these are the women who dared to write.
‘A totally absorbing and enlightening tour through the work of eight significant women authors – with one of the funniest introductory chapters ever.’
‘Startling stories and facts on every page. Written with a clear and authoritative voice, this is both a very entertaining and very important book about the many obstacles that women have overcome to be writers, and the long struggles even the most gifted and well-connected women authors have encountered in order to be taken seriously.’
Anna Beer is one of those very rare writers who are able to combine rigorous research with a gripping and thoroughly accessible style. This is an ambitious, authoritative, feisty book and a worthy successor to her inspirational Sounds and Sweet Airs: the Forgotten Women of Classical Music.