What is it like being a woman – in society, in the home and as a person in one’s own right? Originally published in 1967, here is a collection of passages, all linked by their theme, that of being a woman. They are taken from novels, essays, letters and diaries written by or about women concerning their psychology and position in society from the later eighteenth century onwards. In these days of emancipation and assumed equality (in some countries at any rate) it is as well to remember the very recent past and to look forward to the future, for all girls will have, certain problems to face just because they are girls. It is best to be prepared.
The anthology was chosen and organised for girls who were taking English, either for General Studies or in preparation for University. The extracts cover a wide range of styles and periods, and were selected both as representative of their time and as good examples of prose. Love, sex, marriage, motherhood and the wider role of women in society are among the topics covered, and there is an ample list of suggestions for further readings, biographical notes on the writers and suggested questions for discussions or essay-writing.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgments. Introduction. 1. Young Girls: from The House by Elizabeth Bowen 2. Different Girls: from The Waves by Virginia Woolf 3. Being a Girl: from Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter by Simone de Beauvoir 4. Growing Up I: from The Member of the Wedding by Carson McCullers 5. Growing Up II: from The Rainbow by D.H. Lawrence 6. Wanting a Chance in Life: from The Story of an African Farm by Olive Schreiner 7. Wanting Something More: from Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë 8. A Young Girl’s Aspirations: from Journals by Marie Bashkirtseff 9. Being Non-Educated: from Letters by Mary Kingsley 10. Weak Woman: from A Vindication of the Rights of Women by Mary Wollstonecraft 11. Being in Love I: from Emma by Jane Austen 12. Planning for the Future: from Middlemarch by George Eliot 13. Being a Governess: from Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë 14. Being Engaged: from The Egoist by George Meredith 15. Marriage for the Wrong Reasons – Or to the Wrong Man: from Portrait of a Lady by Henry James 16. Love and Commonsense: from Letters by Jane Austen 17. Advising a Daughter on Life: from Letters by Queen Victoria 18. Being Married: from At the Bay by Katherine Mansfield 19. Being Married – and a Little Older: from To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf 20. Being a Bluestocking Married to a Genius: from Letters by Jane Welsh Carlyle 21. Wanting a Life of One’s Own: from All Passion Spent by Victoria Sackville-West 22. Escaping Temporarily: from A View of the Harbour by Elizabeth Taylor 23. How Life Passes: from Tenterhooks by Ada Leverson 24. Coming Up for Air: from Dangerous Ages by Rose Macauly 25. Bird in a Cage: from A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen 26. Being an Outsider: from The Holiday by Stevie Smith 27. Being Dissatisfied with the Love of Man: from The Echoing Grove by Rosamond Lehmann 28. Being a Sensitive Soul: from Howard’s End by E.M. Forster 29. Loving: from The Woodlanders by Thomas Hardy 30. Being in Love II: from Letters to Imlay by Mary Wollstonecraft 31. Man’s Ideal Wife – and Later: from Middlemarch by George Eliot 32. Man’s Ideal of Woman: from An Ideal Husband by Oscar Wilde 33. Woman Playing up to Her Role: from An Ideal Husband by Oscar Wilde 34. The Shavian Ideal of Woman and Man: from Man and Superman by George Bernard Shaw 35. Being a ‘Free’ Woman: from My Life by Isadora Duncan 36. Bringing up Baby: from A Proper Marriage by Doris Lessing 37. A Man Infatuated – and Out of Love: from Liber Amoris by William Hazlitt 38. Being a Mother: from Look the Other Way by John Branfield 39. A Man in Two Minds: from Nightmare Abbey by Thomas Love Peacock 40. If Shakespeare had Been a Woman: from A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf 41. Being a Political Woman: from The New Machiavelli by H.G. Wells 42. Women and Fiction: from Granite and Rainbow by Virginia Woolf 43. Woman in Present Society: from ‘The Guardian’ by Mary Stott. Suggestions for Oral Discussion or Written Work. Suggestions for Further Reading.
June Wedgwood Benn