This introduction to Susanna Centlivre (1669 – 1723), the English poet, playwright, and actress, is excerpted from Killing the Angel: Early British Transgressive Women Writers ©2021 by Francis Booth. Reprinted by permission:
Very much as Virginia Woolf wrote about Aphra Behn, the anonymous author of the introduction to Susanna Centlivre’s collected works wished that Centlivre had been buried as a national treasure in Westminster Abbey. Read More→
Elinor Wylie (September 7, 1885 – December 16, 1928) was a popular American poet and novelist in the 1920s and 1930s. She was a celebrated author in her lifetime, with a cult following in her pinnacle years. She was well known for her passionate writing, fueled by ethereal descriptors, historical references, and feminist undertones.
During her short span of eight years as a writer, Elinor published four volumes of poetry and four novels, all garnering praise.
She was also widely known for her tumultuous personal life, which often made its way into her writings. Many of her works offered insight into the difficulties of marriage and the impossible expectations that come with womanhood. Read More→
Marilyn French (November 21, 1929 – May 2, 2009) was an American author and radical feminist activist best known for her debut novel, The Women’s Room. French wrote many other controversial works, though this novel made her a major literary star in the modern feminist movement.
Born Marilyn Edwards in Brooklyn, New York, she was the daughter of third-generation Polish immigrants. Her father, E. Charles Edwards was an engineer and her mother, Isabel Hazz Edwards, was a department store clerk.
While growing up, French recalled that her mother was the dominant figure in the family’s poor household. This became an early lesson in her life to not succumb to male authority.
Kamala Das (1934 – 2009) started her career as a poet writing under the name of Madhavi Kutty. The renowned Indian author was bilingual and wrote in her mother tongue, Malayalam, as well as in English.
Born in Punnayurkulam, India as Kamala Surayya, she was better known in her home state of Kerala for her short stories and her autobiography, and in the rest of the country, for her English poetry. Her explosive autobiography, My Story, written in Malayalam (her native tongue), gained her both fame and notoriety. Later, it was translated into English. Read More→
Winifred Holtby (June 23, 1898 – September 29, 1935) was an accomplished British author, journalist, and activist. Best known for her posthumously published novel, South Riding (1936), she had published six novels in her lifetime, and fourteen books in total.
She also had a successful career in journalism and wrote the first critical study of Virginia Woolf in English. During her lifetime, her fame derived from her work for prominent newspapers and magazines, including the feminist publication Time and Tide. She wrote about democracy and social welfare, feminism and pacifism, education and responsibility, racism and injustice.
After her death, her fame grew with the publication of Testament of Friendship (1940), written by her lifelong friend, Vera Brittain. Read More→