It’s Alive! Frankenstein at 200 at The Morgan Library & Museum

It’s with great excitement that Literary Ladies Guide is helping to spread the news of a forthcoming exhibition at The Morgan Library & Museum (NYC): It’s Alive! Frankenstein at 200, on display from October 12, 2018 to January 27, 2019. It’s hard to overstate the impact of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein on literature as well as popular culture. This exhibit celebrates the 200th anniversary of the 1818 classic, published when its author was barely twenty-one.

If you’re planning a trip to New York City this fall or early winter, we urge you to take the opportunity to see this exhibit as well as get to know The Morgan Library & Museum, a beautiful oasis in the heart of the city, located at 225 Madison Avenue. Learn more about the exhibit here, and note some of the programs and events, including films and gallery talks. Read More→

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13 Artists’ Portraits of Sylvia Plath (Including Her Own)

Sylvia Plath’s meteoric posthumous rise as a pre-eminent American poet has eclipsed the fact that she was a talented artist as well. When she initially enrolled at Smith College, her first choice of major was studio art. After discovering her talent for writing, her professors encouraged her to major in English instead.

It took a long time for her visual art to come to light. The Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery mounted a retrospective of her work in 2017, fifty-four years after her death. A few of the works were self-portraits, including the one at right, and the first one, below. She also enjoyed making collages that were playful and satiric. Read More→

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Illustrations from Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Louisa May Alcott’s best known novel, Little Women, was an “overnight success” for its author, who had put in years of effort before success seemed to “suddenly” arrive. She cranked out thrillers, gothic novels, plays, sketches, and more than eighty articles before penning the autobiographical (if highly idealized) novel that cemented her name and reputation for time immemorial. To think how reluctant she was to write this “girl’s story.” But once it was in print and making its readers happy, even she was sold on it.

Here’s a selection of illustrations by Frank T. Merrill from the 1896 edition Little Women (first published in 1868). These are but a fraction of the 200 illustrations in total. You can see this edition in its entirety on Project Gutenberg.

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Agatha Christie Postage Stamps, 1996 – 2016

You know an author has become a cultural icon when they’re depicted on a postage stamp (or set of stamps). And this is doubly true when books or characters they’ve created are honored on stamps. “Queen of Crime” Agatha Christie postage stamps are the subject of a triple-honor treatment, with her portrait gracing a number of stamps from various countries, along with her iconic characters and even her books. Let’s take a look: Read More→

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Classic Women Authors in Men’s Clothing: Expressing the Masculine

A number of classic women authors were known for their penchant for male clothing. And in pretty much all of the instances we’ll see here, it’s not merely cross-dressing for fun and comfort, but an expression of the duality of their nature. It’s no longer unusual for women to wear pants or man-tailored jackets, of course. But in the context of the time and place in which the following authors lived, it was an act of rebellion and a statement of more fluid identity.

George Sand

One of the earliest and best-known adopters of male garb, George Sand (1804 – 1876) did so for comfort and to make a statement. She loved traveling, and trousers were more practical than crinolines. Similarly, she was famed — and mocked — for her public cigar-smoking, and never went far without her hookah. Read More→

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