Tag Archives: Virginia Woolf

A Secret Sisterhood: The Literary Friendships of Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, George Eliot, and Virginia Woolf Book Review

It’s not uncommon that women and men are still judged differently. Men have friends, have pals. They have an easy comradery. There is no backstabbing, no “frenemies”, no one clamoring to steal their friend’s spotlight or significant other. Women on the other hand, have been accusing of backstabbing, of gossiping and basically tearing their so-called “friends” apart.

The new book, A Secret Sisterhood: The Literary Friendships of Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, George Eliot, and Virginia Woolf, by Emily Midorikawa and Emma Claire Sweeney is about four legendary female writers whose friendships with other female writers helped them to succeed in the world of literature. Jane Austen palled around with Anne Sharp,  who was the governess in her wealthy brother’s house. One of Charlotte Bronte’s lifelong best friends was her schoolmate, Mary Taylor. George Eliot spoke of writing and life with fellow controversial Victorian novelist, Harriet Beecher Stowe (author of the then infamous anti-slavery novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin).  And finally, Virginia Woolf had a co-writer and friend in Katherine Mansfield.

I really enjoyed this book. I enjoyed it because not only did it remind me of the power of female friendship, it also reminded me of the power of female friendship when it comes to writing. I will warn, however, that to truly appreciate this novel, the reader needs to be aware of the life and work of the book’s subjects.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Charlotte Bronte, Feminism, George Eliot, History, Jane Austen

Virginia Woolf Writer’s Workshop: Seven Lessons to Inspire Great Writing Book Review

In the past, it was not uncommon for an apprentice to learn from a master.

Writing is no different. New writers often look to the greats of the past and present for inspiration, advice and confidence as they learn to write.

In 2008, Danell Jones published Virginia Woolf Writer’s Workshop: Seven Lessons to Inspire Great Writing. Drawing from the work and life of the late and great Virginia Woolf, Ms. Jones imagines what a modern writers workshop might be like with Virginia Woolf as the teacher.

What I enjoyed about the book was not only the realistic element of a writers workshop (I’ve attended several in the past), but the method that the author imagines that Virginia Woolf might use to teach beginning writers.

I also appreciated the prompts in the back of the book. Writing, especially when one is starting out can feel very intimidating. The though of attempting to write the next great novel, play or film is often enough to keep some people from writing all together. Sometimes all we need to begin is that spark of an idea. Like all writers, Virginia Woolf did not start out as a legendary best seller. She had to learn her craft and, as we all do from time to time, make a few mistakes along the way.

I recommend it.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Feminism, History, Writing