Orlando: Women's Writing
Title of Contents

Writers with Entries

New: January 2012

New Author Entries

  • Lady Lucy Herbert, 1668 or 1669 - 1744, Roman Catholic prioress and devotional writer, sister of Lady Nithsdale following.
  • Winifred Maxwell, Countess of Nithsdale, 1672-1749, letter-writer, remembered for her account of her daring rescue of her condemned Jacobite husband from the Tower of London, sister of Lady Lucy Herbert above.
  • Ellis Cornelia Knight, 1757-1837, novelist, poet, diarist and autobiographer, remembered for her sequel to Samuel Johnson's Rasselas and her equally unusual historical novel set during the Roman Empire.
  • Selina Davenport, 1779-1859, novelist who wrote (after ending an unhappy marriage) to secure a bare subsistence for herself and her daughters. Her novels have great energy and preposterous plots. Her ex-husband tried to prevent the Royal Literary Fund from helping her.
  • Isabella Neil Harwood, 1837-88, novelist and playwright whose life is obscure. Her sensation novels (dealing in inheritance, mistaken identity and so on) and her plays (many of them in verse and based on pre-existing literary or historical material, written more for the library than the theatre) were both highly praised in their day.
  • Charlotte O'Conor Eccles, 1863-1911, Irish journalist, social reformer, fiction-writer, remembered for her outspoken account of the obstacles faced by a woman attempting to gain a foothold as a London journalist.
  • Naomi Jacob, 1884-1964, popular dramatist, novelist, and memoirist, lesbian and cross-dresser. Her life, an odd mixture of the flamboyant and the hidden, is of more compelling interest than her writings, which are fluent, sentimental, lacking in depth - and still being reprinted. Her saga of a Jewish business family is the best known.
  • Evelyn Waugh, 1903-66, novelist and stylist whose mordant satire was daring in the 1920s and in his war novels, often reactionary and querulous in later life. His political values have made it easy to underestimate his art. His fictionalizing of his own bout of temporary dementia is both unusual and courageous.
  • Mary Stewart, born 1916, popular writer of romantic suspense novels whose English protagonists typically have to deal with crime and deception in foreign holiday spots. Natural description is important in these books. Her five historical Arthurian novels are darker and more violent.
  • Zadie Smith, born 1975, who attained international fame with her first novel, White Teeth, 2000. Her ambitious fictions, both long and short, are highly literary, yet steeped in the multiracial, multicultural, urban street culture of their times.