Almost everyone has heard of, read, or watched some of the other adaptation of books written by Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice being one of her most famous books and has been adapted into many movies. She wrote books about women; all her protagonists are women, and these women are smart, witty, and well-read. Although her books may have sold over millions of copies today, she didn’t really get to enjoy her success when she was alive. She lived in an era when most communities preferred women to stay in the kitchen. Politics and other important matters or society were subjects reserved for the men and women were not much entertained.
Even when this is true, Jane is not the only female author worth reading who went against the major public opinion. Most women of her time have been forgotten, and not been included in the canon. Early modern literature is still taught like all-important work in literature has been done by men alone. Researchers at Northeastern University’s women writers project are working to retrieve works of these forgotten women. They are digitally transcribing texts written by female authors from 1500 to 1850. So far, they have 400 texts online, each proofread and augmented with additional data of the time so that it provides context ad meaning to the sections that might otherwise be difficult to understand.
Not Just Jane: Rediscovering Seven Amazing Women Writers Who Transformed British Literature, is a book written by Shelly DeWees, it is a book of seven women authors who sold thousands of copies during their time but were later forgotten. The seven authors are Charlotte Turner Smith, Sara Coleridge, Helen Maria Williams, Catherine Crowe, Mary Robinson, Dinah Mulock Craik, and Mary Elizabeth Braddon. All of these women wrote between 1760 and 1910 and were quite popular but do not get any attention today from critics or in academics.