Of course, with a title like ‘most influential’ this list is bound to be subjective and leave out some of your favorite writers. But careful consideration, here are the female writers we have chosen to feature:
“You may forget but let me tell you this: someone in the future will think of us”– The Art Of Loving Women
Sappho was an Archaic Greek Poet, born around 630 B.C. If there’s one thing we know about 630 B.C, it’s that men dominated essentially everything. Sappho’s life is greatly unknown due to poor recordkeeping and lack of information. Her legacy lies largely in her poetry, which was often lyrical in nature. Her poetry was emotional, romantic, and elegant. Unlike others of her time, her work was often personal and lacked political motives, which has allowed her poetry to leave a lasting impact on people to this day.
“Books are the mirrors of the soul”– Between The Acts
Virginia Woolf was born in England in the late 1800s. Her work is often recognized as feminist and many are considered modernist classics. Her writings often utilized free association prose, dreamy scenes, and inner monologue. Some of her famous works include A Room of One’s Own and To The Lighthouse. Woolf struggled with mental health for her entire life and passed away from suicide at age 59.
“I hate to hear you talk about all women as if they were fine ladies instead of rational creatures. None of us want to be in calm waters all our lives”-Persuasion
When talking about influential female writers, you can’t forget to mention Jane Austen. While she only ever published four novels, her impact is still felt today. A new Netflix adaptation of Pride and Prejudice was announced this past June. Austen, who was born in the late 1700s, is known for her realistic and somewhat timeless depiction of the middle-class. And, as the Mr. Darcy-obsessed will remind you, romantic themes were common in her novels as well.
Harriet Beecher Stowe
“It’s a matter of taking the side of the weak against the strong, something the best people have always done”
Harriet Beecher Stowe was born in Litchfield, Connecticut in 1811. Stowe is recognized as both an author and an abolitionist. Her most famous piece of writing is her 1852 novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin. The book, which quickly became a bestseller, discussed the impact that slavery had on families. Through her emotional and strong writing, Stowe was able to influence the way that people viewed slavery and anger the south. There is speculation that Uncle Tom’s Cabin played a role in starting the Civil War. Either way, it’s undeniable that Harriet Beecher Stowe is one of the most impactful writers to ever take on the craft.
There is love in me the likes of which you’ve never seen. There is rage in me, the likes of which should never escape. If I am not satisfied with the one, I will indulge the other”-Frankenstein
Even if you still confuse Dr. Frankenstein with Frankenstein’s monster, it’s indisputable that Mary Shelley is a great and impactful writer. Shelley was born in London, England in the late 1700s. Her most well-known piece of writing is the 1818 novel, Frankenstein. The book was published anonymously until 1823. Until then, many attributed the novel to her husband, due to his name being attached to the novel’s introduction. Frankenstein is often attributed to being an early version of what would become the sci-fi genre. Her writing is very descriptive and its more philosophical elements are sure to leave readers thinking.
“Perhaps when we find ourselves wanting everything, it is because we are dangerously close to wanting nothing”
Sylvia Plath, born in the early 1900s, was an American poet and author. Her 1963 novel The Bell Jar is often considered her most notable work. As a metaphor for her mental health struggles, The Bell Jar features the mental breakdown of a woman, through the lens of societal expectations for women in the 1950s. Around one month after The Bell Jar was published, Plath committed suicide. Plath’s confessional writing style set her apart and contributed to her posthumous Pulitzer Prize in 1982.
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