Welcome to the new Hidden Histories podcast series – The Great Forgetting: Women Writers Before Austen. In this first episode, Helen Lewis, Sophie Coulombeau and Elizabeth Edwards question long-held assumptions about early British novels and who wrote them.
Together they recover the reputations of some of the 18th century’s most prolific and innovative writers; from Aphra Behn and Frances Burney to Eliza Haywood, Maria Edgeworth and Delarivier Manley. They ask what these women faced in order to make it as successful writers, and what flak they received in return: why did Frances Burney become “Fanny Burney”? What exactly was so concerning about Harriet Freke? And to whom did Lady Mary Wortley Montagu direct the following: “I’m glad you’ll write, You’ll furnish paper when I sh*te”?
Listen using the player below….
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Check out the episode’s recommended reads:
- Evelina by Frances Burney – “If you like Jane Austen but you’re a bit freaked out by going earlier, Evelina is a good introduction.” (Helen Lewis)
- Belinda by Maria Edgeworth – “… because Harriet Freke” (Sophie Coulombeau)
- Castle Rackrent by Maria Edgeworth – “The invention of the Irish Question novel” (Elizabeth Edwards)
And learn about the series guests (and even more reading suggestions) at the series page.