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13 May 2016

The HH Podcast #1.5: Fight Club

The Hidden Histories podcast.

By New Statesman

Welcome to the fourth episode of Hidden Histories podcast series – The Great Forgetting: Women writers before Austen. In this episode, Helen Lewis and our guests Sophie Coulombeau, Liz Edwards and Jennie Batchelor thrash out the impossible question: Who is the most interesting female writer of the Eighteenth Century?  

Here’s a few snippets about their chosen favourites:

Liz Edwards on Hester Thrale Piozzi

When Frances Burney asked her friend Hester Thrale if she’d ever been in love, Hester answered her yes – ‘with myself, & most passionately’. It’s a moment that sums up her voice – witty, unusual, lively, poised, self-mocking – a personal voice that defines her as a writer. 

Sophie Coulombeau on Frances Burney

Her novels represent a bridge between the eighteenth-century picaresque and the Romantic quest to express interiority. They pioneer innovative literary techniques such as free indirect discourse. They give us an unrivalled window into eighteenth-century life: its fears, anxieties, pleasures and pains. Finally, they make a staunch argument for the validity and significance of ‘Female difficulties’. 


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Jennie Batchelor on Anon

Anon. is the most important figure in women’s literary history, arguably in literary history full stop. She has long been mis-understood and is undoubtedly a tricky customer but that’s why she’s so important. Anonymity was not, in the main, a veil or shield for 18th-century women writers, it, not signed authorship, was simply the default position. 

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Listen using the player below….

…. or subscribe in iTunes.

And learn about the series guests (and even more reading suggestions) at the series page.