This pictorial history brings to life the journeys of important women whose great intellect and achievements forged a path that advanced women’s literacy and education over four millennia.
Throughout the ages, from Sappho to Mary Wollstonecraft, extraordinary women have exposed other women to the world of letters and the freedom it brings. This unique cross-cultural account highlights the accomplishments of women writers and educated women, and provides beautiful reproductions of renowned artworks that illustrate their achievements and the worlds they inhabited as well as the nature of the book they read. The book further explores the changing circumstances of women’s access to literature and education throughout the centuries in different cultures and societies. Chronologically arranged, the volume opens in ancient times, exploring civilizations as diverse as Mesopotamia, Greece and Ancient China. It travels to the Middle Ages and Renaissance Europe, to modern England and America. Along the way readers are treated to profiles of Ban Zhao, Murasaki Shikibu, Christine de Pisan, Jane Austen, the Brontë sisters, Phillis Wheatley and Harriet Beecher Stowe among many others. Artworks featuring reading women range from Pompeii frescoes to important works by artists through the centuries, including Hans Holbein, Thomas Gainsborough, Thomas Eakins, Winslow Homer, Gustav Klimt, Edvard Munch, Roy Lichtenstein, Balthus and Gerhard Richter. The result is a beautifully illustrated cultural history of women reading, as fascinating and inspiring as the accomplishments it honours.
Christiane Inmann is an art consultant for private and institutional collectors around the world.
110 colour illustrations