Snowed in with Virago books

Here’s our teensy cottage (a bit smaller than the Dashwood’s cottage!), which is being slowly covered in ever more snow — right now it’s about up to my knees. (And for those of you who worried about our not having a bathroom or kitchen, my parents’ house is right next beside us, so not to fear. We do have to trudge back and forth a lot, but that’s part of the adventure…) I put on my snow pants and boots (and scarf, hat, mitts, etc) and went out for a walk in the snow today with Thomas (that’s the husband, may as well use his name and save time since all the nicknames I’ve considered seem a bit silly), fresh in the face exercise. We talked about how nice it would be to be snowed in until spring, then we’d have more time to read! Except we don’t have any salted pork stored up for the winter…

Besides reading, I’ve finally finished the complete list of Virago Modern Classics alphabetized by author, here! I’ve worked from this list, which is organized by publication date, so if there are any flaws in my list, that’s why, let me know and I can fix it. Rachel and I have finally got a date for our Virago Reading Week, which will be the last week of January, the 24th to 30th. I hope you all join us!

As I’ve worked through retyping their list and also looking up each author, to provide a link for many of the lesser known among them (I’m still working on that), the variety of what Virago chose to publish in their Modern Classics collection is truly astonishing. For those who are new to the Virago Modern Classics like me, there are more accessible books — they published their own editions of Jane Austen, the Brontes, Edith Wharton, Willa Cather, Daphne du Maurier, some Louisa May Alcott, early Margaret Atwood, Angela Carter, and Joyce Carol Oates; one of the earliest women writers and a 17th century playwright, Aphra Behn (she wrote novels too); a few lesser known works of George Eliot, Elizabeth Gaskell, Colette, Simone de Beauvoir, Anais Nin, and Katherine Mansfield and the list goes on!

There are also book blogger favourites Muriel Spark and Barbara Pym, Elizabeth Taylor, Rebecca West (and even Mae West, who knew!), Sylvia Townsend Warner, Elizabeth von Arnim, Barbara Comyns, some early Ivy Compton-Burnett; I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith, 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff (if you haven’t read this what are you waiting for), Diary of a Provincial Lady by E.M. Delafield, The Group by Mary McCarthy, The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy, even The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin for some feminist science fiction!

There are lesser known Victorian authors, like Margaret Oliphant, George Gissing, Mary Elizabeth Braddon, George Meredith, there’s even one H.G. Wells and one George Bernard Shaw each. There are authors also published by Persephone Books (including Nicola Beauman’s A Very Great Profession: The Women’s Novel 1914-39) and NYRB Classics and authors from so many different backgrounds, even a Canadian prairie suffragist I discovered tonight, Francis Marion Beynon. Virago was also the first to publish Pat Barker, as her early books about working class women were not accepted anywhere else.

Look through the list, I’m sure everybody reading this owns at least one book from the Virago Modern Classics, even if you don’t know it yet.

17 thoughts on “Snowed in with Virago books

  1. Annie says:

    Looking at your picture makes me feel like a real whinger! We’ve had snow like we haven’t had for years over the past two months, but nothing like this. And, I live in a house with a bathroom and a kitchen.

    One of my resolutions for this year has been to read more Virago. When the list first appeared I diligently bought them all as they came out, but over the years that practice has slipped and I need to get back to them. Your list will be very helpful, thank you.

  2. Penny says:

    Catching up after a couple of weeks’ flu…
    I’m so impressed by all the work that went into your list! I’ve long been a big fan of Virago books. I remember when they first began publishing. I bought ‘Frost in May’ and have been collecting them ever since. It helps that most of my favourite authors are women! I’ll enjoy browsing and choosing one for your Virago week!
    Your wee cottage looks very sweet and I love seeing your bookshelves! I’m so glad that Thomas is well, and able to cope with the treks to the kitchen and bathroom! Enjoy being snowed in! We had more snow yesterday. It palled a long time ago… 😦

  3. Eva says:

    Since you mentioned Virago week on my blog, I thought I’d let you know that I’m definitely planning on participating! I’ve already requested Eudora Welty’s The Robber Bridegroom from the library. I’ve been a bit oblivious to Viragos before, but it sounds like I need to investigate further. πŸ˜€

  4. Claire (Paperback Reader) says:

    The title of this post sounds somewhat blissful! I love your allusion to the Little House books πŸ™‚

    My love for Virago Modern Classics is strong especially because it includes so many of my favourite female authors: Carter, Austen, Atwood, Mansfield, Colette, Nin, McCarthy, Von Arnim, Cather, Spark and on and on. So many books I Gould not be without.

    So many great choices for Virago week and the only difficulty presenting itself is how to narrow the list down.

  5. BuriedInPrint says:

    What a lovely image! And I like the way you’ve summarized VMC’s offerings. It’s true, too: I bet most readers have a VMC author’s works on their shelves, whether in their own trade-marked green-spines, or not. I’m definitely taking part, but am trying to leave my choices to the whim of that week.

  6. Karenlibrarian says:

    Thanks for all your hard work with the list — it’s nice to have it all alphabetized. Now if I could just decide which Viragos to read that week. . . I may have to start reading early, I have so many I want to read! I noticed a couple of Persephones on the list as well, so that’s very tempting.

  7. Claire (The Captive Reader) says:

    What an impressive list! It does indeed seem like everyone should be able to find something – I’m planning on reading some Elizabeth von Arnim and perhaps Willa Cather.

    Your snow-bound cottage looks like just the place to read away the winter!

  8. bookssnob says:

    Look at that little cottage! Adorable!

    WELL DONE – what a fantastic job you have done on that list! So many I never knew existed…I can’t wait to peruse it!

    I am so excited to be hosting this week with you Carolyn! x

  9. selena says:

    What a list!

    Your cottage looks lovely but that snow is scary! I guess I’m not used to more than a few inches of snow. Everything above 3-5 inches gets to be impossible to imagine. I think weather like that would cripple Seattle for weeks!

  10. verity says:

    You could put a link in to my Virago blog as there’s posts about over half of the titles there which is also a useful resource for people who don’t know about the books! I’ve done an author tag cloud too to help choosing… I must try to get some new ones in for the week though πŸ™‚

  11. Willa says:

    I love Virago Modern Classics, there are so many good books, so many good authors. Thanks for inspiring me to go through my book shelves on Virago hunt.

  12. Aimee says:

    What a beautiful photo! The cottage and surroundings look splendid – what I wouldn’t give to be somewhere like that right now, curled up by the window with a cup of creamy chocolate between my paws!


  13. Danielle says:

    Wow, what a lot of work you’ve put into that list–thank you! I couldn’t wait so I am already reading a novel by E.M. Delafield. But no worries I will be (hopefully) reading a few more Viragos exclusively during the Virago week. I’ve been slowly collecting them, so I have lots to choose from. I need to make myself more familiar with the list now.

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