On March 5th 2013 Iris Magazine of the U.Va.’s Women’s Center hosted a luncheon discussion – the topic: “Bada** Women in Literature.” Held at U.Va. OpenGrounds, the program featured three great U.Va. faculty members who spoke to us about their favorite female literary writers and why they thought their picks deserved the title of bada**.
Our first guest speaker was Deborah McGrady who is the Associate Professor & Chair at the Department of French. She discussed her favorite bada** author Christine de Pizan, a French/Italian medieval author who gained fame by being the court writer for several dukes and later at the French royal court during the time of Charles VI. She was noticed when she wrote attacks against Jean de Meun who was famous for writing Romance of the Rose, a novel in which a female character seduces a young monastic monk. Authoring many poems during her 31 year career as a writer, she is now credited as being the first professional female writer and some argue as the first feminist writer. Being so well respected in the French Royal courts she found that her writing had an influential impact on moving the social issues of her time forward.
Our second speaker was Professor Alison Booth from the Department of English. Her favorite bada** author was French 19th century author, George Sand. Famous for her many literary works, Sand was popular around the world for her captivating novels. Known to wear men clothes, Sand challenged the social norms of her time. And during the French rebellion of 1848 she started a newspaper to help publish her socialist sympathies towards the French working class. Booth also showed us her new Collective Biographies for Women database that references and cross-references women writers.
Our final guest speaker was Associate Professor Victoria Olwell from the Department of English. She described how Harriet Jacobs and her biography, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl earned her the rights to be called Victoria’s favorite bada** author. Born and raised in slavery on a plantation in North Carolina, Jacobs escaped her servitude and hid in her grandmother’s attic for seven long years. Much of her life was then spent trying to avoid being captured and she later used her experience and connections to assist others in escaping slavery. Though she was initially approached to sell her story to Harriet Beecher Stowe, Jacobs decided instead to publish Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl under her own pen name.
Iris Magazine and the Women’s Center are planning many more Bada** Women seminars, so please stay tuned for more information.
Our Next Bada** Women Event
“Bada** Women in Politics”
Apri 4th, 12:30 @ OpenGrounds
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