Feminista's 100 Great 20th Century English-language Works of Fiction by Women

While we’d [Feminista!] agree that the Modern Library’s list features some extraordinary and wonderful works of fiction, we’re a little dismayed by a list of major 20th century English language novels that completely overlooks such writers as Margaret Atwood, Nadine Gordimer, Zora Neale Hurston, Harper Lee, Doris Lessing, Toni Morrison and Sylvia Plath. We could go on, but instead we’ve compiled our own list of 100 Great 20th Century English-language Works of Fiction by Women. In order to choose the works on the list, women’s online forums and lists were canvassed. Unlike the Modern Library’s, our list is not ranked. We’ve also restricted it to one work per author, since our aim was to showcase the extraordinary richness and variety of 20th century fiction by women.
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More voters…


Comments (showing 1-20 of 20) (20 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Debbie (new)

Debbie There are 9 extra books on this list. Some sleuthing determines they are:

The Handmaid's Tale
Pride and Prejudice
The Secret Life of Bees
Bird by Bird
The Passion
We Have Always Lived in the Castle
The Lottery and Other Stories
The Woman Warrior

Is this correct? Should these be deleted?


message 2: by Debbie (new)

Debbie I think the wrong Away is listed. The list I found had Away by Jane Urquhart. The one on the listopia is by Amy Bloom.

Another extra title is Complete Stories by Flannery O'Conner.


message 3: by Serenity (new)

Serenity Thanks Debbie! I’ve notified the Librarians to make the following changes to the list (since I can’t do it myself):

Margaret Atwood – everybody seems to think (me included) that The Handmaid’s Tale is more classic than Cat’s Eye. The original authors of this list chose only one work per author to make the list more varied, and I agree. HOWEVER, there’s no law saying we have to adhere 100% to the original list, and if everybody agrees on The Handmaid’s Tale, I’ll take off Cat’s Eye. That way it’ll still be 100 books.

Maxine Hong Kingston – same deal, since The Woman Warrior got more votes, Tripmaster Monkey will be removed despite it being originally on the list.

The Passion, The Complete Stories, We Have Always Lived in the Castle and The Lottery– Since other books by the same authors are already on the list, and higher ranked, these will be removed.

Jane Austen – NOT 20TH CENTURY PEOPLE. Someone else start a “Great 19th Century Works of Fiction by Women.”

Secret Life of Bees – Also not 20th Century (b/c published after 1999)

Bird by Bird – simply was not on original list, sorry.

Finally, the right Away is added and the wrong one will be taken off.


message 4: by Alex (new)

Alex Cross I have deleted the following books as requested in the forum:

Cat's Eye
Pride and Prejudice
The Secret Life of Bees
Bird by Bird
The Passion
We Have Always Lived in the Castle
The Lottery and Other Stories
Tripmaster Monkey: His Fake Book
The Complete Stories (by Flannery O'Connor)
Away (by Amy Bloom)


message 5: by Lit Bug (new)

Lit Bug Why on earth can't I vote on the list?


message 6: by Aubrey (new)

Aubrey Lit Bug wrote: "Why on earth can't I vote on the list?"

It's been frozen into a challenge list rather than a voting list, which sacrifices popular ordering for easier comparison between friends. Also possibly to stop people from adding books that don't belong, but that's just a hypothesis.


message 7: by Lit Bug (new)

Lit Bug Aubrey wrote: "Lit Bug wrote: "Why on earth can't I vote on the list?"

It's been frozen into a challenge list rather than a voting list, which sacrifices popular ordering for easier comparison between friends. A..."


Then it's fine. I thought everybody was voting except for me. Thanks!


message 8: by Ashley (new)

Ashley Awww, I've read a bunch of books by authors on this list, but different ones that aren't listed so I can't get credit for them :(


message 9: by Miriam (new)

Miriam I'd guess Aubrey's right -- people seem incapable of following directions. I'll take not voting in exchange for not having to see Twilight at the top of the list.


message 10: by Aubrey (new)

Aubrey Miriam wrote: "I'd guess Aubrey's right -- people seem incapable of following directions. I'll take not voting in exchange for not having to see Twilight at the top of the list."

Heh. Indeed.


message 11: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan I've read 21 and have 9 on my to-read shelf.


message 12: by Amy (new)

Amy Does anyone know the history of the organization Feminista or when this list was originally compiled?


message 13: by Shellye (new)

Shellye M. THANK YOU!! I completely agree that women authors are underrepresented in the Modern Library Collection. I LOVE this list, thanks so much for compiling it. Hope you'll weigh in with your 21st century recommendations, to date. Even if it's just a few books for each year, it will be more comprehensive than what I find in the NYT Book Review, and others I read.


message 14: by Aubrey (last edited Aug 28, 2014 12:01PM) (new)

Aubrey There's an extra Edna O'Brien on here: Saints and Sinners: Stories. It seems to have replaced Stein's Three Lives, going by the original list here: http://home.comcast.net/~dwtaylor1/fe...
Gordon's The Rest of Life: Three Novellas from the original has also been replaced by The Rest of Her Life.

Shall I go ahead and fix these?


message 15: by Sue (last edited Aug 28, 2014 02:24PM) (new)

Sue I've read 14 and have 22 on one to read list or another. I'm actually a bit pleased with my self but not complacent. I have to thank many of my GR friends and groups for my numbers.

And now I've added several more!!


message 16: by Mala (new)

Mala @ Aubrey:
Read: 12
Filmed:12
To-be-read: 12
Dropped: 1


message 17: by Sandy (CA) (new)

Sandy (CA) How do I add this list to my "Liked Lists"?


message 18: by Courtney (new)

Courtney Lindwall I love this list but how do I "like" it so I can return to it later for reference? I don't seem that option that is normally at the bottom.


message 19: by Elisa (new)

Elisa It's disappointing that the list exclude anything outside of capital-L "Literary" fiction. Overlooking Ursula K. Le Guin and Octavia Butler seems a particular oversight.


message 20: by Stacey (new)

Stacey Lunsford Elisa wrote: "It's disappointing that the list exclude anything outside of capital-L "Literary" fiction. Overlooking Ursula K. Le Guin and Octavia Butler seems a particular oversight."

Agreed.


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