An Ode to Female Friendships
Our first Tipsy Lit book club pick is A Secret Sisterhood: The Literary Friendships of Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, George Eliot, and Virginia Woolf by Emily Midorikawa and Emma Claire Sweeney (with an introduction from Margaret Atwood).
Male literary friendships are the stuff of legend, but what about the friendships of women writers? A Secret Sisterhood, drawing on letters and diaries, some never published before, brings to light a wealth of surprising female collaborations: the friendship between Jane Austen and one of the family servants, amateur playwright Anne Sharp; the daring feminist author Mary Taylor, who shaped the work of Charlotte Brontë; the transatlantic friendship of the seemingly aloof George Eliot and the ebullient Harriet Beecher Stowe; and Virginia Woolf and Katherine Mansfield, most often portrayed as bitter foes, but who, in fact, enjoyed a complex friendship. They were sometimes scandalous and volatile, sometimes supportive and inspiring, but always—until now—tantalizingly consigned to the shadows.