|“An Amusing Story” by T. Conti. From the Illustrated London News, 1 April, 1893
Tumultuous, changeable 19th century Britain was the era of the professional woman writer. Amid emerging controversies over women’s suffrage and a woman’s rights over her property, her children, and her own body, women demanded a place alongside men in the world of letters to contribute to cultural discourse, to make their opinions heard, and to tell their own stories.
“I Take Up My Pen: 19th Century British Women Writers” focuses on women’s use of writing as a powerful tool to alter their positions within a social order that traditionally confined them to the home. The women represented here—including Jane Austen, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and the Brontë sisters—are lecturers, suffragists, publishers, world travelers, professional writers, poets, journalists, and labor reformers. The exhibit also highlights the fascinating array of literary publications available to 19th century readers and writers: everything from periodicals and the penny press to three-volume bound editions, gift books, pamphlets, letters, and diaries.
|Curator Angela DiVeglia arranges exhibit materials
An online guide to the exhibit offers links to the digitized full-text versions of many rare 19th century works in the RBMSCL’s collections.
“I Take Up My Pen: 19th Century British Women Writers” is presented by the Duke University Libraries and curated by Sara Seten Berghausen, Angela DiVeglia, Anna Gibson, and William Hansen with co-sponsorship from the Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture and the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation.
For more pictures of the curators installing this exhibit, visit the Duke University Libraries on Flickr!