The History of Virago

Carmen Callil provides a potted history, in "The Guardian", of the gestation and birth of Virago, the British feminist publishing house with the distinctive green covers.

In the publishing world of the 60s and 70s, women rarely had the opportunity to choose which books to publish, and paperback lists, particularly, reflected this. But now the choice of novels was mine. It was common to think of the literary tradition that runs from Jane Austen through Ivy Compton-Burnett to Barbara Pym as a clever and witty women's view of a small domestic world. This was not a ghetto we accepted. The female tradition included writers of vast ambition and great achievement: mistresses of comedy, drama, storytelling, of the domestic world we knew and loved. I saw a large world, not a small canvas, with all of human life on display, a great library of women's fiction, marginalised, silenced, out of print and unavailable. Such writing has always been part of women's history. We despised the concepts of "woman novelist", and "female imagination", so often used to dismiss books we cherished.

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on May 5, 2008 4:03 PM.

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