For a long time women were not supposed to write books. They were supposed to be content with bringing children into the world. If women wrote differently from men, it was because they lived differently and they had to fight to find the time to write. They needed to have unshakeable faith in themselves and an enormous reservoir of patience, finding themselves in conflict with impossible demands from their families and society. In order to achieve their ideal, they had to withstand the most severe privations. Women who wrote had to be prepared to live like pariahs. Until a hundred years ago, writing was even dangerous for women. Even today, writing entails a certain risk for them. The dichotomy between artistic independence and social conformism was unbearable for many women. Many of them concealed their ambitions. Others, like George Sand or George Elliot, adopted a masculine pseudonym. Still others withstood all the prejudices and succeeded, through their writing, in leading a free and true life.
Women who write live dangerously offers an iconography of female writers. The work presents portraits of eminent women of letters, from the Middle Ages until today, from Hildegard von Bingen to Arundhati Roy, taking in Jane Austen, Colette, Virginia Woolf and Doris Lessing women who have chosen to write and thus to make their world a little bit less dangerous.
Women who read are dangerous, this realisation is now widespread, and more particularly thanks to the eponymous book. Yet what is tragic is that women who write also live dangerously and often all too briefly, because the burden associated with being an author is difficult to combine with the life of a woman, a mother or a partner.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
The history of literature can also inspire all those with a thirst for knowledge.