A Bibliography for Women's Literature

On this page the reader interested in women's studies will find a bibliography of scholarship on women's art and lives, with an emphasis on women writers from the medieval through the 19th century European world. I include works on women in the visual arts, in music, and in film. To make these lists useful and to direct it generally I have divided and arranged the items as follows: 1) modern studies (general: historical, thematic, theoretical); 2) modern dictionaries (biographical and bibliographical, handbooks and companions); 3) anthologies (older as well as more recent); 4) modern studies (on individual women); and 5) primary texts.

Like the other bibliographies on this site, this is a working bibliography because I use it myself and mean to add to it as I go along. I hope eventually to add more 20th century and recent studies of individual women's writing and more about life-writing by women.1 This bibliography began life as a bibliography for students of early modern European women's lives and writing (whence the picture just below). For the following women writers for whom I have made separate sections on my site, I direct the reader to these places for individual bibliographies:

Veronica Gambara,
Vittoria Colonna,
Katherine Philips,
Anne Murray Halkett,
Anne Finch,
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu,
Isabelle de Montolieu,
Sophie Cottin, née Marie Risteau,
Fanny Burney

I also have other bibliographies on this website rich in materials about women writers, e.g.,

A Bibliography of Secondary Studies of Epistolary Literature
A Select Bibliography of Translation Studies
A Bibliography of Film Studies
A list of anthologies of women's poetry

One of the best periodicals on the market for women's studies, and one which includes citations and reviews of the finest books as well as a monthly bibliography is The Women's Review of Books. The reader will also find information and links to further bibliographies of books and recent developments in women's studies on Rose Norman's website, Keep Women in Print and the University of Maryland's Women's Studies Database

Caterina von Hemessen (1527/8 - ?1566), Portrait of a Lady, 1551

Modern Studies

Dictionaries: Biographical and Bibliographical


Modern Studies: Individual Women

Primary Texts

1 The above bibliography began life as a selection of primary documents and secondary studies which I had been compiling while reading and writing about the writings of women writers since I first began my projects on Vittoria Colonna and Anne Finch. I was particularly interested in 1) works which delve the subjective experiences of women privately; 2) in women's texts as aesthetic literary objects from a psycholoanalytical standpoint; 3) and therefore as part of women's or woman-centered literary traditions and tropes in women's writing; 4) in works which frankly explore the sexuality of women's texts; and 5) in women who were themselves outsiders or subversive of the establishment in which they found themselves living. The emphasis was originally on English, French and Italian Early Modern women.

Additions, corrections, and suggestions are welcome. Please email me at emoody@osf1.gmu.edu

Contact Ellen Moody.
Pagemaster: Jim Moody.
Page Last Updated: 2 January 2006.