The Silent Canon

Sure, we all read women. They make up no small part of our libraries. But where do they go when we’re finished with them? Not into the annals of history; not onto the lists of greats. Or—rarely. (Of the 116 Nobel Laureates in literature, 15 have been women.) And as well as we may know, or think we know, the greats of American literature—Alcott, Wharton, Angelou, Morrison—our knowledge of the women writers of the rest of the world is scant, at best. Think: alongside Tolstoy, Chekhov and Dostoevky, can you name a Russian woman? An African writer before Chimananda Ngozi Adichie? Either of the two Polish women who won the Nobel Prize in Literature? And why not? It’s tempting to explain away their absence and say we cannot read what was never published. But peer closer and there they are: a constellation of brilliant minds through history, many of them celebrities in their own time. It is we who have forgotten.
The women represented in this collection, The Silent Canon, are as diverse a collection of voices as you'll find on earth—in their histories, their preoccupations, their prose. They write of love, marriage, childbirth, abortion, rape, betrayal—yes. But also of murder, art, war, dystopia, the pleasure of cherries on a straw hat. They are a medieval nun, a Tutsi refugee, a recluse, a children’s illustrator, the daughter of a famous writer, the mother of one. Our list is by no means comprehensive; it is, rather, an invitation to begin your own search. These women tell a story only they can tell in history; it's for us to listen.


The First Wife: A Tale of Polygamy Cover ImageThe Shadow King: A Novel Cover ImageLa Bastarda Cover ImageOur Lady of the Nile: A Novel Cover ImageKintu Cover ImageStranger Faces Cover ImageEverything Good Will Come Cover ImageChanges: A Love Story Cover Image


Annie John: A Novel Cover ImageLand of Smoke (Pushkin Collection) Cover ImageThe Hour of the Star Cover ImageThe Bitch Cover ImageAbsolute Solitude: Selected Poems Cover ImageCrossing the Mangrove Cover ImageLove, Anger, Madness: A Haitian Triptych (Modern Library Torchbearers) Cover ImagePoems, Protest, and a Dream: Selected Writings Cover ImageCorregidora (Celebrating Black Women Writers #1) Cover ImageVarieties of Exile Cover Image


Days in the Caucasus Cover ImageLove in the New Millennium (The Margellos World Republic of Letters) Cover ImageThe Eighth Life Cover ImageRiver of Fire Cover ImageTerritory of Light: A Novel Cover ImageThe Vegetarian: A Novel Cover ImageBone China Cover ImageNotes of a Crocodile (NYRB Classics) Cover ImageArid Dreams: Stories Cover ImageNovel without a Name Cover Image

The Piano Teacher Cover ImageThe Unwomanly Face of War: An Oral History of Women in World War II Cover ImageTrieste Cover ImageThe Copenhagen Trilogy: Childhood; Youth; Dependency Cover ImageFair Play Cover ImageThree Strong Women: A novel Cover ImageVisitation Cover ImageThree Summers Cover ImageThe Door (NYRB Classics) Cover ImageThe Dry Heart Cover ImageTofylis, or the Marriage of Zosä-- Cover ImageDrive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead: A Novel Cover ImageSubtly Worded and Other Stories (Pushkin Blues) Cover ImageDeath in Spring Cover ImageSweet Days of Discipline Cover ImageThey Cover Image

Women Without Men: A Novel of Modern Iran Cover ImageIn Her Feminine Sign Cover ImageSea & Fog (Lambda Literary Award - Lesbian Poetry) Cover ImageCelestial Bodies Cover ImageWoman at Point Zero Cover Image

The Yield: A Novel Cover ImageThe Bone People: A Novel (Penguin Ink) Cover Image