Book Review: The Woman Reader

Book Review: The Woman Reader

This looks like an interesting book – as someone who has buried myself in books for many years…

This ambitious book maps out the relatively undeveloped field of women’s reading habits across time and cultures, all in fewer than 350 pages. It is not an easy task, but Belinda Jack accomplishes it brilliantly. She shifts seamlessly between wide-ranging examples, from the Byzantine princess Anna Komnene, who persuaded her tutor to help her circumvent a parental ban on erotic poetry, to The Peony Pavilion (1598), a popular play whose heroine became an alter ego for the young Chinese women who read it obsessively to the point of exhaustion, prompting some concerned mothers to burn their copies.

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