Pingy-Dingy Wednesday – Virago and Virago Modern Classics

I must have found the first one at a booksale, perhaps even in Provincetown, but ever since, I’ve made it a habit to look for Virago Modern Classics, for that distinctive green stripe on the cover that means the novel is written by a woman and is almost certainly some kind of wonderful. Currently, for example, I’m reading Hester by Mrs. Oliphant, first published in 1883. Not only am I exposed to Mrs. Oliphant’s scintillating vocabulary, I am thoroughly enjoying such passages as the following:

Many people no doubt have waltzed with very little inclination for it, people who were both sad and sorry, disappointed, heartbroken; but few more reluctant than Hester, who felt her position intolerable, and by whom the complacent injustice of it, the calm assertion that such blind adherence was all that was to be looked for from a woman, was more irritating and offensive than can be described. Was it possible that he thought so? That this was what she would have to encounter in the life she should spend with him? Her advice, her intelligent help, her understanding, all ignored and nothing wanted but a kind of doggish fidelity, an unreasoning belief? Hester felt it cruel to be made to dance even, to be spun through the crowd as if in the merest caprice of gaiety while at such a crisis of her fate.

Other fabulous Virago Modern Classics I recommend are: Frost in May by Antonia White; Mary Lavelle by Kate O’Brian (a lesbian, unless I’m much mistaken); The Friendly Young Ladies by Mary Renault (more lesbians); and Troy Chimneys by Margaret Kennedy. With almost 700 titles, though, including some children’s books, you will surely be able to find your own favorites!

Virago and Virago Modern Classics, you get one pingy-dingy! Thank you for seeking out and publishing or re-issuing work by such amazing authors. My life and those of countless others are the richer for it.

I’m a typewriter whompin’, card catalogue lovin’ white girl from back in the day, and I yearn for a time before the covers of trade paperbacks were all squidgy, so you can imagine that I don’t actually understand what a pingback is. I do know that it can in some way be part of spreading the love, and since that’s what I’m all about at The Total Femme… every Wednesday, I pay homage to the laughter, love, and inspiration to be had elsewhere online.

At the Total Femme, my intention is to post three times a week: Meditations for Queer Femmes on Monday, Pingy-Dingy Wednesday on Wednesday and Femme Friday on Friday. Rather than play catch-up in a stressful fashion on those weeks when life prevents posting, I have decided to just move gaily forward: if I miss a Monday, the next post will be on Wednesday, and so on. Thank you, little bottle of antibiotics for inspiring me in this! (“…if it’s almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Don’t take a double dose to make up for a missed one.”)


Published in: on October 16, 2019 at 12:02 AM  Leave a Comment  
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