11 abril 2006

Gender Prefs for Literature

The novel that means most to men is about indifference, alienation and lack of emotional responses. That which means most to women is about deeply held feelings, a struggle to overcome circumstances and passion, research by the University of London has found.

The Outsider by Albert Camus
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald
Brighton Rock by Graham Greene
Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
Ulysses by James Joyce
Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
The Book of Laughter and Forgetting by Milan Kundera
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
1984 by George Orwell
The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien
The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut

1. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
(lenghty discussion)

2. To Kill a Mockingbird

Harper Lee's only novel is a quasi-autobiographical depiction of her childhood in the Deep South. Focusing on the adventures of the young girl Scout, her brother Jem and their friend Dill, the book depicts the bitter racism that Lee saw as a child. Scout's father, Atticus Finch, defends an innocent black man against accusations of rape by a white woman.

3. Jane Eyre

Is this a tale of a repressed, dependent woman who ultimately marries her tyrannical employer? Or is it a groundbreaking work, full of metaphorical allusions to a woman embracing her sexuality? Whichever reading you subscribe to, Charlotte Brontë's novel is an odd choice for a book that makes women "feel proud to be a woman".

4. The Women's Room

Hugely influential when it was published in 1977, Marilyn French's book now reads more as a fascinating period piece than as a timeless feminist tome. It depicts the joyless marriage between a middle-class woman and her bullying husband, and includes the infamous line "all men are rapists, they rape us with their eyes, their laws, their codes".

5. The Handmaid's Tale

Margaret Atwood's satiric novel depicts a society in which women are forced to have miserable sex with men they dislike and are forbidden from having jobs or owning any property. Quite how this book makes any woman feel proud to be a woman or changes the way she looks at herself is something to ponder.

Linking to The Guardian

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