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      Bitches Be Writing: A History

      July 8, 2013

      1775–1817: Jane Austen
      The first important modern writer with a vagina emerged out of nowhere, with an exaggerated, hyperbolic diary she called Pride and Prejudice, written when she was just 21 years old. As a result, universities all over the place now have feminist-literature departments. And no one really knows why, because Jane Austen’s biographical information is scarce and sketchy. All we can be certain of is that she had a pair of tits.  

      1797–1851: Mary Shelley
      When Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus was published anonymously in 1818, everyone was like, “Whaaat? This shit’s crazy!” Although some critics hated it, it became incredibly popular, essentially created the genre of science fiction, and established a bunch of tropes that would get appropriated, mocked, and modified for centuries. It’s so scary and fucked up that it could only come from the mind of an adolescent girl.

      1816–1855: “The Bell Brothers”
      Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontë were sisters born to a minister and his wife who must have had some kind of fucking genius literary genes, because their offspring produced some of the 19th century’s most enduring fiction. Emily wrote Wuthering Heights under the pen name “Ellis Bell,” Charlotte penned Jane Eyre as “Currer Bell,” Anne wrote Agnes Grey under “Acton Bell,” and all three became wildly successful (even after everyone found out they didn’t have dicks). Their brother, Branwell, was also reportedly a genius, but he was also a fuckup who got addicted to alcohol and opium and died of tuberculosis. Just like a man! Am I right, ladies?

      1882–1941: Virginia Woolf
      Educated by her parents, Virginia had nervous breakdowns and depressive collapses all her life. She was nuts, in the classical way, and published stories that reflected this. She was also an unprecedented literary genius whose books will remain in the Western canon for time immemorial. Then she put rocks in her coat pockets and drowned herself in the River Ouse. The end. 

      1903–1977: Anais Nin
      Anais, my favorite bohemian slut, was married to two dudes at once and most definitely had some seriously hotttttt fuck times with Henry Miller. She wrote stories about old guys molesting little girls and tranced-out orgies in opium dens, as well as a plethora of personal diaries and philosophical insights. Talk about “having it all.” 

      1905–1982: Ayn Rand
      A Benzedrine addict who was also a robot from outer space and wrote Atlas Shrugged. Don’t worry, she’s dead now. Thank God.

      1929–1945: Anne Frank
      Also dead, but you’ve probably read her diary. 

      Illustration by the author.

      More from this year's Fiction Issue:

      The Mare

      Jailbait

      Miami

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      Topics: authors, women, jane austen, mary shelley, bronte, Virginia Woolf, anais nin, henry miller, ayn rand, Anne Frank

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