Today In Books

Women Better Represented in Victorian Novels than Modern: Today in Books

This edition of Today in Books is sponsored by Penguin Random House Audio.

Women Better Represented In Victorian Novels Than Modern

An analysis from the universities of Illinois and California at Berkeley has revealed a decline in the prominence of female characters in literature across the two centuries. Using an algorithm to examine 104,000 works of fiction dating from 1780 to 2007, the academics also found a decline in the number of books written by women in the first half of the 20th century, and that women in novels have tended to “feel,” while men “get.” They speculated that the drop in female authors could be due to the increasing desirability of novel-writing as a profession for male writers.

The FBI’s War On Black-Owned Bookstores

The Atlantic examined the FBI’s war on black-owned bookstores, where Former Director of the FBI J. Edgar Hoover focused his sights on an “increase in the establishment of black extremist bookstores which represent propaganda outlets for revolutionary and hate publications and culture centers for extremism.” His directive ordered Bureau offices to locate, identify, and investigate “black extremist and/or African-type” bookstores. He also wanted the Bureau to convince African American citizens to spy on these stores by posing as customers or activists.

Copies of Mary Shelley’s Original Frankenstein Text Will Be Published

A facsimile of the two large notebooks in which Shelley wrote the draft of Frankenstein over nine months will be published to mark the 200th anniversary of the novel’s first release. Complete with revisions, the publication aims “to give the impression to readers that they are holding the original – so you have the feeling the author gave you the notebooks,” according to Jessica Nelson of SP Books. The publisher will release the manuscript in a limited run of 1,000 copies on March 15.


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