Lost Literary Heroines

Photographed by Margaux Ract
Prop Styling by Lauren Kennedy Malpas

Frances (“Fanny”) Burney, born on June 13, 1752 in King’s Lynn, Norfolk, England, was an English novelist and letter writer. Written in secret and published anonymously in 1778, Burney’s landmark work, Evelina—famous for its author’s keen societal observations—took London’s reading public by storm and marked a major development for the novel of manners. 

Frances (“Fanny”) Burney, born on June 13, 1752 in King’s Lynn, Norfolk, England, was an English novelist and letter writer. Written in secret and published anonymously in 1778, Burney’s landmark work, Evelina—famous for its author’s keen societal observations—took London’s reading public by storm and marked a major development for the novel of manners. 

As to my plan of writing every evening the adventures of the day, I find it impracticable; for the diversions here are so very late, that if I begin my letters after them, I could not go to bed at all.

Frances (“Fanny”) Burney, Evelina, or the History of a Young Lady's Entrance into the World (1778)

 

I feel like the oldest person in the world with the longest stretch of life before me.

Nella larsen, passing (1929)

Nella Larsen, born in Chicago in 1891, worked as a nurse, a New York Public Library librarian, and as a celebrated writer throughout her lifetime. Her first novel, Quicksand (1928), wrestled with questions of gender, identity, and marginality among black middle-class women and secured her status as a Harlem Renaissance trailblazer. Following the publication of her second novel, Passing, in 1929, Larsen was awarded the first Guggenheim Fellowship to an African-American woman.

Nella Larsen, born in Chicago in 1891, worked as a nurse, a New York Public Library librarian, and as a celebrated writer throughout her lifetime. Her first novel, Quicksand (1928), wrestled with questions of gender, identity, and marginality among black middle-class women and secured her status as a Harlem Renaissance trailblazer. Following the publication of her second novel, Passing, in 1929, Larsen was awarded the first Guggenheim Fellowship to an African-American woman.

Elaine Dundy was born in New York City in 1921. Upon the publication of her best-selling novel, The Dud Avocado, in 1958, Dundy introduced readers to the free-spirited and unforgettable character of Sally Jay Gorce (a sure contemporary of one Holly Golightly). She went on to establish herself as an author and biographer, in addition to writing for The New York Times, Esquire, and Vogue among other publications, up until her death in 2008.

Elaine Dundy was born in New York City in 1921. Upon the publication of her best-selling novel, The Dud Avocado, in 1958, Dundy introduced readers to the free-spirited and unforgettable character of Sally Jay Gorce (a sure contemporary of one Holly Golightly). She went on to establish herself as an author and biographer, in addition to writing for The New York Times, Esquire, and Vogue among other publications, up until her death in 2008.

 

I awoke the next morning with a series of explosions popping off in my head like flash bulbs. ‘Sunday!’ That was the first one.

Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado (1958)

 

Intelligence turns me on.

Lore Segal, Lucinella (1976)

Lore Segal was born in Vienna in 1928. In addition to the singular and sparkling Lucinella, Segal is the author of Other People's Houses (1964), Her First American (1985), and Shakespeare's Kitchen (2007), and has also published translations and numerous books for children. 

Lore Segal was born in Vienna in 1928. In addition to the singular and sparkling Lucinella, Segal is the author of Other People's Houses (1964), Her First American (1985), and Shakespeare's Kitchen (2007), and has also published translations and numerous books for children.