From the tenth to the eighteenth centuries, countless thousands of cats across Europe were tortured and burned to death alongside the women whose “familiars” in witchcraft those cats were presumed to be. Sometimes the cats themselves were believed to be witches. The women were usually single and often elderly. Medieval and Early Modern society’s mistrust of single women, cats, and any bond between the two lingers in today’s conception of the “cat lady.” Like her persecuted “witch” predecessors, the cat lady is our culture’s envisioning of the woman who has failed to remain within the social order, who lies precariously outside it. Continue reading “A Brief History of the Cat Lady”
This post is part of a mini-series by I.C. on female characters, both heroes and villains. Find the rest of the series here and here.
Those Acro Collective readers who incline toward the bookish will agree with me that there’s nothing better than a complex heroine in whose struggles you can become invested. Victorian novels are particularly rich with such characters, coming as they do from an era in which women were beginning to call their society’s strict gender roles into question. Below are five heroines of Victorian fiction whom you’ve hopefully already met. (If not, do!). Based on which one you prefer, I’ve suggested other novels, either other Victorian novels or contemporary novels set in the Victorian era (or both), with similarly engaging female protagonists.
If you like Jane Eyre, from Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre (1847)… Continue reading “What to Read Next? Victorian Heroines Edition”