SQUEEEE!!!! Part Deux: The Viragos


One entry found for virago.

Main Entry: vi·ra·go
Pronunciation: v&-'rä-(")gO, -'rA-; 'vir-&-"gO
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural -goes or -gos
Etymology: Middle English, from Latin viragin-, virago, from vir man — more at VIRILE
1 : a loud overbearing woman : TERMAGANT
2 : a woman of great stature, strength, and courage
vi·rag·i·nous /v&-'ra-j&-n&s/ adjective


I love the books Virago publishes, and I have a collection to prove it.They publish a lot of works from the early 20th century and before, specifically fiction written by women. Hence, "virago," but in this case I’m not offended. If you’re calling them viragos because they fought the system and published, despite the fact it hasn’t always been considered "feminine" to write, that’s fine by me.

Here is Le Haul, in all its lustful glory:

Millenium Hall by Sarah Scott

That Lady by Kate O’Brien

At the Still Point by Mary Benson

Red Pottage  by Mary Cholmondeley

The Land of Spices by Kate O’Brien

The Third Miss Symons by F.M. Mayor

Treasure Hunt by Molly Keane

Truth, Dare or Promise: Girls Growing Up in the Fifties, ed. by Liz Heron

Troy Chimneys by Margaret Kennedy

The Holiday by Stevie Smith

Devoted Ladies by M.J. Farrell (Molly Keane)

The Little Company by Eleanor Dark

The Ballad and the Source by Rosamond Lehmann

Salem Chapel by Mrs. Oliphant

Mad Puppetstown by M.J. Farrell (Molly Keane)

Who Was Changed and Who Was Dead by Barbara Comyns

The Camomile by Catherine Carswell

Marcella by Mrs. Humphrey Ward

Ah, how sweet it is.

14 thoughts on “SQUEEEE!!!! Part Deux: The Viragos

  1. Lovely Viragos! The older copies with green spines are getting harder to find here in the UK. I have a lot of Elizabeth Taylor’s novels in the Virago editions. Highly recommended.


  2. Ah, you got some goodies. My dissertation was on British novels of the 1860s and lots of them I first read in Virago editions.
    I’d love your copy of _Red Pottage_. That’s one I made a note to myself to read for pleasure (I kept coming across great reviews of it), but never did.
    But how do you find time to read so much, get out and take photos, have a job, raise kids, write reviews and conduct interviews? I’m beginning to conclude that you’re like Einstein, Lisa: You only need 2 hours of sleep a night!
    Well, more power to ya, girl: This is a GREAT blog!


  3. squee indeed!
    I’ve been meaning to read the Comyns for a while…
    The thing I find with Viragos is that they’re difficult to find online, but often extremely cheap in charity shops. So I keeps my eyes open…


  4. What a lovely list. I loved Red Pottage which I read many years ago when I did my work placement at Preston Library (I made the most of my 3 weeks there by borrowing as many of their books as I could) and have always been on the lookout for a copy. I’d also like to read more Oliphant and a few of the others are new to me but sound intriguing. Who is Catherine Carswell, I wonder?


  5. Barbara, I also love Elizabeth Taylor’s novels. She’s one of the “great neglected,” and unjustifiably so.
    Another author from that category is Jane Gardam, and I get so many Google hits for her name here. She probably lands me more hits than any other single thing, which is curious because I haven’t posted about her all that much. Just goes to show you she’s appreciated by readers and could definitely use more visibility.


  6. Susan, you wonderful thing! I guess you received my check in the mail… 😉
    I’m a rather frazzled person, it won’t surprise you to know. I’m the sort who stands in the supermarket thinking, “Now, WHY am I here?!” All that brain power goes toward books, and there’s sometimes little left for normal functioning. My vital functions are like a reptile’s, out of necessity. There’s just nothing left over for them, so it’s a wonder I remember to breathe!
    But I will be scaling down reviewing for the summer, especially new book reviewing. I can’t ever get to the books on my shelves, so I’m going to be “shelf-ish” in the warm months and read/review more of my older books.


  7. Simon, they’re underrated, which is good for bookhounds but bad for them. Frustratingly, when I was a bookseller I found works by women in general were valued less than works by men. If there were two books that had won the Pulitzer put side by side, one written by a man and one by a woman, the one by the man almost without exception had the higher collecting value. The exceptions are really pretty rare.


  8. Lyn, Catherine Carswell was new to me, too. I have no idea.
    I’m very glad to learn Red Pottage is so good. I know I’ve heard of it before, and thought I had a copy but I don’t see it in my LibraryThing listings. Maybe I’ll have to make that one of my summer reads.


  9. Danielle, I know what you mean! If I go out intending to look for them I don’t find them, but if I don’t sometimes I luck onto them. I cleared out Half Price books last week, but hopefully some nice soul will go there soon and sell some more… cross fingers


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s