"What Women Can Do When They Put Their Minds To It": Elaine Showalter And Virago Press


  • Ellen Gilbert Rutgers University
  • Crystal Decotiis Rutgers University
  • Teresa Schartel Rutgers University




Library Studies, Rutgers, Books, History


The distinguished literary critic Elaine Showalter made a new contribution to the universe of feminist scholarship during the summer of 2003. Showalter's previous contributions to the field include, of course, the groundbreaking books A Literature of Their Own, Sexual Anarchy, and Inventing Herself, as well as dozens of articles and essays. This particular contribution, however, was in the form of a noteworthy book collection: a nearly complete set of first editions from the London-based, feminist publisher Virago Press. The Virago collection is not Showalter's first gift to Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey; in 2002, she gave Rutgers her collection of nineteenth-century Victorian women's novels and writings amassed when she was starting out as a young scholar. Speaking at the Fifteenth Annual Louis Faugeres III Bishop Lecture at the time of this earlier gift, Showalter expressed the hope that others would follow her lead: "Indeed, I want to encourage everyone to enjoy the satisfactions of giving away their books while they are still alive."

Author Biographies

Ellen Gilbert, Rutgers University

Ellen Gilbert is an adjunct lecturer in the Douglass Scholars Program and a member of the Princeton Research Forum.

Crystal Decotiis, Rutgers University

Crystal DeCotiis (Douglass '05) is an honors student in the Douglass Scholars Program.

Teresa Schartel, Rutgers University

Teresa Schartel (Douglass '05) is an honors student in the Douglass Scholars Program.