Six Degrees of Separation

Six Degrees of Separation: The Bell Jar

I can’t be quite so verbose this month, as I have school reports to write! Here goes:


  1. The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath

I identified waaaaaay too much with Plath’s particular type of ‘crazy’ when I first read The Bell Jar. I’d like to think that it would be a different read these days, now that I have my head in order (somewhat!). I loved it; it was astute and funny and terrifying. Funnily enough, I doubt I’ll revisit this book. Poor old Plath.


  1. Mrs Dalloway, Virginia Woolf

I can’t help but think of another female writer who succumbed to depression and suicide: Virgina Woolf. Mrs Dalloway and The Bell Jar  both explore mental illness and patriarchal oppression.


  1. The Mill on the Floss, George Eliot

I have a vision of Woolf walking into the water with stone-filled pockets and I’m reminded of Maggie Tulliver and her brother drowning in a flood. What an awful way to go. Plenty of tragedy and patriarchal oppression here!


  1.  The Bloody Chamber, Angela Carter

Enough with the victims! Angela Carter appropriates elements of fairy-tales and folk tales to invert patriarchal power systems.


 Written on the Body, Jeanette Winterson

There are moments of perversity and sensuality in The Bloody Chamber, and I’m reminded of Winterson’s Written on the Body (amongst other works). Here, woman is object and subject, complicated by the ‘gender-less’ narrator.

 glory of woman

  1. The Glory of Woman

This is a very special family heirloom, passed down from my great- grandmother.  It is part 19th century self-help book, part female anatomy textbook. This tome provided many laughs during my formative years. It is prescriptive in its descriptions of romantic love, courtship and sex.


Can you tell I did a few units of Women’s Studies at uni?

The six degrees of separation meme is hosted by Annabel Smith and Emma Chapman. Feel free to join in! Here are the rules:

#6Degrees Rules


11 thoughts on “Six Degrees of Separation

  1. Love ‘The Glory of Woman’ inclusion, Kristen. What a gorgeous heirloom. One of my oldest books is the 1904 ‘Astrology for all’ by Alan Leo and I have a precious ‘Whitla’s Dictionary of Treatment’, (a 1942 8th Edition). Love the smell of old books. Yours is extra special though, having belonged to your great-grandmother.

    • Thanks for swinging by!
      I love old books too- they are so beautifully crafted. I only have sons, so I think I’ll pass on ‘The Glory of Woman’ to my eldest son with a sticky note on top: ‘How NOT to Treat/Perceive Women (with a few exceptions)’! 🙂

      • Yes, that is a great inclusion! I like the idea of the note for your son. We have a hilarious old book from my husband’s mother called The Motherhood Book including a chapter on ‘artificial feeding’, needless to say didn’t take much advice from it but it was certainly good for a laugh.

  2. I like your chain, Kristen, and yes, it makes for a particular kind of reading list 🙂 I read a lot of very old anatomy books for research some years back but I never came across yours. It looks rather fascinating.

    • Thanks, Amanda. If you ever need counsel about how to be a good wife, or, better yet, an ideal woman, please feel free to come and and study my lovely tome! On a serious note, there’s some crazy eugenics stuff in there…

  3. I bought copies of The Bloody Chamber and Heroes and Villains not long ago. I think Angela Carter’s great.

    • Angela Carter somehow passed me by. Though I am, most definitely, a feminist, I get put off by that ra-ra-ra brand of feminism and that has made me think I might not like her.

  4. Great list Kristen. Another blogger also included Virginia Wolff. Sad stories both. I was a huge fan of Jeanette Winterson in my early twenties. Much underlining in my copies of her books.

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