The Words of a Woman: A Literary Mosaic

A Course in Butterflies - A Novel by Christine Mary McGinley
A Course in Butterflies - A Novel by Christine Mary McGinley

The Words of a Woman is a literary mosaic and dramatic monologue composed entirely of excerpts from the written works of exceptional women from literature and history. It is an exploration of the female voice in literature and in life.

Complete with Christine Mary McGinley’s story of how she came to create this extraordinary work, as well as her reflections about the artists, thinkers, and writers from whose words the piece is composed, this moving meditation on life, love, learning, and the art of writing is a literary treasure.

Voices included in The Words of a Woman are those of:

Anna Akhmatova, Lou Andreas–Salome, Hannah Arendt, Aung San Suu Kyi, Jane Austen, Simone de Beauvoir, Charlotte Bronte, Emily Bronte, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Willa Cather, Colette, Marie Curie, Bernadette Devlin, Emily Dickinson, Annie Dillard, Hilda Doolittle, Isadora Duncan, Isabelle Eberhardt, George Eliot, Margaret Fuller, Gildas (through Ruth White), Joan Halifax, Alice James, Sarah Orne Jewett, Doris Lessing, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Katherine Mansfield, Beryl Markham, Gabriela Mistral, Marlo Morgan, Florence Nightingale, Flannery O’Connor, Katherine Anne Porter, Ayn Rand, George Sand, Sappho, May Sarton, Olive Schreiner, Mary Shelley, Gertrude Stein, Ting Ling, Jeanne de Vietinghoff, Alice Walker, Simone Weil, Eudora Welty, Edith Wharton, Marion Post Wolcott, Mary Wollstonecraft, Virginia Woolf, Machaelle Small Wright, and Marguerite Yourcenar.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Mary Wollstonecraft, Gabriel Mistral, Edith Wharton

Responses to The Words of a Woman:

“A coherent meditation on the mystery and beauty of life, so rich in its mosaic of insights from so many great writers that it cannot be grasped in a single exposure.” – H. H. Hatcher

“Genderless, ageless, timeless … If the humanities’ promise is to inspire us to ask who we are and what our lives mean, this is a fresh and captivating way to fulfill that promise.” -Janet Kreger

“This book is a rare find. The writer has woven together select passages from the works of known writers which define the human experience. But it is much more than an anthology. The writer has deftly expressed the essence of her own point of view in exquisite and thoughtful prose. This is a book to read and reread for the beauty of her use of language and her keen insight to the human heart.” -Liz Nolan

“Your particular genius is in presenting powerful literature in a new way, giving it new life, to reach new audiences…an excellent and compelling piece of work.” -Robert J. Klaus

Hardcover, 160 pages
Crown Publishers, Inc. 1999
ISBN: 0-609-60411-2

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Color Photo Collage

Doris Lessing, Aung San Suu Kyi, Alice Walker, Mary Shelley

Black and White Photo Collage

Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Mary Wollstonecraft, Gabriel Mistral, Edith Wharton

Photo Attribution

Alice Walker By Virginia DeBolt (Alice Walker speaks) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Edith Wharton Photo by CSU Archives / Everett Collection / Rex Features (706757a) Edith Wharton, American Novelist circa. 1884. VARIOUS (1862-1937)

Doris Lessing By Doris_lessing_20060312_(jha).jpg: Elke Wetzig (elya) derivative work: PRA (Doris_lessing_20060312_(jha).jpg) [CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0 (, CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons

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