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Bibliographies are a great way of compiling a list of books to collect since it provides an exhaustive list of authors’ works. Any avid reader, student, researcher or potential book collector can refer to a bibliography for inspiration on what to read next, study or add to their collection.

One genre of books I am interested in collecting includes works by British Women Writers, ideally in the 18th and 19th centuries. What is most unique about women during this time was they were not expected to hold positions involving pursuits that normally only men were believed to be capable of. Women at this time in history were thought of as not being bright enough to having writing ability. As a result, many if not most of these women either hid their writing ability and either kept their works to themselves or shared it with a select few. Still, other women submitted their work in a male pen-name.

I’ve acquired a book titled Nineteenth-Century British Women Writers – A Bio-Bibliographical Critical Source book [Edited by Abigail Burnham-Bloom; Copyright 2000]. This publication is both a biography and bibliography. What makes this book especially informative is while it tells me about the lifestyle, education and childhood of each author I can also get a listing of books she’s written. As a result, I’ve realized that similar to many authors today, these women included aspects of their actual lives in the stories they wrote.

Combining the biography and bibliography information in one publication has been, especially helpful for me to gain an understanding of not only the authors’ background but her works as well. This type of publication will also include suggested reading written “about” the author.

A typical chapter in this publication provides a biography of the subject writer, discusses her major works and themes she’s written, critical reception which indicates whether the work was well received or altered in any form, and finally the bibliography which is categorized in two sections—selected works by the subject author and studies conducted about the subject author.

One particular subject author, Victoria Queen of Great Britain, I’ve learned kept a daily journal since the age of 13. Her writings include letters to her family, memos to her household and ministers, servants. The topics of which she wrote included the experience of childbirth and missionary work in the Empire, her opinions on current issues, and details of her family life.

I find bibliographies to be extremely useful with almost no end to the information I may gain from them.

British Women Writers cover