Time's top-read female authors list accidentally includes man
An undated photo of novelist Evelyn Waugh. (Carl Van Vechten/United States Library of Congress)
Josh Dehaas, CTVNews.ca
Published Thursday, February 25, 2016 2:45PM EST
Time.com has issued a correction after ranking Evelyn Waugh #97 on its list of the 100 Most Read Female Authors on Campus.
“Correction: The original version of this story included Evelyn Waugh, who was a man,” wrote the venerable magazine Thursday.
The error caused quite a stir on Twitter.
Some pointed out their surprise that the magazine had erred about Waugh after it correctly identified George Eliot as a female. George Eliot was the pseudonym of Mary Ann Cross, a Victorian novelist whose publisher opted to use a man’s name instead.
Quietly thrilled that Time included Evelyn Waugh in their 100 most read women writers. Wonder if they had qualms about no.10: George Eliot— VictoriaG (@ancientnmodern) February 25, 2016
Some took the error as an opportunity to make social commentary about diversity in literature.
Most strangely perhaps, more than one Twitter user saw Waugh’s name “trending” and simply assumed “she” was dead. In fact, Waugh, the male novelist, died in 1966.
Oh no Evelyn Waugh is trending, I do hope she isn't dead :-s— An Elephant's Child. (@1ElephantsChild) February 25, 2016
When I saw Evelyn Waugh was trending I feared she might have died!— Lummel (@fuzzle7777) February 25, 2016
Evelyn Waugh trending. Wonder if he was’t dead as I’d assumed but now is. Checks. Nope, just mistaken for a woman.— Tim Brock (@TimBrock_DtD) February 25, 2016
Time’s ranking, based on 1.1 million university syllabi from across the English-speaking world, shows that Jane Austen, Virginia Wolf, Susan Sontag and former First Lady Barbara Bush are among the most commonly assigned writers.