Originally published alongside Ulysses in the pages of the legendary Little Review, Mary Olivier: A Life is an intimate, lacerating account of the ties between daughter and mother, a book of transfixing images and troubling moral intelligence that confronts the exigencies and ambiguities of freedom and responsibility with empathy and power. May Sinclair's finest novel stands comparison with the work of Willa Cather, Katherine Mansfield, and the young Virginia Woolf.As a child, Mary Olivier's dreamy disposition and fierce intelligence set her apart from her Victorian family, especially her mother, "Little Mamma," whose dazzling looks cannot hide her meager love for her only daughter. Mary grows up in a world of her own, a solitude that leaves her free to explore her deepest passions, for literature and philosophy, for the austere beauties of England's north country, even as she continues to attend to her family. But in time the independence Mary values--at almost any cost--threatens to become a form of captivity itself.
"I would venture to guess that Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman."In A Room of One's Own, Virginia Woolf imagines that Shakespeare had a sister--a sister equal to Shakespeare in talent, and equal in genius, but whose legacy is radically different. This imaginary woman never writes a word and dies by her own hand, her genius unexpressed. If only she had found the means to create, argues Woolf, she would have reached the same heights as her immortal sibling. In this classic essay, Woolf takes on the establishment, using her gift of language to dissect the world around her and give voice to those who are without. Her message is a simple one: women must have a steady income and a room of their own in order to have the freedom to create. With a Foreword by Mary Gordon
Harriet and Vesey meet when they are teenagers, and their love is as intense and instantaneous as it is innocent. But they are young. All life still lies ahead. Vesey heads off hopefully to pursue a career as an actor. Harriet marries and has a child, becoming a settled member of suburban society. And then Vesey returns, the worse for wear, and with him the love whose memory they have both sentimentally cherished, and even after so much has happened it cannot be denied. But things are not at all as they used to be. Love, it seems, is hardly designed to survive life.
One of the finest twentieth-century English novelists, Elizabeth Taylor, like her contemporaries Graham Greene, Richard Yates, and Michelangelo Antonioni, was a connoisseur of the modern world's forsaken zones. Her characters are real, people caught out by their own desires and decisions, and they demand our attention. The be-stilled suburban backwaters she sets out to explore shimmer in her books with the punishing clarity of a desert mirage.
Perhaps every novelist harbors a monster at heart, an irrepressible and utterly irresponsible fantasist, not to mention a born and ingenious liar, without which all her art would go for naught. Angel, at any rate, is the story of such a monster. Angelica Deverell lives above her diligent, drab mother's grocery shop in a dreary turn-of-the-century English neighborhood, but spends her days dreaming of handsome Paradise House, where her aunt is enthroned as a maid. But in Angel's imagination, she is the mistress of the house, a realm of lavish opulence, of evening gowns and peacocks. Then she begins to write popular novels, and this fantasy becomes her life. And now that she has tasted success, Angel has no intention of letting anyone stand in her way--except, perhaps, herself.
An intense exploration of the life and works of Doris Lessing and how their themes are reflected in the writer's own life.
Free Woman begins at a wedding and ends in the African bush. This is a memoir of Feigel's own journey as a writer, which becomes enmeshed with that of Doris Lessing. Co-opting a dead novelist into an obsessive, ambivalent relationship, Feigel sets about learning from her about how to live.
Rereading The Golden Notebook in her midthirties, shortly after Doris Lessing's death, Lara Feigel discovered that Lessing was a writer who spoke directly to her about her experiences as a woman, writer, and mother in a way that no other novelist had done. At a time when she was dissatisfied with the constraints that she felt she and her generation seemed to accept blindly, Feigel was enticed particularly by Lessing's vision of freedom.
Part memoir, part biography, and part literary criticism, Free Woman is an examination of Lessing's life and work, structured as a series of nine investigations of sexual, psychological, intellectual, and political freedom. Feigel combines incisive writing, elegant exploration, and intimate revelations with a delicate sensitivity to relationships (both real and in literature) in times of great stress to mesmerizing effect.
"Not Just Jane restores seven of England's most fascinating and subversive literary voices to their rightful places in history. Shelley DeWees tells each woman writer's story with wit, passion, and an astute understanding of the society in which she lived and wrote."
--Dr. Amanda Foreman, New York Times bestselling author of Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire
Jane Austen and the Bront s endure as British literature's leading ladies (and for good reason)--but were these reclusive parsons' daughters really the only writing women of their day? A feminist history of literary Britain, this witty, fascinating nonfiction debut explores the extraordinary lives and work of seven long-forgotten authoresses, and asks: Why did their considerable fame and influence, and a vibrant culture of female creativity, fade away? And what are we missing because of it?
You've likely read at least one Jane Austen novel (or at least seen a film one). Chances are you've also read Jane Eyre; if you were an exceptionally moody teenager, you might have even read Wuthering Heights. English majors might add George Eliot or Virginia Woolf to this list...but then the trail ends. Were there truly so few women writing anything of note during late 18th and 19th century Britain?
In Not Just Jane, Shelley DeWees weaves history, biography, and critical analysis into a rip-roaring narrative of the nation's fabulous, yet mostly forgotten, female literary heritage. As the country, and women's roles within it, evolved, so did the publishing industry, driving legions of ladies to pick up their pens and hit the parchment. Focusing on the creative contributions and personal stories of seven astonishing women, among them pioneers of detective fiction and the modern fantasy novel, DeWees assembles a riveting, intimate, and ruthlessly unromanticized portrait of female life--and the literary landscape--during this era. In doing so, she comes closer to understanding how a society could forget so many of these women, who all enjoyed success, critical acclaim, and a fair amount of notoriety during their time, and realizes why, now more than ever, it's vital that we remember.
Rediscover Charlotte Turner Smith, Helen Maria Williams, Mary Robinson, Catherine Crowe, Sara Coleridge, Dinah Mulock Craik, and Mary Elizabeth Braddon.
The memory that we live with . . . is the moth-eaten version of our own past that each of us carries around, depends on. It is our ID; this is how we know who we are and where we have been.
Memory and history have been Penelope Lively s terrain in fiction over a career that has spanned five decades. But she has only rarely given readers a glimpse into her influences and formative years.
Dancing Fish and Ammonites traces the arc of Lively s life, stretching from her early childhood in Cairo to boarding school in England to the sweeping social changes of Britain s twentieth century. She reflects on her early love of archeology, the fragments of the ancients that have accompanied her journey including a sherd of Egyptian ceramic depicting dancing fish and ammonites found years ago on a Dorset beach. She also writes insightfully about aging and what life looks like from where she now stands."