Women As Authors English Literature
Monster, She Wrote
The Women Who Pioneered Horror & Speculative Fiction
Hardcover ISBN: 1683691385
Meet the women writers who defied convention to craft some of literature’s strangest tales, from Frankenstein to The Haunting of Hill House and beyond. Frankenstein was just the beginning: horror stories and other weird fiction wouldn’t exist without the women who created it. From Gothic ghost stories to psychological horror to science fiction, women have been primary architects of speculative literature of all sorts. And their own life stories are as intriguing as their fiction. Everyone knows about Mary Shelley, creator of Frankenstein, who was rumored to keep her late husband’s heart in her desk drawer. But have you heard of Margaret “Mad Madge” Cavendish, who wrote a science-fiction epic 150 years earlier (and liked to wear topless gowns to the theater)? If you know the astounding work of Shirley Jackson, whose novel The Haunting of Hill House was reinvented as a Netflix series, then try the psychological hauntings of Violet Paget, who was openly involved in long-term romantic relationships with women in the Victorian era. You’ll meet celebrated icons (Ann Radcliffe, V. C. Andrews), forgotten wordsmiths (Eli Colter, Ruby Jean Jensen), and today’s vanguard (Helen Oyeyemi). Curated reading lists point you to their most spine-chilling tales. Part biography, part reader’s guide, the engaging write-ups and detailed reading lists will introduce you to more than a hundred authors and over two hundred of their mysterious and spooky novels, novellas, and stories.
All Passion Spent
Paperback ISBN: 052543397x
Irreverently funny and surprisingly moving, All Passion Spent is the story of a woman who discovers who she is just before it is too late. After the death of elder statesman Lord Slane—a former prime minister of Great Britain and viceroy of India—everyone assumes that his eighty-eight-year-old widow will slowly fade away in her grief, remaining as proper, decorative, and dutiful as she has been her entire married life. But the deceptively gentle Lady Slane has other ideas. First she defies the patronizing meddling of her children and escapes to a rented house in Hampstead. There, to her offspring’s utter amazement, she revels in her new freedom, recalls her youthful ambitions, and gathers some very unsuitable companions—who reveal to her just how much she had sacrificed under the pressure of others’ expectations.
Paperback ISBN: 0940322862
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.
Paperback ISBN: 1590174976
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, and her incredible will to achieve it, becomes her whole life. Angel is confidant, ambitious, selfish, and successful, and she lets no one—mother, aunt, editor, best friend, husband—stand in her way. Elizabeth Taylor’s Angel, unlike Angel’s own novels, is self-aware, funny, and subtly layered. It both sharply satirizes its protagonist and acknowledges the intensity of her imagination and the rigor of her work, all the while seeing her as fully human, complicated, and even sympathetic.
A Life of My Own
Paperback ISBN: 0399562931
Esteemed biographer and legendary literary editor Claire Tomalin's stunning memoir of a life in literature “[An] intelligent and humane book…There is genuine appeal in watching this indomitable woman continue to chase the next draft of herself." —Dwight Garner, The New York Times In A Life of My Own, the renowned biographer of Charles Dickens, Samuel Pepys, and Thomas Hardy, and former literary editor for the Sunday Times reflects on a remarkable life surrounded by writers and books. From discovering books as a form of escapism during her parents' difficult divorce, to pursuing poetry at Cambridge, where she meets and marries Nicholas Tomalin, the ambitious and striving journalist, Tomalin always steered herself towards a passionate involvement with art. She relives the glittering London literary scene of the 1960s, during which Tomalin endured her husband's constant philandering and numerous affairs, and revisits the satisfaction of being commissioned to write her first book, a biography of the early feminist Mary Wollstonecraft. In biography, she found her vocation. However, when Nick is killed in 1973 while reporting in Israel, the mother of four put aside her writing to assume the position of literary editor of the New Statesman. Her career soared when she later moved to the Sunday Times, and she tells with dazzling candor of this time in her life spent working alongside the literary lights of 1970s London. But, the pain of her young daughter's suicide and the challenges of caring for her disabled son as a single mother test Claire's strength and persistence. It is not until later in life that she is able to return to what gave her such purpose decades ago, writing biographies, and finds enduring love with her now-husband, playwright Michael Frayn. Marked by honesty, humility, and grace, rendered in the most elegant of prose, A Life of My Own is a portrait of a life, replete with joy and heartbreak. With quiet insight and unsparing clarity, Tomalin writes autobiography at its most luminous, delivering an astonishing and emotionally-taut masterpiece.
History Is Our Mother
Three Libretti: Nixon in China / The Death of Klinghoffer / The Magic Flute
Paperback ISBN: 1681370646
An NYRB Classics Original Nixon in China and The Death of Klinghoffer played a crucial role in bringing opera back to life as a contemporary art form, and they have been popular—and, in the case of Klinghoffer, highly controversial—ever since they were first staged by the director Peter Sellars in the eighties and nineties. Both operas were conceived from the start as collaborations between composer and writer, and their power is due as much to the dazzlingly constructed and deeply felt libretti of the poet Alice Goodman as they are to John Adams’s music. Nixon in China is a story, at once heroic, comic, and unnerving, of men and women making history and of their different conceptions of what history is and what it means to makes it. Klinghoffer, by contrast, has at its center the tragedy of an innocent man condemned at the cost of his life to play a part in history. History Is Our Mother, which takes its title from a line sung by the title character in Nixon in China, brings Goodman’s two libretti together for the first time in book form. Included alongside Goodman’s no less inspired translation of Lorenzo Da Ponte’s famous libretto to The Magic Flute, these vivid dramas of character and searching meditations on fate are here revealed as among the most original, ambitious, and accomplished poetic achievements of our time.
A Game of Hide and Seek
Paperback ISBN: 1590174968
The mid-twentieth century British novelist Elizabeth Taylor numbered among her admirers Elizabeth Bowen, Ivy Compton- Burnett, and Kingsley Amis. She also regularly published stories in The New Yorker for close to two decades. For all that, her work, as steely as it is delicate, remains the secret of a small number of intensely devoted readers. The publication of her finest novel, A Game of Hide and Seek, long unavailable in the United States, should help to change that. This is an unabashed love story, capturing all the uncertainty and inevitability and deceptiveness of true love, tracking the shifting currents of emotional life, and never yielding to melodrama. Set in Britain between the wars, a time of transition between old convention and new ways, the book has for a heroine Harriet, the only child of a suffragette, whom we meet as a shy and domestic and not especially smart or pretty girl. At eighteen she falls in love with Vesey, but after Vesey must go away, she marries another man, Charles, and bears a child. Then Vesey returns. Love is at the center of the book, but so too is Taylor’s extraordinary knack for depicting characters. The minor figures in the book—from Harriet’s mother’s friend Caroline, with her progressive politics, to Charles, his coworkers, and his mother, to Betsy with her schoolgirl crush on her Greek teacher—are as memorable as the passion and heartache of Harriet and Vesey.
Dancing Fish and Ammonites
Hardcover ISBN: 0670016551
"The beloved and bestselling author takes an intimate look back at a life of reading and writing. "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 weare 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"--