Now back in print, this feminist classic explores how women define themselves and their lives in terms of novels. Many of the greatest novels in English have women as their protagonists, and women have always been the novel's most faithful readers. Why is it that fiction and women relate so intimately?
A dazzling new biography of Vita Sackville-West, the 20th century aristocrat, literary celebrity, devoted wife, famous lover of Virginia Woolf, recluse, and iconoclast who defied categorization.
In this stunning new biography of Vita Sackville-West, Matthew Dennison's Behind the Mask traces the triumph and contradictions of Vita's extraordinary life. His narrative charts a fascinating course from Vita's lonely childhood at Knole, through her affectionate but 'open' marriage to Harold Nicolson (during which both husband and wife energetically pursued homosexual affairs, Vita most famously with Virginia Woolf), and through Vita's literary successes and disappointments, to the famous gardens the couple created at Sissinghurst. The book tells how, from her privileged world of the aristocracy, Sackville-West brought her penchant for costume, play-acting and rebellion to the artistic vanguard of modern Britain. Dennison is the acclaimed author of many books including a biography of Queen Victoria.
Here, in the first biography to be written of Vita for thirty years, he reveals the whole story and gets behind 'the beautiful mask' of Vita's public achievements to reveal an often troubled persona which heroically resisted compromise on every level. Drawing on wideranging sources and the extensive letters that sustained her marriage, this is a compelling story of love, loss and jealousy, of high-life and low points, of binding affection and illicit passion - a portrait of an extraordinary, 20th-century life.
Though a familiar name, little was known about the English mystic Margery Kempe (c. 1373-c. 1440) for hundreds of years except that she had an association with the great Julian of Norwich. This all changed in 1934 with the discovery of The Book of Margery Kempe in a library where it had lain hidden for four hundred years. Finding Margery's own story was important not just because of the light it shed on her life, but it also turned out to be the first known autobiography in the English language. Even more intriguing to the experts of the day, this unique document was written by a woman.But if anyone had expected to find her anything like her cloistered contemporary, Julian, they were in for something of a surprise. Far from being a typical holy woman, Margery Kempe was married and mother of fourteen children. Moreover, she had been a woman of substance, even running a large brewery for a time. After turning to religion, she traveled thousands of miles around the known world on pilgrimages to distant lands. Beyond the circumstances of her life, what's most compelling about the text is the inner Margery that emerges. Her account of spiritual awakening, far from being a blissful episode is instead full of conflict and recrimination. What good was this new way of life if it caused her such trouble? Was this really the only way to lead a holy life? Margery remained unsure of the answers. But her patience in her struggle is a wonder to behold, and an example for us today.
In this fascinating study, Samantha George explores the cultivation of the female mind and the feminised discourse of botanical literature in eighteenth-century Britain. In particular, she discusses British women's engagement with the Swedish botanist, Carl Linnaeus, and his unsettling discovery of plant sexuality. Previously ignored primary texts of an extraordinary nature are rescued from obscurity and assigned a proper place in the histories of science, eighteenth-century literature, and women's writing. The result is groundbreaking: the author explores nationality and sexuality debates in relation to botany and charts the appearance of a new literary stereotype, the sexually precocious female botanist. She uncovers an anonymous poem on Linnaean botany, handwritten in the eighteenth century, and subsequently traces the development of a new genre of women's writing - the botanical poem with scientific notes. The book is indispensable reading for all scholars of the eighteenth century, especially those interested in Romantic women's writing, or the relationship between literature and science.
Lavinia Brandon is quite the loveliest widow in Barsetshire, blessed with beauty and grace, as well as two handsome grown-up children, Delia and Francis. So thinks their cousin Hilary Grant when he comes to stay and - like many before him - promptly falls for his fragrant hostess. Meanwhile, the Brandons' ill-tempered dowager aunt is stirring up controversy over her legacy, and Lavinia's attention is further occupied by the challenges of making a match between the vicar and gifted village helpmeet Miss Morris, and elegantly deterring her love-struck suitors. Angela Thirkell's 1930s comedy is bright, witty and winning.
Highlighting the remarkable women who found ways around the constraints placed on their intellectual growth, this collection of essays shows how their persistence opened up attributes of potent female imagination, radical endeavour, literary vigour, and self-education that compares well with male intellectual achievement in the long eighteenth century. Disseminating their knowledge through literary and documentary prose with unapologetic self-confidence, women such as Anna Barbauld, Anna Seward, Elizabeth Inchbald and Joanna Baillie usurped subjects perceived as masculine to contribute to scientific, political, philosophical and theological debate and progress. This multifaceted exploration goes beyond traditional readings of women's creativity to add fresh, at times controversial, insights into the female view of the intellectual world. Bringing together leading experts on British women's lives, work and writings, the volume seeks to rediscover women's appropriations of masculine disciplines and to examine their interventions into the intellectual world. Through their engagement with a unique perspective on women's lives and achievements, the essays make important contributions to the existing body of knowledge in this important area that will inform future scholarship.
This book shows how British women writers' encounters with textual and visual representations of ancient Egyptian women such as Hathor, Isis, and Cleopatra influenced how British women represented their own desired emancipation in novels, poetry, drama, romances, and fictional treatises. Molly Youngkin argues that canonical women writers such as Florence Nightingale and George Eliot-and less canonical figures such as Katharine Bradley and Edith Cooper (who wrote under the name 'Michael Field') and Elinor Glyn-incorporated their knowledge of ancient Egyptian women's cultural power in only a limited fashion when presenting their visions for emancipation. Often, they represented ancient Greek women or Italian Renaissance women rather than ancient Egyptian women, since Greek and Italian cultures were more familiar and less threatening to their British audience. This notable distinction opens up discussions about the history of British women, their writing, and the British view on gender in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Focusing on British women writers' knowledge of ancient Egypt, Youngkin shows the oftentimes limited but pervasive representations of ancient Egyptian women in their written and visual works. Images of Hathor, Isis, and Cleopatra influenced how British writers such as George Eliot and Edith Cooper came to represent female emancipation.
This timely anthology offers a broad selection of critical texts--introductions, prefaces, periodical essays, literary reviews--written by women of the Romantic era. The collection offers fuel for some of the most topical debates in British Romantic period studies including professionalism, nationalism and the literary canon.
This timely anthology offers a broad selection of critical texts - introductions, prefaces, periodical essays, literary reviews - written by women of the Romantic era. The collection offers fuel for some of the most topical debates in British Romantic period studies including professionalism, nationalism and the literary canon.