Your cart


Total AUD



  • Virago
  • Virago

Outsiders: Five Women Writers Who Changed the World

Lyndall Gordon

Write Review

Rated 0

Biography: literary, Prose: non-fiction

An exciting and provocative look at the women who wrote the novels that changed the literary world - Mary Shelley, Emily Bronte, George Eliot, Olive Schreiner, Virginia Woolf - by the renowned biographer of Emily Dickinson

OUTSIDERS tells the stories of five novelists - Mary Shelley, Emily Bronte, George Eliot, Olive Schreiner, Virginia Woolf - and their famous novels.

We have long known their individual greatness but in linking their creativity to their lives as outsiders, this group biography throws new light on the genius they share. 'Outsider', 'outlaw', 'outcast': a woman's reputation was her security and each of these five lost it. As writers, they made these identities their own, taking advantage of their separation from the dominant order to write their novels.

All five were motherless. With no female model at hand, they learnt from books; and if lucky, from an enlightened man; and crucially each had to imagine what a woman could be in order to invent a voice of their own. They understood female desire: the passion and sexual bravery in their own lives infused their fictions.
What they have in common also is the way they inform one another, and us, across the generations. Even today we do more than read them; we listen and live with them.

Lyndall Gordon's biographies have always shown the indelible connection between life and art: an intuitive, exciting and revealing approach that has been highly praised and much read and enjoyed. She names each of these five as prodigy, visionary, outlaw, orator and explorer and shows how they came, they saw and left us changed.

Read More Read Less

Lyndall Gordon

Lyndall Gordon was born in Cape Town and studied American Literature at Columbia University in New York. She came to England through the Rhodes Trust in 1973.

She is the prize-winning author of biographies including The Imperfect Life of T. S. Eliot; Henry James: His Women and his Art; Charlotte Bronte: A Passionate Life; Virginia Woolf: A Writer's Life; Vindication: A Life of Mary Wollstonecraft; Lives Like Loaded Guns: Emily Dickinson and Her Family Feuds and Outsiders: Five Women Writers Who Changed the World. There are also two memoirs, Shared Lives, A Story of Women's Friendship, and Divided Lives, about her mother, whose spiritual journey opened up Eliot's poetry for her. She has written the 'Life' for the Eliot website:

Lyndall Gordon is a fellow of St Hilda's College, Oxford and a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. She lives in Oxford.

This website uses cookies. Using this website means you are okay with this but you can find out more and learn how to manage your cookie choices here.Close cookie policy overlay