The acclaimed biographer of T.S. Eliot, Charlotte Bronte, Virginia Woolf and Henry James turns now to one of the greatest women of history. 'A biography that's as passionate and humane as its subject' Kelly Grovier, Observer
In this stunning new biography of the eighteenth-century writer Mary Wollstonecraft, Lyndall Gordon explores the life of a woman often criticised by biographers, historians and feminists alike. Gordon challenges such slanders, and portrays instead the genius of this extraordinary woman. The two-generation approach to her life examines not only Wollstonecraft herself, but also her effect on her daughters and heirs (Mary Shelley, Fanny Imlay, Claire Clairmont and Margaret Mount Cashell), and the ways in which they carried her influence into subsequent generations.
Gordon takes stock of Wollstonecraft's life in accord with her own values rather than through the reputation history has given her. The author looks at her important relationships with Gilbert Imlay and William Godwin, and her ideas about issues such as the problems of communication between the sexes and parenthood. Through this brilliant study, Gordon, the author of biographies of Virginia Woolf and Charlotte Bront among others, successfully reinterprets Mary Wollstonecraft for the twenty-first century.
Gordon's moving tribute brings alive the depth and complexity of the woman, and the intellectual debt that generations of Wollstonecraft's political daughters owe her to this day.' Melissa Benn - The Independent 'Gordon's biographical method is exciting. From this beautifully written book, Wollstonecraft emerges as a triumphant success, despite all adversity and slights of fate. - Ruth Scurr - The Times 'Brings alive the depth and complexity of the woman'
Melissa Benn, Independent ''Gordon's biographical method is exciting. . .From this fair and finely balanced book, Wollstonecraft emerges as a triumphant success, despite all adversity and sleights of fate - Ruth Scurr - The Times
Gordon presents her subject with a freshness that makes the reader feel they are being introduced to this familiar figure for the very first time. The impression of newness is magnified by Gordon's use of overlooked and recently excavated souces which shed much needed light on the darker corridors of Wollstonecraft's life - Observer
It is the elasticity and range of Gordon's mind that make this biography so rewarding - Sunday Times