Romantic Outlaws The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Her Daughter Mary Shelley

by Charlotte Gordon

Biography / Autobiography History

Romantic Outlaws The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Her Daughter Mary Shelley Synopsis

English feminist Mary Wollstonecraft and author Mary Shelley were mother and daughter, yet these two extraordinary women never knew one another. Nevertheless, their passionate and pioneering lives remained closely intertwined, their choices, dreams and tragedies eerily similar. Both Marys became famous writers, fell in love with brilliant but impossible men, and were single mothers out of wedlock; both lived in exile, fought for their position in society and thought deeply about how we should live. They also broke every rigid convention thrust upon them: Wollstonecraft chased pirates in Scandinavia and sailed to Paris to witness the Revolution. Shelley eloped in a fishing boat with a married man and faced down bandits in Naples. Wollstonecraft proclaimed that women's liberty should matter to everyone. Not only did Wollstonecraft pen the landmark book, The Vindication of the Rights of Woman, her work ignited Romanticism, inspiring a whole new generation of writers, including her daughter. At just nineteen years old, Mary travelled around Italy with Percy Shelley and Lord Byron, and there wrote Frankenstein. Having pushed the boundaries of the literary form, she went on to become the editor of her husband's poetry - a feat of scholarship that established his posthumous reputation.

The Good Book Guide Review

Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley (née Godwin) were mother and daughter, although they never knew one another. The author of The Vindication of the Rights of Woman, Mary Wollstonecraft died of ‘childbed fever’ just after her second daughter’s birth in August 1797, leaving her to be raised by her father William Godwin, an intellectual heavyweight like his dead wife whose work helped to light the torch of Romanticism, inspiring a whole new radical generation of writers, including their own daughter, Mary Shelley. Mary, gifted and beautiful, was already travelling round Italy in 1816, aged 19, in the company of Lord Byron and her future husband, Percy Shelley, and it was in Italy that she broke the boundaries of literary form herself by writing Frankenstein. Later, she would edit her dead husband’s poetry, a feat of scholarship that established his posthumous reputation. This most exciting story is literary biography at its best.

Romantic Outlaws The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Her Daughter Mary Shelley Press Reviews

'Romantic Outlaws is a gripping account of the heartbreaks and triumphs of two of history's most formidable female intellectuals, Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley. Gordon has reunited mother and daughter through biography, beautifully weaving their narratives for the first time.' -- Amanda Foreman author of A World on Fire

 

'Charlotte Gordon reunites a mother and daughter tragically separated at birth in this rousing and surpassingly readable epic spanning the Romantic era. Wordsworth and Byron must step aside to make room for two brilliant women, Mary Wollstonecraft and her daughter Mary Shelley, early and late Romantics whose remarkable contributions to their time and ours lend Gordon's artfully twined tale special significance' -- Megan Marshall Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Margaret Fuller: A New American Life and The Peabody Sisters

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9780091958947
Publication date: 23/04/2015
Publisher: Hutchinson an imprint of Cornerstone
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9780091958947
Publication date: 23rd April 2015
Author: Charlotte Gordon
Publisher: Hutchinson an imprint of Cornerstone
Format: Hardback
Genres: Biography / Autobiography, History,
Categories:

About Charlotte Gordon

Charlotte Gordon is a prize-winning poet and biographer. She received her undergraduate degree in English and American Literature from Harvard University and a Ph.D. from Boston University. Since 1986, she has taught creative writing, history, literature, religion, and theatre. Her poetry has won many prizes, including a Robert Penn Warren Award. Her biography of the seventeenth-century poet, Anne Bradstreet, Mistress Bradstreet: The Untold Life of America's First Poet won a Massachusetts Book Award for non-fiction.

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