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Outsiders


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Outsiders
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Outsiders

Lyndall Gordon


ISBN 9780349006345


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 Brontë, 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.

The Author

lyndall gordonLyndall Gordon is the prize-winning author of six biographies,including Lives Like Loaded Guns:Emily Dickinson and Her Family's Feuds and The Imperfect Life of TS Eliot, and also Shared Lives, a memoir of women's friendship in her native South Africa. She is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and lives in Oxford where she is a fellow of St Hilda's College.

 


 

 

 

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Reviews, News & Interviews:

The work and lives of Emily Bronte, George Eliot, Mary Shelley, Olive Schreiner and Virginia Woolf are well known. Gordon's thesis sets out just how original and brave they were - and at what cost. We owe them much. Joan Bakewell, New Statesman

Lyndall Gordon's empathetic commitment to the unfolding story in the lives of literary figures is central to her work. Daily Telegraph

Impeccably researched . . . an excellent read. The Lady

Gordon succeeds in showing not only the pain but "the possibilities of the outsider" . While distinctive in their voices, these writers converge "in their hatred of our violent world", exposing domestic and systemic violence. Their strength of spirit shines from the pages and through the ages. Anita Sethi, Observer