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Belle: The Slave Daughter and the Lord Chief Justice Paperback – April 29, 2014
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"Hitler's Forgotten Children" by Ingrid von Oelhafen
The Lebensborn program abducted as many as half a million children from across Europe. Through a process called Germanization, they were to become the next generation of the Aryan master race in the second phase of the Final Solution. Hitler's Forgotten Children is both a harrowing personal memoir and a devastating investigation into the awful crimes and monstrous scope of the Lebensborn program. Learn more | See related books
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Vividly persuasive…. THE REAL JANE AUSTEN is excellent… particularly on the dissonant topics of theater and slavery….Byrnes section on slavery is better still, establishing links between Austen’s protagonists and contemporary figures, her pointed references and contemporary events, which highlight her supposedly oblivious fiction’s sharp views on the slave trade.” (New York Times Book Review for THE REAL JANE AUSTEN)
“Byrne takes Austen seriously as a writer...[she] brings to life a woman of “wonderful exuberance and self-confidence,” of “firm opinions and strong passions.” Little wonder that every other man she meets seems to fall in love with her.” (Michael Dirda, Washington Post for THE REAL JANE AUSTEN)
“Byrne brings to this brief history an eye for telling details of daily life, slaveholders’ unthinkable cruelty, and the fervent work of a few good men and women who changed their world.” (Kirkus Reviews)
From the Back Cover
The sensational tale of the first mixed-race girl introduced to high-society England and raised as a lady...
The illegitimate daughter of a captain in the Royal Navy and an enslaved African woman, Dido Belle was raised by her great-uncle, the Earl of Mansfield, one of the most powerful men of the time and a leading opponent of slavery. When the portrait he commissioned of his two wards, Dido and her white cousin, Elizabeth, was unveiled, eighteenth-century England was shocked to see a black woman and white woman depicted as equals. Inspired by the painting, Belle vividly brings to life this extraordinary woman caught between two worlds, and illuminates the great civil rights question of her age: the fight to end slavery.
The feature film Belle is produced by Damian Jones (The Iron Lady, The History Boys, Welcome to Sarajevo), written by Misan Sagay, and directed by Amma Asante, and stars the extraordinary Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Dido Belle, Tom Wilkinson, Sam Reid, Miranda Richardson, Penelope Wilton, Tom Felton, Matthew Goode, and Emily Watson.
More About the Author
Paula is represented by The Wylie Agency. She is an Executive Trustee of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and a Royal Literary Fund Fellow at the University of Warwick.
Paula is the author of the top ten bestseller Perdita: The Life of Mary Robinson (HarperCollins UK, Random House USA). A selection for the 2005 Richard and Judy Book Club and a British Book Awards 'Best Read' nomination, Perdita was also long-listed for the prestigious Samuel Johnson Prize. It tells the extraordinary story of the eighteenth-century actress, poet, novelist, feminist, celebrity and royal mistress Mary 'Perdita' Robinson (1757-1800).
Paula's first book, shortlisted for the Theatre Book Prize, was Jane Austen and the Theatre, published in 2002 and reissued in paperback in 2007 by Hambledon Continuum. Paul Johnson of The Spectator chose it as his best-ever book on Jane Austen and the Times Literary Supplement described as a 'definitive and pioneering study of a wholly neglected aspect of Austen's art.' She has also edited a Routledge Literary Sourcebook on Jane Austen's Emma.
Paula has published essays on a wide range of women authors, reviews for the Sunday Telegraph and the TLS, and in her new book tells the story of Evelyn Waugh's friendship with the extraordinary aristocratic family who inspired Brideshead Revisited. Mad World: Evelyn Waugh and the Secrets of Brideshead is published worldwide by HarperCollins, with the UK edition out in August 2009 and the USA edition forthcoming in early March 2010.
Top Customer Reviews
While officially there wasn’t slavery in Britain, many high up families made money supported by either the slave trade itself, or the labour of slaves in far away plantations. Most black or mixed race people living in Britain in the 1700s would be ex-slaves or servants. However, Dido had a status high above that, yet not as high as her cousin, firstly due to the fact that she was illegitimate, and secondly due to her race. The uncle who took Dido in wasn’t just any gentleman – he was Lord Mansfield, the Lord Chief Justice, the highest judge in England, and one who happened to specialise in maritime insurance law and hence would deal with cases involving slaves. Lord Mansfield made decisions that paved the way for the abolition of slavery, and there were some that said this was due to the influence of one of his much-loved adoptive daughters, Dido Belle.
There is very little known about Dido, aside from the date of her christening, other church records and a number of bequests that were made to her by her family, so I knew the filmmakers took artistic licence with her story.Read more ›
Inspired by the 1779 portrait of Dido and her cousin Lady Elizabeth Murray, screenwriter Misan Sagay has written a compelling story based on facts she first learned of while visiting the 2007, Slavery and Justice Exhibition. Dido and Elizabeth were Lord Mansfield’s wards and raised together at Caen Wood House, now know as Kenwood House on Hampstead Heath near London. While the screenplay is based on actual facts, it also incorporates a fictional narrative worthy of a seventh Jane Austen novel. In contrast, BELLE: THE SLAVE DAUGHTER AND THE LORD CHIEF JUSTICE is an historical account of the people and times and not a novelization of the movie.
Movies (and novels) based on real people and events always intrigue me, especially those set in my favorite time period, Georgian England. I was aware of the Jane Austen connection to this story from a JASNA Persuasions Online article Ambiguous Cousinship: Mansfield Park and the Mansfield Family, by Christine Kenyon Jones. We know from Austen’s letters that she met Dido’s cousin Lady Elizabeth Finch-Hatton (nee Murray) several times from 1805-1813 while visiting her elder brother Edward in Kent.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
"From acclaimed biographer Paula Byrne, the sensational true tale that inspired the major motion picture Belle (May 2014) starring Tom Wilkinson, Miranda Richardson, Emily... Read morePublished 13 days ago by weg
Love the movie! Hated how things was back then! I could watch it over and over again.Published 3 months ago by Annette
far more history and/or references to other literary works of the era. Not a bad story line; however, the lack of some actual details ... Read morePublished 3 months ago by belinda miller
Loved it! Very interesting story from history that I had not heard. Looking forward to reading a book about the real Belle.Published 5 months ago by Diana R. Dixon