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Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Her Daughter Mary Shelley by [Gordon, Charlotte]
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4.6 out of 5 stars 111 customer reviews

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Length: 674 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“[An] impassioned dual biography . . . [Charlotte] Gordon brings a rousing zeal to her pages. Both Wollstonecraft and Shelley have been the subject of previous biographies—the author builds her account on a tremendous variety of sources and scholarship—but Gordon, alternating between the two chapter by chapter, binds their lives into a fascinating whole. She shows, in vivid detail, how mother influenced daughter, and how the daughter’s struggles mirrored the mother’s.”The Boston Globe
 
“Written with the galloping pace of a skilled novel peopled with fascinating characters . . . these women live on in its pages. . . . Thorough and irresistible.”—The Seattle Times
 
“Gordon unfolds the two stories in tandem, deftly balancing the gossipy aspects of her subjects’ lives with their serious intellectual concerns.”The New Yorker

“Thoughtful, intelligent and deeply felt . . . Gordon has written a book about two women, a mother and her daughter, who changed not only the way we think, but the way we are. . . . Skillfully entwining the story of two generations that spanned a century, Gordon’s Romantic Outlaws enables readers to compare the different ways in which these two remarkable women confronted their tragically difficult destinies.”The Sunday Times (U.K.)
 
“[Romantic Outlaws] is an innovative dual biography that foregrounds the writing of two women who disregarded the moral codes of their eras and shaped their own destinies. Gordon’s parallel mapping of their lives reveals fascinating similarities in the ways writing sustained, and sometimes saved, them both.”Financial Times
 
“A most welcome deeper take on the women who scandalized Victorian England—and whose stories continue to resonate today.”Vogue

“By linking these two lives, Ms. Gordon’s biography stretches over a fascinating era in history, characterized by great flux in political and cultural thinking and involving some of the main figures in English literary and philosophical history.”—The Wall Street Journal 

“The relationship between Mary Shelley and the mother she never knew . . . is explored with remarkable insight and perspicacity in this exhilarating dual biography. . . . Gordon’s perceptive reading of both women’s published works illuminates their core ideas [and] identifies the emotional fault lines caused by the drama in their lives. Her lucid prose and multifaceted appraisal of Wollstonecraft, Shelley, and their times make warm-blooded and fully fleshed-out people of writers who exist for readers today only as the literary works they left behind.”Publishers Weekly (starred review)
 
“Gordon infuses literary history with electrifying discoveries in this symbiotic portrait of radical mother-daughter writers who indelibly changed society and the arts. . . . The first to fully investigate the life-determining influence Wollstonecraft’s feminist writings had on Mary Shelley, Gordon chronicles their harsh, tragic, and courageous lives in alternating chapters that are as emotionally incisive as they are finely particularized in their astute renderings of tumultuous settings and dire predicaments.”Booklist (starred review)
 
“This excellent dual biography . . . examines the profound influence Wollstonecraft had on Shelley and the impact both women have had on women’s rights in succeeding generations. . . . Gordon’s prose is compelling and her scholarship meticulous, her contention that both women led ‘lives as memorable as the words they left behind’ is brilliantly supported.”Library Journal

“A fascinating, thoughtful and continuously absorbing book, one to which I know I shall return on many future occasions.”—Miranda Seymour, author of Mary Shelley

“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
 
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
 
“Mary Wollstonecraft and her daughter Mary Shelley stand out as daring, unconventional, and courageous women—in their times and ours. Appreciate the ‘heroic exertions’ of their lives and savor the skill with which Charlotte Gordon tells their intersecting stories.”—Susan Ware, general editor, American National Biography

About the Author

Charlotte Gordon is the author of Mistress Bradstreet: The Untold Life of America’s First Poet and The Woman Who Named God: Abraham’s Dilemma and the Birth of Three Faiths. She has also published two books of poetry, When the Grateful Dead Came to St. Louis and Two Girls on a Raft. She is an associate professor of English at Endicott College and lives in Gloucester, Massachusetts.


From the Hardcover edition.

Product details

  • File Size: 20938 KB
  • Print Length: 674 pages
  • Publisher: Random House (April 28, 2015)
  • Publication Date: April 28, 2015
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00N6PEOVC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #157,754 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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