The Devil Kissed Her
On September 22, 1796, Mary Lamb stabbed her mother to death with a carving knife. Amazingly, she was not punished but was instead released into the care of her younger brother, Charles. Brother and sister remained inseparable for the next forty years, coauthoring the perennial children's book Tales from Shakespeare and hosting a salon frequented by the likes of Coleridge, Wordsworth, Hazlitt, and Godwin.Yet the Lambs' popularity existed in the shadow of Mary's recurring bouts of illness. Centuries before manic depression was diagnosed, Mary's collapses took her to a mental hospital for several months of the year. Together Mary and her devoted brother were forced to navigate the bedlam of nineteenth-century asylums.Long considered by historians a mere adjunct to her brother, Mary Lamb was a woman of deep contradictions: fiercely domestic yet unmarried; maternal yet childless; a peaceful, loving woman who could erupt into extreme violence. In this book, Kathy Watson seeks to connect the person William Hazlitt once declared "the only thoroughly reasonable woman" he'd ever met with the woman who murdered her mother in a psychotic episode. And Watson reveals an extraordinary brother-sister relationship: Mary and Charles Lamb provided for each other a hard-won domestic stability and both personal and literary inspiration.
- Hardback | 256 pages
- 144.78 x 210.82 x 27.94mm | 399.16g
- 09 Sep 2004
- United States