England's First Family of Writers

England's First Family of Writers : Mary Wollstonecraft, William Godwin, Mary Shelley

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Life and literature were inseparable in the daily lives of Mary Wollstonecraft, William Godwin, and Mary Shelley. In England's First Family of Writers, Julie A. Carlson demonstrates how and why the works of these individuals can best be understood within the context of the family unit in which they were created.

The first to consider their writing collectively, Carlson finds in the Wollstonecraft-Godwin-Shelley dynasty a family of writers whose works are in intimate dialogue with each other. For them, literature made love and produced children, as well as mourned, memorialized, and reanimated the dead.

Construing the ways in which this family's works minimize the differences between books and persons, writing and living, Carlson offers a nonsentimental account of the extent to which books can live and inform life and death. Carlson also examines the unorthodox clan's status as England's first family of writers. She explores how, over time, their reception has evinced ongoing public resistance to those who critique family values.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 344 pages
  • 154.94 x 226.06 x 27.94mm | 612.35g
  • Baltimore, MD, United States
  • English
  • No
  • 080188618X
  • 9780801886188
  • 1,593,041

Review quote

Carlson's attention to the ways books have their own family connections is perceptive and convincingly argued. Most important, she offers extended and sophisticated readings of many of the neglected works in the oeuvres of all three authors. * Choice * [Carlson's] book will continue making, for many years to come, its signal contribution to our understanding not only of this very talented, impassioned, tormented, and utterly original family of novelists, philosophers, critics, and historians, but to our reading of the history of the family, and of literature, in general. -- Charles J. Rzepka * Wordsworth Circle * Full of acute and lucid observations. -- Jacqueline Pearson * Modern Language Review *
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About Julie A. Carlson

Julie A. Carlson is a professor of English at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
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