1 hour ago
Friday, July 06, 2018
Reading for Research
When I reached that point in the story, I realized I needed to know more specifics about Wollstonecraft's life -- details, facts, how she would react to things my characters said.
No problem, I said. The library has a biography, and look here, Amazon has another that is cheap on Kindle. Couple of hours of quick reading, and back to work.
Three days later, I'm still reading. This is not so much because I need to learn more as because Wollstonecraft is fascinating. Also, one of the books, Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Her Daughter Mary Shelley, by Charlotte Gordon, is excellent. I knew a little about Mary Shelley and her life with Percy; and I knew a very little about Wollstonecraft's life (that she had written Vindication of the Rights of Women, and that she had died giving birth to Mary Shelley); but this book is a revelation.
What Gordon does is, via alternating chapters, contrast Wollstonecraft's life and writing careers with that of her daughter's, detailing the events that shape them, and how they react to and resist these events.
This is a long but excellent book. Unless you're an English professor, or interested in the Romantics or feminism, it might not be for you. If that's your jam, though, snap this one up.