***AS READ ON BBC RADIO 4***
NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD WINNER
'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
English feminist Mary Wollstonecraft and author Mary Shelley were mother and daughter, yet these two extraordinary women never knew one another. Nevertheless, their passionate and pioneering lives remained closely intertwined, their choices, dreams and tragedies eerily similar.
Both women became famous writers and wrote books that changed literary history, had passionate relationships with several men, were single mothers out of wedlock; both lived in exile, fought for their position in society, and interrogated ideas of how we should live.
Romantic Outlaws takes the reader on a vivid journey across revolutionary France and Victorian England to explore in this ground-breaking dual biography of the author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman and the author who wrote Frankenstein - mother and daughter - a pair of visionary women, who should have shared a life, but who instead share a powerful literary and feminist legacy.
[A] unique double biography... An excellent and poignant book whose heroines breathe in its pages.
A mother and daughter who changed not only the way we think, but the way we are… extraordinary women, a dozen decades ahead of their time… Romantic Outlaws enables readers to compare the different ways in which these two remarkable women confronted their tragically different destinies… [A] thoughtful, intelligent, deeply-felt book’
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.
Full of enriching paradox… Charlotte Gordon has managed to produce that rare thing, a work of genuinely popular history... It works beautifully.
Wollstonecraft and Shelley were extraordinary women who led sensational lives. They were Romantic revolutionaries… retelling their story cannot fail to captivate and provoke.
Unique... Marvellous, passionate stuff.
An exceptional achievement
Read and be seriously inspired.
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.
Mother and daughter shadow and reveal each other. The retelling emphasises the extent to which Shelley’s life was shaped by her mother’s legacy but here is underlined in thought-provoking ways... In Gordon’s narrative, [Wollstonecraft and Shelley] appear at their best and bravest.