Powerful and complex, this novel touches on issues of race, gender roles, and women's education in the late eighteenth century. Adeline Mowbray tells a story of desire, transgression, and remorse over the lives of a mother and daughter. As the subtitle suggests, this novel begins and ends with the relationship between Adeline and her intellectual, experimental mother, Editha, but encompasses almost every other human relationship in the long journey between their rift and their reconciliation. Pursued and exploited by the same two men, Editha and Adeline are estranged from each other by jealousy and deceit, but finally reunited. A critique of the treatment of women in eighteenth-century society, the novel was inspired in part by the partnership between the Romantic writers Mary Wollstonecraft and William Godwin. The appendices include contemporary reviews and material expanding on the novel's themes of colonialism, women's education, marriage, and the tension between feeling and reason. It is the only stand-alone edition available (see Competition). It is edited and comes with an excellent introduction by a well-known Romanticist.
Anne McWhir is Professor of English at the University of Calgary. She is the co-editor of The Broadview Anthology of Literature of the Revolutionary Period and the editor of the Broadview edition of Mary Shelley's The Last Man.