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This new selection of the letters of Jane Welsh Carlyle presents a complete view of a remarkable Victorian woman, with a wide circle of friends, who enjoyed the company of distinguished thinkers, writers, politicians, feminists, eccentrics and radicals. This edition draws on many remarkable letters and papers not published before, in which she created a memorable epistolary voice - shrewd, vigorous, ironic, observant, humorous and passionate. Previous selections have often tamely followed the semi-mythical version of her life first given by Carlyle's biographer, James Anthony Froude, showing her as the victimized angel in distress. This new selection gives a rounded picture of her complex character, showing her as a tormented yet forceful woman who was a strong personality in her own right. She now emerges as a self-conscious artist, adept at constructing images of herself that were designed to appeal to her particular correspondents. The account is written with close attention to Jane Carlyle's long-running jealousy of Lady Harriet Ashburton; and fresh letters include many to her mother and her vital response to her passionate lover or admirer Charlotte Cushman.
Each letter is a tightly controlled performance, which justifies Thomas Carlyle's belief that her letters equal and surpass whatever of best I know to exist in that kind.
Kenneth J. Fielding, formerly University of Edinburgh, UK and David R. Sorensen, St Joseph's University Philadelphia, USA
Contents: Editors' introduction: selecting Jane Carlyle's letters; Bibliography; Chronology; Editorial note; In search of genius, 1819-26; In these moors, 1828-34; This stirring life " and a parting, 1834-42; Turned adrift in the world, 1842-45; Finding a mission, 1845-47; Looking out into the vague, 1847-49; Unease in Zion, 1850-56; Two interludes; Past mending, 1857-60; Spiritual magnetism, 1861-63; Like a dim nightmare, 1863-64; The perfectly extraordinary woman, 1865-66; Indexes.
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- ID: 9780754601371
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