Since we’re apparently being held captive as a nation to what writers were thinking in 1788, let’s go back to 1792, when Mary Wollstonecraft published A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. What might Wollstonecraft, landmark English feminist, say about the not-entirely-unexpected but still devastating decision today by the Supreme Court, 6-3, to overturn Roe […]Read more
Tinfoil Mary, “strong women,” and stays against confusion.
Left: The great writer. Right: Her tinfoil avatar. “I was hoping for a great memorial to Mary Wollstonecraft…this isn’t it.” – Historian Simon Schama I’m sure everyone involved meant well. I can’t wait to see how my next crop of “In Frankenstein’s Footsteps” study-abroad students will react to it [in a post-COVID J-term 2022 — […]Read more
Dear Mary Shelley….
First of all, happy birthday to my fellow Virgo. Today! You look wonderful for age 223. Here’s my brand-new, just-finished, 800-page first draft of Creature, a novel I wrote about you. I hope you don’t mind. Thank you for inspiring me more than you ever could have known. We’ll talk. XOXO, AmyRead more
My first novel: welcome to the world.
Did I ever think I’d be writing the words, “My first novel is published today?” Not really. But I am. And here it is, from Bowen Press Books. As a twenty-one-year-old dreaming of being a writer, I never could have imagined I’d be sitting here (in the British Library, no less!) marking this day. Nor […]Read more
“What will survive of us is…”
Hunkered on a funeral urn, he howls into the void. Howls? Is that mouth open or closed? Is that even a mouth? In the dim gallery, walls dappled all around with trees, I circle him like John Keats at the Grecian urn. We’re in this forest together now. Dug out of the earth in Spong […]Read more
RIP: Diana Athill.
The great and graceful writer Diana Athill has just passed away, age 101. Here’s a piece I wrote about her for the literary site BLOOM (about writers and other artists who come into their prime after age 40). Diana Athill: The Sufficient SelfRead more
Macaulay and Marlborough: “The Favourite” on screen and page.
It’s not often that a movie lives up to its press, but “The Favourite” does – and more. It also reanimates a story coming to life in front of me, right now, in the first six-volume history of England written by a woman, published around the American Revolution and resting on my desk in the […]Read more
On Marghanita Laski’s “The Victorian Chaise-Longue.”
The Victorian Chaise-Longue by Marghanita Laski (1953), published by Persephone Books (1999) “We think back through our mothers,” Virginia Woolf wrote, “if we are women.” Marghanita Laski’s terrifying novel The Victorian Chaise-Longue (1953) spins this proposition sideways. What if becoming a mother makes a woman a time-traveler against her will? What if mothering allows memory […]Read more
When you’re a woman, you try to live in hope, and you try to teach others (especially younger women) the same. Because, after all, the world doesn’t accommodate itself to you and never has. You are the one who must make way, yield the floor, decline to give way to professionally discrediting anger, sit incredulously […]Read more
Education and reality.
This weekend I read Tara Westover’s new memoir Educated in one sitting.Read more