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Jane Welsh Carlyle and Her Victorian World

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Jane Welsh Carlyle and Her Victorian World

Kathy Chamberlain

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$37.50


ISBN 13: 978-1-4683-1420-5
Trim Size: 6" x 9"
Hardcover
Overlook Press
4/4/2017

Product Description

The untold story of Jane Welsh Carlyle, the wife of the renowned Thomas Carlyle with literary aspirations of her own

Hailed by Virginia Woolf as one of the all-time great letter writers, Jane Welsh Carlyle, wife of Victorian literary celebrity Thomas Carlyle, has been much overlooked. In this compelling new biography, Kathy Chamberlain brings Jane out of her husband’s shadow, focusing on Carlyle as a remarkable woman and writer in her own right.

Caught between her own literary aspirations and Victorian society’s oppression of women, Jane Welsh Carlyle hoped to move beyond domestic life and become a respected published writer. As she and her husband moved in exclusive London literary circles, mingling with noted authors, poets, and European revolutionaries, Carlyle created and reported to her correspondents on her rich, rewarding life in her Chelsea home―until her husband’s infatuation with a wealthy, imposing aristocratic society hostess threw her life into chaos.

Through dedicated research and unparalleled access to Jane Welsh Carlyle’s private correspondence, Kathy Chamberlain presents an elegant portrait of an extraordinary woman writer.

“A really wonderful piece of work – Compelling, readable, and utterly distinct in its approach, this biographical narrative of Jane Carlyle sparkles with the wit and intelligence of the subject herself. . . If you think, as I originally did, that you have no particular interest in the life of Jane Carlyle, read this – You will be captivated by the life of a woman who is given a new chance through Chamberlain’s work, to express herself passionately and sagely, to engage us in her world, where we will recognize our own.”
—Elizabeth Strout, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Olive Kitteridge

“Adjectives have long abounded to slot Jane Welsh Carlyle firmly into the role of worthy adjunct (and occasional adversary) of her husband, Thomas. We are fortunate that now we can meet this witty, highly intelligent, sprightly, and politically aware woman―everything that Jane was―in Kathy Chamberlain’s engagingly written biography. I had great pleasure reading it.”
—Deirdre Bair, biographer of Samuel Beckett (National Book Award), Simone de Beauvoir, Anais Nin, Carl Jung, and Saul Steinberg

“Uncommonly insightful and luxuriantly atmospheric, Kathy Chamberlain’s portrait of Jane Welsh Carlyle―one of the most under-appreciated women of the Victorian era―brings a lost world back within the lucky reader’s grasp.”
—John Matteson, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning biography Eden’s Outcasts: The Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Father



Kathy Chamberlain taught English for over thirty years at the City University of New York. She has given lectures on Jane Welsh Carlyle at the CUNY Graduate Center and at conferences in the US and UK, and has published numerous essays about Virginia Woolf and Jane Welsh Carlyle.

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