Sophie and the Sibyl: A Victorian Romance by Patricia Duncker

By Patricia Duncker

In Berlin, Max Duncker and his brother, Wolfgang, personal a thriving publishing company, which owes its luck to 1 girl: the Sibyl, or Mary Ann Evans, higher referred to as George Eliot, who's writing the ultimate installment of her bestselling serial Middlemarch. Max is as keen on playing and brothels as Wolfgang is of creating a revenue and berating his spendthrift brother, yet Max is given an opportunity to end up his worthy by way of vacationing the Sibyl and her not-quite-husband Lewes, to finalize the publishing rights to her new novel. The Sibyl proves to be as mesmerizing and clever as her books, bewitching Max and all of these round her.

But Wolfgang has an ulterior rationale for Max's stopover at; he wishes his brother to contemplate the gorgeous eighteen-year-old Countess Sophie von Hahn as a possible spouse. An acquaintance from Max's early life, she comes from a German family members of serious wealth. although, Sophie proves to be not anything just like the angelic imaginative and prescient of domesticity Max envisaged; wild and willful, she gambles recklessly but constantly wins, rides horses fiercely, and is worked up to disobey authority, in particular by way of her idol, George Eliot. Enchanted through this whirlwind of a girl, Max however fears he'll by no means manage to tame her.

With its shiny portrayal of George Eliot and the way she lived her existence, and the turbulent love tale of the countess and Max, Sophie and the Sibyl is either a compulsive learn and a excessive literary success.

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Extra resources for Sophie and the Sibyl: A Victorian Romance

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In the modernist decades following 1912, as proponents of a separation of art from social forces increasingly define the poetic field, socially-committed poets the likes of Lola Ridge, Genevieve Taggard or Muriel Rukeyser are relegated to relative critical obscurity. Just as the year 1912 marks a high point in feminist activism and discussion, it also registers the ongoing power of backlash moments to silence that discussion. These reactionary moments have largely succeeded in effacing or trivialising women’s roles in modernist literary history.

The threat of radical feminist discourse underscores a buried but significant modernist moment in October 1912 when The Freewoman: A Humanist Weekly was silenced. The publisher, W. H. Smith, rejected it for its scandalous ideas about women, resulting in its banning from bookshops (Green 2003: 226). Begun a year earlier, in late 1911, under the name of The Freewoman, the journal responded to the conservatism of the suffrage movement alleged by its founding editors, Dora Marsden and May Gawthorpe, who themselves had taken part in militant protests and hunger strikes on behalf of the movement.

For all of their unorthodox uses of public spectacle, however, the Pankhurst organisation and the suffrage movement attracted criticism from more radical elements of a newly emerging feminist movement that increasingly expanded the discussion of the women’s rights into arenas of sexuality, birth control, labour and economics, offering critiques of traditional social institutions of family and religion. Seen by the new feminists as too conservative and morally timid, the focus on the vote to the exclusion of more far-reaching ideas of women’s equality motivated Marsden and Gawthorpe to advocate a bolder intellectual, economic, and sexual agenda for women’s liberation.

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