In Parallel Lives, Phyllis Rose examines five famous Victorian marriages and reveals that marriage was likely to have been more flexible than we 'liberated' post-Freudians commonly suppose. Raising questions about the politics of sex and the expectations of marriage, she probes inherited myths and assumptions. Of the five marriages here, that of ...
In Parallel Lives, Phyllis Rose examines five famous Victorian marriages and reveals that marriage was likely to have been more flexible than we 'liberated' post-Freudians commonly suppose. Raising questions about the politics of sex and the expectations of marriage, she probes inherited myths and assumptions. Of the five marriages here, that of John Ruskin and Effie Gray was unconsummated, those of Thomas Carlyle and Jane Welsh and John Stuart Mill and Harriet Taylor were almost certainly chaste, the Dickenses marriage degenerated into melodrama and the liaison between George Eliot and G. H. Lewes, which scandalised London society, was the happiest of the lot.
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Useful for academic, not for the general public. Very dry and formal reading.
Jun 10, 2007
It is the second time, I read this book, as it is translated into Danish. This time I have perused it with extreme interest, as I am writing a book on Victorian novelists. I can recommend it, it is read as a novel ? a tribute to Phyllis Rose! I like the way it is constructed, starting each section with a short passage on Carlyle. I find him the most interesting philosopher of the many clever prophets of the Victorian age. The marriages dealt with are: Jane Welsh and Thomas Carlyle, Effie Gray og John Ruskin, Harriet Taylor and John Stuart Mill, Catherine Hogarth and Charles Dickens and George Eliot and George Henry Lewes (only the last couple was not married!). The author comes to the conclusion, that the relationship between George Eliot and George Henry Lewes was the happiest. I find that Phyllis Rose is repeating the impact of Harriet Taylor on John Stuart Mill. As I see it, it is her only fault as a writer, she ought to be more concise. However, I was very impressed by the empathetic way, in which she writes of George Eliot.
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