Saturday, April 04, 2009

Patrick Marnham

Finally, a really good literary biography, with enough photos, and enough juice. Wild Mary: A Life of Mary Wesley (2007) is thorough, lively, and surprising. Marnham knows Wesley's novels well enough to point out biographical details and how Wesley used her own life as material, and how she changed the details.

Mary Wesley's life was a roller coaster, with two marriages, three children with different fathers, and publishing success when she was seventy. Huge publishing success. At seventy. A life of literature, sex, intrigue, and wartime danger. And she made good use of her life; she made it into good literature.

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