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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Phyllis Rose is the author of Woman of Letters: A Life of Virginia Woolf, and of the highly acclaimed Parallel Lives: Five Victorian Marriages, which established her as a biographer of the first rank. Her most recent book is Jazz Cleopatra, a biography of Josephine Baker. She has taught literature at Wesleyan University since 1969, and has written essays, reviews, and articles for many publications. She lives in Middletown, Connecticut.From the Inside Flap:
In her study of the married couple as the smallest political unit, Phyllis Rose uses as examples the marriages of five Victorian writers who wrote about their own lives with unusual candor.
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