The relationship between mother and daughter is probably the most insidious, powerful, elaborate and devastating connection known to woman. (It can, of course, alternatively be the most powerful, elaborate, rewarding and positive relationship, but either there is far less of that about, or novelists find it harder or less interesting to deal with.) Fathers and daughters have had their share of dramatic and literary interest, but that is generally cruder stuff – the tyrant, the sexually hung-up bully manipulating his child, often ineffectually: Elizabeth Barrett simply eloped with Browning, and the most that Mr Bronte could do to obstruct Charlotte’s happiness was to refuse to give her away at her marriage, but if either of these women had had mothers they could remember, it is a fair bet that the maternal influence would have persisted long past the altar.
Follow Literary Review on Twitter
'Feminists have been caricatured so often that it’s worth recalling the many obstacles placed in the path of women campaigning for equal rights.'
@polblonde on @helenlewis's new book about difficult women throughout history.
'Too many historians sneer at our forbears; scolding them if they follow the customs of their own day ... tut-tutting if the poor things are detected having a little fun.'
From the archive, Mary Clive on medieval travellers.
'Reading Taylor’s book has also made me join a book club. I did not like the January book; I did enjoy drinking gin while saying why.'
@clamorousvoice explores the history of women readers.