Sophia Mumford

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The rapturous consciousness of life beyond self

I decided to reread the novel Middlemarch by George Eliot because it is considered one of the great depictions of community life, and when I read it last, probably as a teenager, I wasn't thinking about community at all. What I'd forgotten is that it is also about female aspiration and the longing for a life of significance. From the prelude: Theresa's passionate, ideal nature demanded an epic life: what were many-volumed romances of chivalry and the social conquests of a brilliant girl to her? Her flame quickly burned up [...]

December 28th, 2015|Categories: Writing a Woman's Life|Tags: , |

The Mysterious Mr. Thayer

Once upon a time, an author looking for information had to advertise in the paper. She or he would place a notice in the New York Review of Books or the Times Literary Supplement, saying that he or she was working on biography of so-and-so and would like to speak to anyone who knew him or her. I tried to get a notice like that printed when Sophie Mumford was 96 and we were starting to put her notes and memories together for a book. It was 1996 and I [...]