Mary Olivier by May Sinclair & Katha Pollitt
A Life (New York Review Books Classics)

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Synopsis

Originally published alongside Ulysses in the pages of the legendary Little ReviewMary Olivier: A Life is an intimate, lacerating account of the ties between daughter and mother, a book of transfixing images and troubling moral intelligence that confronts the exigencies and ambiguities of freedom and responsibility with empathy and power. May Sinclair’s finest novel stands comparison with the work of Willa Cather, Katherine Mansfield, and the young Virginia Woolf.

As a child, Mary Olivier’s dreamy disposition and fierce intelligence set her apart from her Victorian family, especially her mother, “Little Mamma,” whose dazzling looks cannot hide her meager love for her only daughter. Mary grows up in a world of her own, a solitude that leaves her free to explore her deepest passions, for literature and philosophy, for the austere beauties of England’s north country, even as she continues to attend to her family. But in time the independence Mary values—at almost any cost—threatens to become a form of captivity itself
 

About May Sinclair & Katha Pollitt

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May Sinclair (1863-1946) was the daughter of a rigidly dogmatic Christian woman and a failed shipowner who took to the bottle. She attended Cheltenham Ladies' College, where she began a lifelong study of philosophy, finding in the works of Plato, Spinoza, and Kant a refuge from the religion in which she had been raised. In 1904 her novel The Divine Fire was a best seller in America, and helped to make her reputation in England, where she became known not only for her own vividly imagistic and psychologically complex fiction but also for championing a range of challenging new writers. She presented Ezra Pound to Ford Madox Ford, encouraged the work of Charlotte Mew, protested the banning of D.H. Lawrence's The Rainbow, wrote an early appreciation of T.S. Eliot's Prufrock and Other Observations, and-in a review of Dorothy Richardson's Pilgrimage-introduced the term "stream of consciousness" into critical parlance. A member of the Women Writers Suffrage League, the Aristotelian Society, and the first group to practice Freudian analysis in England, May Sinclair was the author of poems, stories, essays, two works of philosophy, and twenty-four novels, of which Mary Olivier: A Life was her favorite. Katha Pollitt is a poet, essayist, and columnist for The Nation. She is the author of a book of poems, Antarctic Traveller, and two prose collections, Reasonable Creatures: Essays on Women and Feminism and Subject to Debate: Sense and Dissents on Women, Politics, and Culture.
 
Published July 1, 2004 by Neeland Media LLC. 396 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, History, Romance. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Mary Olivier

The New York Review of Books

Originally published alongside Ulysses in the pages of the legendary Little Review, Mary Olivier: A Life is an intimate, lacerating account of the ties between daughter and mother, a book of transfixing images and troubling moral intelligence that confronts the exigencies and ambiguities of freed...

Jun 30 2002 | Read Full Review of Mary Olivier: A Life (New Yor...

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