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This is an auction for GOOD WIVES? by Margaret Forster. review:

"The question mark betrays something of Forster's ambivalence on the subject of matrimony. To deconstruct what a "good" wife might be, she explores the lives of a trio who were all married to prominent men, making them good subjects, if hardly representative. Mary Livingstone proved a determinedly submissive wife to her missionary explorer husband, constantly uprooting and following him over Africa on an ox wagon. For Forster there are only cursory overlaps with her own experience; she dismisses Mary quite harshly, while pitying the grimness of her existence. Fanny, married to Robert Louis Stevenson, sailed to the South Seas in the search for hospitable climates for his frail constitution, where she nursed him, kept house, and wrote a little herself. When he died in 1894, though, so did much of Fanny. Lastly, the purposeful, militant Jennie Lee, who married politician Nye Bevan, provokes only admiring connection in Forster. Lee, an MP herself, saw marriage as a practical contract, though she loved and protected Bevan dearly. Children were out of the question. The "Reflections" from Forster that follow each wifely portrait are the most interesting sections of this bracing, unindulgent book. In comparing her own marriage to those of her subjects, she reflects insightfully on universal themes of marital union, such as in-laws, entertaining, careers, money, home and children, and concludes that if she were considering it today as a young woman, she would marry for children, but not for a husband."

More very favourable reviews on

Hardback 2001.

343 pages + photographs.

Near new condition.

The cost of shipping is $4.95.

There is of course no charge for shipping if you collect this book from my shop in Palmerston North following the auction.

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  • Seller location: Palmerston North, Manawatu, NZ

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