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MARY DIANA DODS: A GENTLEMAN AND A SCHOLAR (SIGNED)

Bennett, Betty T.

8 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0688087175 / ISBN 13: 9780688087173
Published by William Morrow and Company, New York, 1991
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About this Item

Octavo. VG in VG dust jacket. Blue-gray spine with black lettering. SIGNED and INSCRIBED by the author on the title page. 303pp. Rockville. Bookseller Inventory # 7-53-1236328

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Bibliographic Details

Title: MARY DIANA DODS: A GENTLEMAN AND A SCHOLAR (...

Publisher: William Morrow and Company, New York

Publication Date: 1991

Binding: Hardcover

Dust Jacket Condition: Dust Jacket Included

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: First edition.

About this title

Synopsis:

"By an investigative and analytical feat of true Sherlockian proportions, Bennett cracks an elaborate conspiracy that had successfully veiled a Pandora's box of sexual scandal and literary intrigue until Bennett herself revealed it to the world."--Los Angeles Times.

In the 1820s Mary Shelley, the celebrated author of Frankenstein, had among her many acquaintances two intriguing friends. One, the author David Lyndsay, had published admired books, poems, and short stories. The other, Walter Sholto Douglas, husband of Mary Shelley's dear friend Isabella Robinson Douglas, was an aspiring diplomat. In 1830 traces of both men suddenly and completely disappeared from Mary Shelley's life, but not from historical evidence.

Betty T. Bennett came across both men as she conducted research in the Shelley correspondence. Through years of investigation, Bennett uncovered the improbable truth: David Lyndsay and Walter Sholto Douglas were the same person and, despite historical and legal evidence to the contrary, that person was a woman--Mary Diana Dods, illegitimate daughter of a Scottish aristocrat. Now, nearly two centuries later, her story is revealed as a tale of imagination and defiance, with a sly grin at posterity.

"Most works of literary scholarship give us the finished product, cogently argued and persuasively documented. But in this astonishing book, Bennett also reveals the mysterious processbehind the product, the teller behind the tale."--Women's Review of Books.

"An astounding tale of intrigue, collusion, and friendship... The uncovering of Mary Diana Dods must be one of the best literary mystery stories of our age."--Keats-Shelley Journal.

From Publishers Weekly:

While editing the letters of Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein , for publication, American University dean Bennett found references to David Lyndsay and Walter Sholto Douglas and began to seek information about them for footnotes, thus embarking on a search that yielded only cursory conclusions. During the 1820s, Shelley encountered Mary Diana Dods, who wrote under the pseudonym David Lyndsay, and her friend Isabella Robinson, a beautiful coquette. When Robinson became pregnant out of wedlock, Dods donned male attire and posed for several years as her husband, Walter Sholto Douglas. The book is at times enlightening in its discussion of 19th-century mores, but is otherwise rife with tedious paraphrasing of documents. Bennett fails to shed light on the motivation behind the Dods/Lyndsay/Douglas charade, with the result that Dods remains a figure of little interest. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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