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Janet Todd, 8 December 1988

The Cavalry Maiden: Journals of a Female Russian Officer in the Napoleonic Wars 
by Nadezhda Durova, translated by Mary Fleming Zirin.
Angel, 242 pp., £12.95, May 1988, 0 946162 35 2
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Isabelle: The Life of Isabelle Eberhardt 
by Annette Kobak.
Chatto, 258 pp., £15, May 1988, 0 7011 2773 2
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Vagabond 
by Isabelle Eberhardt, translated by Annette Kobak.
Hogarth, 160 pp., £4.95, May 1988, 0 7012 0823 6
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... Fighting women have had a long and legendary history. A troop of Roman soldiers could be ousted by a single Gaul if aided by his wife, who, ‘swelling her neck, gnashing her teeth, and brandishing sallow arms of enormous size ... delivers blows and kicks like missiles from a catapult’. But however massive their arms and however swollen their necks, openly aggressive Amazons were in the end almost invariably defeated by their sexuality: left seduced, raped, abandoned or married ...

Pioneering

Janet Todd, 21 December 1989

Willa Cather: A Life Saved Up 
by Hermione Lee.
Virago, 409 pp., £12.99, October 1989, 0 86068 661 2
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... Catherised’ was how Ernest Hemingway described the portrayal of the Great War in One of Ours by Willa Cather. Despite lifting scenes from the movie Birth of a Nation, it made Cather rich and won her the Pulitzer Prize. H.L. Mencken was as dismissive as Hemingway, finding in it a ‘lyrical nonsensicality’ that ‘often glows half pathetic’; its setting was that of ‘a Hollywood movielot ...

Out of the house

Dinah Birch, 30 August 1990

The Sign of Angellica: Women, Writing and Fiction, 1660-1800 
by Janet Todd.
Virago, 328 pp., £12.99, April 1989, 0 86068 576 4
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Uneven Developments: The Ideological Work of Gender in Mid-Victorian Britain 
by Mary Poovey.
Virago, 282 pp., £12.99, February 1989, 1 85381 035 5
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The Woman Question. Society and Literature In Britain and America, 1837-1883: Vols I-III 
edited by Elizabeth Helsinger, Robin Lauterbach Sheets and William Veeder.
Chicago, 146 pp., £7.95, February 1989, 0 226 32666 7
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Sexual Science: The Victorian Construction of Womanhood 
by Cynthia Eagle Russett.
Harvard, 245 pp., £15.95, June 1989, 9780674802902
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... clear that more cogent and complete ways of understanding the literary past were called for. Janet Todd was among the first to recognise this need, and her developing work has made a substantial contribution towards fulfilling it. One of the most valuable things she has to offer her readers is information. Her studies of women’s writing in the ...

Shee Spy

Michael Dobson, 8 May 1997

The Secret Life of Aphra Behn 
by Janet Todd.
Deutsch, 545 pp., £25, October 1996, 0 233 98991 9
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... changed, and the appearance of this vastly fatter life of Behn (together with the completion of Janet Todd’s seven-volume edition of The Works of Aphra Behn for Pickering and Chatto) confirms the scribbler’s accession to the status of a fully-fledged Author. Todd’s labours complete a process of canonisation so ...

Too Good and Too Silly

Frank Kermode: Could Darcy Swim?, 30 April 2009

The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen. Vol. IX: Later Manuscripts 
edited by Janet Todd and Linda Bree.
Cambridge, 742 pp., £65, December 2008, 978 0 521 84348 5
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Jane’s Fame: How Jane Austen Conquered the World 
by Claire Harman.
Canongate, 342 pp., £20, April 2009, 978 1 84767 294 0
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... Manuscripts, the last to appear and the largest volume of all, is the work of the general editor, Janet Todd, and of Linda Bree of the Cambridge University Press, which long ago set a standard for editing novelists with its multi-volumed D.H. Lawrence. The extent and minuteness of the labours of Todd and Bree, both in ...

The Sage of Polygon Road

Claire Tomalin, 28 September 1989

The Works of Mary Wollstonecraft, Vols I-VII 
edited by Janet Todd and Marilyn Butler.
Pickering & Chatto, 2530 pp., £245, August 1989, 1 85196 006 6
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... she wrote after that is interesting, and often surprising. Her editors, Marilyn Butler and Janet Todd, have chosen to include all her known translations, her anthology The Female Reader, and her book reviews. This generosity does not work entirely in her favour. Elements of Morality, Young Grandison and the Reader have been hard to find: but how ...

Very very she

Margaret Anne Doody, 22 April 1993

The Works of Aphra Behn. Vol. I: Poetry 
edited by Janet Todd.
Pickering & Chatto, 481 pp., £55, September 1992, 1 85196 012 0
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Oroonoko, The Rover and Other Works 
by Aphra Behn, edited by Janet Todd.
Penguin, 385 pp., £6.99, November 1992, 0 14 043338 4
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... and Catholic theology and art. Aphra Behn, on the other hand, may have been a Roman Catholic. Todd thinks that, if so, she converted somewhat late in life; it seems, however, at least as likely that Behn had Catholicism in the background, but found it safer not to allude to this openly in England during the Cromwellian era or its immediate ...

Forget that I exist

Susan Eilenberg: Mary Wollstonecraft, 30 November 2000

Mary Wollstonecraft: A Revolutionary Life 
by Janet Todd.
Weidenfeld, 516 pp., £25, April 2000, 0 297 84299 4
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... and the more she cares about her subject, the more she can tell – the worse the story sounds. Janet Todd has been a champion of Wollstonecraft for the length of her scholarly career. Unsurprisingly, she has taken exception to works that treat her with less respect than Todd believes her to have deserved. When ...

Benevolent Mr Godwin

E.P. Thompson, 8 July 1993

Political Justice 
by William Godwin, introduced by Jonathan Wordsworth.
Woodstock, £150, November 1992, 1 85196 019 8
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The Political and Philosophical Writings of William Godwin 
edited by Mark Philp.
Pickering & Chatto, £395, March 1993, 1 85196 026 0
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Political Writings 
by Mary Wollstonecraft, edited by Janet Todd.
Pickering & Chatto, 411 pp., £39.95, March 1993, 1 85196 019 8
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Memoirs of Wollstonecraft 
by William Godwin, introduced by Jonathan Wordsworth.
Woodstock, 199 pp., £8.95, April 1993, 1 85477 125 6
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... of Men, and chapters from her unfinished history of the French Revolution? This is edited by Janet Todd, who previously edited, with Marilyn Butler, a seven-volume edition of Wollstonecraft. We did not need a new edition of the Vindication: there is a good one, thoughtfully edited by Miriam Brody, still on Penguin’s lists. But it is useful to have ...

Narcissus and Cain

David Bromwich, 6 August 1992

Mary and Maria by Mary Wollstonecraft, Matilda by Mary Shelley 
edited by Janet Todd.
Pickering & Chatto, 217 pp., £24.95, January 1992, 1 85196 023 6
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Lady Sophia Sternheim 
by Sophie von La Roche, edited by James Lynn.
Pickering & Chatto, 216 pp., £24.95, January 1992, 9781851960217
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... Sensibility’ was the name of a faculty before it was the name of a style. On the divide of the physical and mental, it suggested a power to receive life’s pleasures and pains, and a less certain power to judge their worth. Such was the critical usage of the late 18th century, largely derived from Hume. Popular usage went further and has lasted longer ...

Menagerie of Live Authors

Francesca Wade: Marys Shelley and Wollstonecraft, 7 October 2015

Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley 
by Charlotte Gordon.
Hutchinson, 649 pp., £25, April 2015, 978 0 09 195894 7
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... years. Charlotte Gordon relies on the work done at this time by Claire Tomalin, Lyndall Gordon, Janet Todd and Miranda Seymour: her innovation is to narrate the lives in alternate chapters, which allows the two stories to echo each other (though the jumps in chronology are confusing). In 1885 the Athenaeum described Wollstonecraft’s life as ‘one of ...

You better not tell me you forgot

Terry Castle: How to Spot Members of the Tribe, 27 September 2012

All We Know: Three Lives 
by Lisa Cohen.
Farrar Straus, 429 pp., £22.50, July 2012, 978 0 374 17649 5
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... mention Colette, Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, Djuna Barnes, Romaine Brooks, Virginia Woolf, Janet Flanner, Vita Sackville-West, Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, Ivy Compton-Burnett, the gallery owner Betty Parsons – even the kooky, spooky, more-than-a-little-ropey Patricia Highsmith, a gothic late-life pal, intriguingly, of Murphy’s. It’s true that ...

In the dark

Philip Horne, 1 December 1983

The Life of Alfred Hitchcock: The Dark Side of Genius 
by Donald Spoto.
Collins, 594 pp., £12.95, May 1983, 0 00 216352 7
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Howard Hawks, Storyteller 
by Gerald Mast.
Oxford, 406 pp., £16.50, June 1983, 0 19 503091 5
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... mark and alleviate the cruel logic of the action – like the policeman early on who admonishes Janet Leigh for sleeping in her car: ‘There are plenty of motels in this area. You should’ve – I mean just to be safe – Anthony Perkins, who plays Norman Bates in the film, has justly remarked: ‘Luckily, I think that most of the people who saw the ...

Puellilia

Pat Rogers, 7 August 1986

Mothers of the Novel: One Hundred Good Women Writers before Jane Austen 
by Dale Spender.
Pandora, 357 pp., £12.95, May 1986, 0 86358 081 5
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Scribbling Sisters 
by Dale Spender and Lynne Spender.
Camden Press, 188 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 948491 00 0
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A Woman of No Character: An Autobiography of Mrs Manley 
by Fidelis Morgan.
Faber, 176 pp., £9.95, June 1986, 0 571 13934 5
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Cecilia 
by Fanny Burney.
Virago, 919 pp., £6.95, May 1986, 0 86068 775 9
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Millenium Hall 
by Sarah Scott.
Virago, 207 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 86068 780 5
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Marriage 
by Susan Ferrier.
Virago, 513 pp., £4.50, February 1986, 0 86068 765 1
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Belinda 
by Maria Edgeworth.
Pandora, 434 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 86358 074 2
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Self-Control 
by Mary Brunton.
Pandora, 437 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 9780863580840
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The Female Quixote: The Adventures of Arabella 
by Charlotte Lennox.
Pandora, 423 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 86358 080 7
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... women writers before Jane Austen’ are an arbitrary bunch, many obtained from a hacker’s job on Janet Todd’s Dictionary of British and American Women Writers 1660-1800. Spender calls this a ‘Dictionary of Women Novelists’ – a significant blunder. Todd covers poets, dramatists, letter-writers and ...

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