Take a look: Brideoake’s new book

Google books has preview access for Fiona Brideoake‘s new book, The Ladies of Llangollen: Desire, Indeterminacy, and the Legacies of Criticism (Bucknell University Press / The Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group; 2017). (Amazon Kindle: generous preview there too) [Kindle: $82.49; Hardcover: $110]

Brideoake_Ladies of Llangollen

To whet your appetite, here are the contents:

INTRODUCTION: Casting Butler and Ponsonby: Before “the Ladies of Llangollen”

1. “Sketched by Many Hands”: Narrating Butler and Ponsonby

2. Engendering the Ladies: Romantic Friendship, Gender Difference, and Queer Critical Practice.

 – “The Great Success Story”: Butler and Ponsonby and the Romantic Friendship Model

– Gender Trouble: Butler and Ponsonby and the Masculine/Feminine Dyad

– “Our Matchless Mary”: Mary Caryll’s Place at Plas Newydd

– Butler and Ponsonby and the New Queer History

3. Becoming the Ladies of Llangollen

– “Two Fugitive Ladies”: Ponsonby’s 1778 Travel Journal

4. “Keep Yourself in Your Own Persons, Where You Are”: Butler and Ponsonby’s Transformation of Plas Newydd

– On the Road with Butler and Ponsonby: “Liking One’s Own Sex in a Criminal Way”: Suspicions of Sapphism

– “The Saloon of the Minervas”: Butler and Ponsonby’s Private library

5. “The Spirit of Blue-Stockingism”: Were the Ladies of Llangollen “Blue”?

– A Bluestocking Genealogy

– The Ladies of Llangollen the Canonical Bluestockings

– Were Butler and Ponsonby Blue?

6. “Love, above the Reach of Time”: Butler and Ponsonby and the Performance of Romanticism

– The Romantics “Do” the Ladies

– Sir Walter Scott’s “Great Romance”

– The “Coy Scene” of Sapphic Sociability: Anna Seward’s “Llangollen Vale”

– Depth and Domesticity: William Wordsworth on Butler and Ponsonby

– “Doing the Ladies”: The Llangollen Ideals of Lord Byron and Anne Lister

7. “The Future Arrives Late” Butler and Ponsonby and Their “Spiritual Descendants,” 1928-1937

– “Deeds, Not Words”: The Fight for Women’s Suffrage

– Butler and Ponsonby and the Future That Is “to Be”

– Pursuing Butler and Ponsonby: Gordon’s Chase of the Wild Goose

– “The Future Arrives Late”: Ghosting the Ladies of Llangollen

There is also a bibliography and index, bringing the book up to 368 pages. Among the editorial reviews, included at Amazon:

  • Fiona Brideoake’s is by far the best account of the Ladies to have appeared in some time. It is generous with earlier accounts, deeply learned and engaged with all scholars of lesbianism and the history of sexuality. It also contextualizes the Ladies brilliantly and makes great sense of their choice of a house and how they decorated. I cannot imagine a more informed or more exhilarating account of the Ladies of Langollen. This will be a book that is treasured by students and scholars as well as anyone interested in the history of ‘romantic friendship’ between women. (George E. Haggerty, Distinguished Professor of English, University of California, Riverside)

The Ladies of Llangollen have not been the subject of a major study or biography since Elizabeth Mavor‘s publications from the 1970s and 1980s, nearly fifty years ago. I am excited to see Fiona Brideoake’s book is finally hitting the bookshops!



7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Tina
    Apr 26, 2017 @ 04:19:21

    Holy cow that is one expensive book. I wonder if they’ll sell it in Plas Newydd cheaper? If they do I’ll pop there and get one.


    • Janeite Kelly
      Apr 26, 2017 @ 12:54:39

      Hi Tina – There are several of us dismayed by the cost “academic” publishers place on their books. I can’t say that I’ve heard of high royalties from such presses, so it would be interesting to hear what justifies their cover prices.

      Can only suggest that you begin searching WorldCat to see libraries that are adding it to their collection (doing interlibrary loan, if you have to). Sometimes, the used book network has some copies at lesser prices.

      Thanks for writing!



      • Tina
        Apr 26, 2017 @ 16:02:28

        Plas Newydd itself is pretty good itself and stocks books about the ladies so maybe they’ll get a few in. It is a daft price though, who on earth can afford that! Eleanor would be livid! haha

  2. Janeite Kelly
    Apr 27, 2017 @ 09:30:00

    Hi Tina,

    Yeah, I wish I knew the rationale behind pricing from academic presses. I once got an Austen book (Le Faye’s Chronology of Jane Austen and her Family) used; even then it was $50 – (even worse: the used book market sellers who price gouge: pricing books in the thousands of dollars – this same Austen book on Amazon TODAY: three sellers asking over $2,200; come on!)

    I had been pleasantly surprised when Oxford UP had Greig’s book The Beau Monde at a “trade” cover price (ie, about $35). Hers was as “academic” (and eminently readable) and might have commanded a much higher reader cost at any other press.

    I’m sure an idea that libraries are a main target plays into the exorbitant prices, but even libraries have limited budgets. They could buy five books for the prices of one, in some instances…

    And sometimes the monographs are SO SLIM (100 pages or so).

    Speaking personally, I have a chapter in an Austen book (Jane Austen and the Arts), which, if the two editors see royalties they are the only ones getting paid. Contributors got a copy of the book! Many people interested in the topic complained at its cover price when it first came out; now, in paperback, it’s a bit more affordable for the average person – but presses need to realize that private individuals have interest in some of their titles!

    Again, if the money doesn’t go to authors, or for paper and printing (take the kindle prices of academic press books), _who_ does money go to?

    Fingers crossed that Plas Newydd gets some discount beyond the normal wholesale rate, but I have my doubts that even they will be able to sell it much below the suggested retail price.

    We must “celebrate” that a NEW book is out, that’s the good news.



  3. Fiona Brideoake
    Sep 22, 2017 @ 11:47:26

    Hello friends and colleagues,
    Thank you again for your interest in my book! I’m sorry for the fact that it, like most academic publications, is very expensive. If you are interested in reading it, please request that it be purchased by your local academic or public library. I look forward to continuing reading this wonderful site, and to discussing the Ladies further.


  4. Liz Cook
    Jun 27, 2018 @ 09:51:22

    Hi, everyone! I want to share some cheer – I received Fiona’s book yesterday and it is next to me as I type! Somehow, ebay happened to “know” that I had an interest in The Ladies and last week sent me a “You might be interested” email with an offer for the book for $65, shipping included! After I made sure that it wasn’t a fake or a paperback I decided to see what would happen and, lo and behold! I can’t explain it and I don’t understand it – other copies are being sold for twice as much and higher, soooo, either it was an error or someone just wanted to really sell this book.

    Anyway, maybe the same can happen for others after performing a cursory search on ebay for LoL books.

    I can’t wait to get into the pages!


    • Janeite Kelly
      Jun 27, 2018 @ 12:15:41

      Hi, Liz – lucky YOU to have a *new* book to read!

      Books are “odd” commodities. I think sometimes “review copies” get put up for sale. I once got a well-priced copy of a huge (and pricey) Jane Austen book. Sometimes timing just is perfect. The owner gets some money, and the buyer gets a bit of a price-break.

      But: I’ve also noticed the OUTRAGEOUS prices, for old books or even ones currently published. Those are laughable, especially when their prices far outstrip the publisher’s own cost! (some I’ve seen listed are in the thousands of dollars; that’s NOT going to sell!)

      A word of advice to those on Amazon, though – if you see a good price on something they sell, and you put it in your cart, DO NOT let it sit there. I was on the fence about a book – one on such a topic that _surely_ no one else would care about. It was published at (say) $65 – they had three copies. I looked every _once_ in a while – and one day it was down to like $8! But it was a Sunday, and I was heading out. Still was kind of unsure whether I wanted it it – I left the cart on the screen. When I came back to it – someone had bought a copy and ALL remaining copies had risen in price — including “my” copy, in my cart! I’ve still never bought the book.

      Must say, though, except for Print on Demand _reprints_ of old books, I’ve never found a book being a “fake”. Though sometimes they DO turn out to be an Advance Readers proof. Though, thinking about those – I got one as “payment” for a book review! Most sellers WILL say what they have for sale.

      I often look, every once in a while, though, for the same few books – just to see what’s out there. I _keep_ books; others might read them and look to resell. Or, (as mentioned above), they obtained review copies and their disinterest is your good fortune!

      Thanks for writing.



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