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!

 

More Visitors to Plas Newydd!

Michael in Aberystwyth has been combing archives for mentions of the Ladies of Llangollen; he recently wrote me the following:

I’ve been busy gathering more references to visitors to Plas Newydd.

I’m surprised how few published references there were to them while they were still alive. There are lots of descriptions of the grounds, the house and the Ladies in manuscripts, (often by women) but perhaps many of the men who published accounts of their tours didn’t think it appropriate to publicise a private residence.

The more I read about them, the more I think they might have wanted to live in a quiet place, but didn’t want to be wholly isolated from the world (as one of their visitors perceptively suggests) and the fact that they renamed the cottage Plas Newydd (the New Hall), even though it was originally a 4 roomed cottage, and added a library and decorated it with historic items as well as welcoming the nobility and gentry suggest that they were really living the life of those who lived in mansions and who allowed visitors to view their rooms (on certain terms), as well as acting as hosts to those of equal status or education, or talented artists of poets who had letters of introduction.

More to come from Michael. And do contact me should you should have information that might be of use to Michael. He’s interested in 18th and 19th century travellers to Wales, with a special desire to unearth more on Welsh National Costume.

Any Readers near Dublin?

Dear Ladies of Llangollen blog readers,

Am looking for one kind soul who might be able to visit the National Library of Ireland, in Dublin, for me. There’s one diary there, which I’d love to learn more about, get some images taken (so a digital camera required).

For more information, please email me, Kelly, at smithandgosling [at] gmail [dot] com

The diary is among the papers of the 2nd Marquess of Ormonde.

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