Susan David Bernstein reviews Mathilde Blind: Late-Victorian Culture and the Woman of Letters

I am grateful for Susan David Bernstein‘s thorough and incisive review of Mathilde Blind: Late Victorian Culture and the Woman of Letters in the March 2018 issue of Review 19.  Bernstein is the author of the excellent book Roomscape: Women Writers in the British Museum from George Eliot to Virginia Woolf (2013), which was a valuable resource for me when researching my biography, and so I was eager to read her review.

Bernstein calls “a major achievement,” noting:

With the first critical biography of Mathilde Blind, James Diedrick makes a thoroughly forceful case for the writer’s importance in Victorian literary history. Blind herself wrote four biographical accounts of women, including George Eliot, Mary Wollstonecraft, Madame Roland, and Marie Bashkirtseff. These last three, Diedrick observes, were “unjustly neglected or underestimated in their lifetimes, and thus all these works reflect Blind’s commitment to elevating the cultural status of influential women” (155). The same may be said of the present biography

Since one of my hopes for my biography is that it will inspire additional work on Mathilde Blind and late-century literature and culture, I was especially gratified to read the concluding paragraph of Berstein’s review, where she writes that “in addition to demonstrating amply how the spirit of Blind’s own writings became part of the spirit of her own late-Victorian age, this book will surely draw more attention to her and possibly lead to republications of her work in print, not just digital formats. Ecocritics, for instance, might welcome a new edition of The Heather on Fire, and The Ascent of Man might well find a place in the field of posthuman studies.”

Here’s to the future of scholarship on Blind and her still-provocative ideas!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *