There was an article in yesterday’s Independent by Frances Wilson entitled “True romance – private lives of the lady novelists.” It begins with the line “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a woman in pursuit of a literary career will never find happiness with a husband, particularly if she writes about love.”
The next sentence is “Consider the list: Sylvia Plath, left by Ted Hughes for another woman, penning her last desperate poems before putting her head in the oven…” She continues by mentioning Mary Wollstonecraft, Jean Rhys, Collette, Mrs Gaskell, The Bronte sisters and Jane Austen, and states “It is a subject that is increasingly fascinating us, the readers.”
Hmmm. Is that true? Is any of it true?
It smacks to me of page filling, essay making bollocks.
Switch the title to “Private lives of the male poets” and state that it is a universal truth that male poets never find happiness with their spouses. let’s site Ted Hughes as an example shall we, after all he married Sylvia but was unable to remain faithful and content, he left her for Assia Weevil and both of those unfortunate women gassed themselves. To lose one wife in that way is sad, to lose two is surely suspect. Let’s discuss Dylan Thomas’s alcoholism and abuse of the ladies, Charles Bukowski too. There we go, proof that it is not possible to be male, poetic and lucky in lurve. What utter piffle.
It makes me so cross to see misinformation set out as fact. What about the many happily married female authors? It is possible, of course. The first line is the one that bothers me so much “It is a truth universally acknowledged” by whom?
Grrr, and yeah, argh too.