A diary entry, begun by a wife and finished by a husband; a map of London, its streets bearing the names of forgotten lives; biographies of siblings, and of spouses; a poem which gives life to long-dead voices from the archives. All these feature in this volume as examples of ‘writing lives together’: British life writing which has been collaboratively authored and/or joins together the lives of multiple subjects. The contributions to this book range over published and unpublished material from the late eighteenth to the late nineteenth centuries, including biography, auto/biographical memoirs, letters, diaries, sermons, maps and directories. The book closes with essays by contemporary, practising biographers, Daisy Hay and Laurel Brake, who explain their decisions to move away from the single subject in writing the lives of figures from the Romantic and Victorian periods. We conclude with the reflections and work of a contemporary poet, Kathleen Bell, writing on James Watt (1736–1819) and his family, in a ghostly collaboration with the archives. Taken as a whole, the collection offers distinctive new readings of collaboration in theory and practice, reflecting on the many ways in which lives might be written together: across gender boundaries, across time, across genre. This book was originally published as a special issue of Life Writing.
Table of Contents
Introduction – Writing Lives Together: Romantic and Victorian Auto/biography Felicity James and Julian North
1. Coherence and Inclusion in the Life Writing of Romantic-period London Matthew Sangster
2. Intertextual Sociability in Victorian Lives of the Romantic Poets: Thomas De Quincey’s ‘Lake Reminiscences’ and Edward John Trelawny’s Recollections of the Last Days of Shelley and Byron Julian North
3. Josephine Butler’s Serial Auto/biography: Writing the Changing Self through the Lives of Others Rebecca Styler
4. Writing the Lives of Dissent: Life Writing, Religion and Community from Edmund Calamy to Elizabeth Gaskell Felicity James
5. Life Writing by the Gosse Family: Family Portraits in Scientific, Evangelical and Auto/biographical Discourses Kathy Rees
6. The Diaries of Mary Seton Watts (1849–1938): A Record of Her Conjugal Creative Partnership with ‘England’s Michelangelo’, George Frederic Watts (1817–1904) Lucy Ella Rose
7. Janet Ross’s Intergenerational Life Writing: Female Intellectual Legacy through Memoirs, Correspondence, and Reminiscences Claudia Capancioni
Felicity James is Associate Professor in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century literature in the Department of English at the University of Leicester, UK. She works on sociability, friendship and creative exchange amongst writers and communities, with a specific interest in the literature and networks of religious Dissent, and Charles and Mary Lamb.
Julian North is Associate Professor in nineteenth-century literature in the Department of English at the University of Leicester, UK. She specialises in Romantic and Victorian life writing and has a particular interest in literary biography, the construction of authorship, and the literary portrait.