Selena by Mary Tighe: A Scholarly Edition

1st Edition

Harriet Kramer Linkin

Published May 31, 2017
Reference - 764 Pages
ISBN 9781138107465 - CAT# Y336907

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Mary Tighe's unpublished novel Selena is one of the great unknown treasures of British Romanticism. Completed in 1803, this brilliant, compulsively readable, beautifully written, and psychologically astute courtship novel is finally available in a scholarly edition that reveals Mary Tighe to have been as talented a fiction writer as she was a poet. The history of this amazing work's long journey from manuscript to print is only one of the stories Harriet Kramer Linkin recounts in this scrupulously annotated edition based on the only known copy of the manuscript, currently part of the National Library of Ireland's holdings. Linkin's introduction situates the novel in its historical context, draws attention to significant aspects of the plots and characters, and makes a strong case for Selena's importance for understanding the history of the novel, fiction by women, Anglo-Irish fiction, silver-fork novels, and the Romantic period. Explanatory notes explain obscure references and contexts, identify allusions to other writers, and provide translations of any non-English or archaic words. Selena itself is a revelation in its frank treatment of the darker aspects of Tighe's world, including parents who mistreat, cheat, or fail their children and spouses who commit adultery or betray one another emotionally. At the same time, it is magnificent in its stunning and moving portrayals of romantic love, of the possibility and importance of female friendship, of the difficult necessity of choosing sense over sensibility, and of the need for women and men to choose self-enhancing vocations. This extraordinary novel is destined to open up new ways of thinking by scholars of the Romantic era and the history of the novel.


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