Parallel Lives : Five Victorian Marriages by Phyllis Rose (Author) , Sheila Heti (Introduction)
‘As fascinating and incisive as when I first read it.’ -- Hilary Mantel
Literary biography as marriage guidance counselling . . . an ear-to-the-wall treat.’ -- Laura Freeman, The Times
The book that Nora Ephron read every four years.
In every relationship there are two narratives; more often than not these narratives do not converge.
This is the basis for academic and writer Phyllis Rose’s cult classic Parallel Lives, a book that examines five literary Victorian partnerships, from Charles Dickens’s disastrous marriage to Catherine Hogarth to George Eliot’s joyful and unwed union with George Henry Lewes.
In an age where divorce was scandalous and ‘until death do us part’ was taken literally, the subjects of Rose’s book were forced to find inventive and surprising ways to coexist. As she tracks the shifting tides of power within these parallel lives in fascinating detail, Rose shows how desire, fantasy and control play out in our most intimate relationships.
Parallel Livesis an engrossing group biography and an essential work of feminist non-fiction that continues to resonate, compelling us to reflect on how we live now.
‘So incisive about the subtleties of power and intimacy that it’s basically addictive.’ -- Jia Tolentino, author of Trick Mirror
‘Filled with marvellous details and set pieces . . . Rose is consistently generous, knowledgeable and chatty.’ -- The New Yorker