New Statesman

Finding vindication: on the intertwined lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley

Charlotte Gordon has managed to produce that rare thing, a work of genuinely popular history.

Romantic Outlaws: the Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley
Charlotte Gordon
Hutchinson, 649pp, £25

This ingeniously constructed double biography tells the story of a mother and a ­daughter, two writers, who did not know each other. Mary Wollstonecraft, the author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, died of septicaemia ten days after giving birth to Mary Godwin,

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Primary politics: parenting advice from Toby Young and Michael Rosen

Two publications ostensibly designed to provide reassurance and wisdom to parents of primary-age children and perhaps to tap in to the ever-growing “pushy parenting” market.

What Every Parent Needs to Know: How to Help Your Child Get the Most Out of Primary School 
Toby Young and Miranda Thomas
Viking, 432pp, £14.99
Good Ideas: How to Be Your Child’s (and Your Own) Best Teacher 
Michael Rosen
John Murray, 368pp, £16.99

As an anxious new mother,

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Women on the verge: Melissa Benn on Beatrix Campbell and Laurie Penny

Prepare to be depressed. We are living through the “end of equality”, the once-celebrated advances of feminism going into dangerous reverse.
End of Equality
Beatrix Campbell
Seagull Books, 134pp, £6.50
Unspeakable Things: Sex, Lies and Revolution
Laurie Penny
Bloomsbury, 288pp, £12.99
Beatrix Campbell, journalist and activist, working-class radical and feminist, now in her later sixties, is in many ways the quintessential British writer. She has brilliantly reimagined Orwell’s The Road to Wigan Pier,

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What Hannah Arendt called thinking…

I have just come across this thoughtful essay from the New Statesman, published in the late summer, by Margaret Heffernan. It makes many important points – but I particularly love its last paragraph. It touches on so many aspects of human life and behaviour I find most interesting – in particular the things we deliberately don’t see about ourselves and others.

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