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Effie: A Victorian Scandal - From Ruskin's Wife to Millais's Muse Hardcover – 27 May 2010


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Book Guild Publishing; 1st Edition edition (27 May 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846244188
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846244186
  • Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 2.4 x 23.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 811,623 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

Merryn Williams read English at New Hall, Cambridge and obtained her doctorate from Darwin College for her work on Thomas Hardy. Formerly a lecturer at the Open University, she is now editor of The Interpreter's House, a national poetry and short story journal. Her published critical works include Women in the English Novel, 1800-1900 (Macmillan, 1984), Six Women Novelists (Macmillan, 1987), Preface to Hardy (Longman, 1993) and Wilfred Owen (Seren, 1993). She has published three volumes of poetry and was winner of the Second Light Network Poetry Competition 2003, judged by Elaine Feinstein. A new anthology of her poetry, The Georgians 1901-1930, will be published by Shoestring Press in 2010. Merryn William lives in Oxford.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A. D. Smith on 25 Feb. 2011
Format: Hardcover
"Effie Gray and John Ruskin were married quietly by a Scottish minister.... Their wedding night would go down in history." writes Merryn Williams Effie: A Victorian Scandal - From Ruskin's Wife to Millais's Muse(p.24). "We know a surprising amount of what John Ruskin did, and did not do, in bed." writes Suzanne Fagence Cooper The Model Wife: Effie, Ruskin and Millais(p.23).
With two books published in 2010 on the fascinating story of Effie Ruskin, who left her husband to marry the Pre-Raphaelite artist John Millais, many will ask themselves the question, `Which one should I read?'. In fact, although they appear to cover much the same ground, I found the two books to be somewhat different in their emotional content and I recommend readers to buy both. Each book is very well written and is difficult to put down because of the riveting story told. Cooper had the advantage of access to diaries and a huge volume of correspondence and between the key players that was made available to her. She has thoroughly digested this new material and has written an outstandingly clear narrative. Her interpretations are balanced and she weaves into her account much of the background that she found described in the letters. Some of her comments on Millais paintings are especially interesting. She focuses mainly on Effie and her family and there is an insightful chapter on Effie's sister Sophie. Williams, on the other hand, paints a rather broader picture in that we learn more about Ruskin and his parents.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Diana of Walsden on 20 Dec. 2010
Format: Hardcover
The perceptive Victorian political critic John Ruskin had less insight into himself. His personality problems made his marriage a fiasco from the start. His young wife Effie found the courage to reveal the truth and win her freedom. Williams shows how, with the support of her family, Effie was able defy taboos to gain control of her own life, although some stigma remained even after success. A gripping story told with sympathy for all those concerned, and dealing also with the new Pre-Raphaelite school of painters with whom the Ruskins were involved.
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By Angela Bessant on 19 Mar. 2011
Format: Hardcover
This book is a fascinating read - an interesting and absorbing account of Effie's life. The author has certainly done her research and utilises plentiful extracts from letters and diaries, giving the reader the opportunity to discover the trials and tribulations of Effie from her pre-marital state, through the forced endurance of her first marriage (to Ruskin) to her eventual happiness (with Millais). It documents how she was able to escape from the neglectful Ruskin and her overbearing in-laws during the strict Victorian era and offers much insight into why the eminent Ruskin, so talented at finding beauty in art and architecture, may have found his domestic circumstances so difficult. Having recently studied Pre-Raphaelite art, I especially enjoyed the way that references to Pre-Raphaelite paintings were introduced into the text, in the context of time and place, thus giving a much greater understanding of why they were commissioned and how they were received. This is an excellent book and I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in the Victorians, the Pre-Raphaelites or scandals of any kind!
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