neglected gems

by rantywoman

I’m writing this conclusion after reading May Sinclair’s Mary Olivier, which is a remarkably similar book. Calling them intellectual spinster lit is sexist shorthand and unfair, a reductive approach to careful, sustained exploration of female identity and social status and opportunity, with the addition of energetic minds and consciousness, and the subtraction of romantic “solutions” and entanglements. It’s an effort for a heroine to live with herself and not be defined by a relationship with a man. Sinclair goes further than Mayor does, and Mary Olivier has the feel of a significant modernist text, and it, or at least she, Sinclair herself, maintains a minor reputation that should definitely be more substantial. I’m working on that vein. But in many ways I’m more interested in this even more obscure and neglected text and author. comparison to Sinclair points to Mayor’s seriousness and the ambition of her story and the way she tells it. And I wonder if The Rector’s Daughter isn’t the true neglected gem, especially for our own tastes and time. Strong recommendation, for an intriguing, highly readable and engaging, out of the way text.