Graham R.: Rosamund Marriott Watson, woman of letters
Rosamund Marriott Watson was a gifted poet, an erudite literary and art critic, and a daring beauty whose life illuminates fin-de-siecle London and the way literary reputations are made---and lost. A participant in aestheticism and decadence, she wrote six volumes of poems noted for their subtle cadence, diction, and uncanny effects. Linda K. Hughes unfolds a complex life in Graham R: Rosamund Marriott Watson, Woman of Letters, tracing the poet's development from accomplished ballads and sonnets, to avant garde urban impressionism and New Woman poetry, to her anticipation of literary Modernism. Despite an early first divorce she won fame writing under a pseudonym, Graham R. Tomson. The influential Andrew Lang announced the arrival of a new poet he thought a man. She was soon hosting socials attended by Lang, Oscar Wilde, H. G. Wells and other 1890s notables. Publishing to widespread praise, as Graham R. she exemplified the complex cultural politics of her era. Her consummate grace, beauty, and wit captivated Thomas Hardy and left an impression on his work. At the height of her success she fell in love with writer H. B. Marriott Watson. She dared a second divorce and became Rosamund Marriott Watson. Graham R.: Rosamund Marriot Watsont, Woman of Letters combines the stories of a gifted poet, of London literary networks in the 1890s, and of a bold woman whose achievements and scandals turned on her unusual history of marriage and divorce. Her literary history and her uncommon experience together reveal the limits and opportunities faced by an unconventional, ambitious, and talented woman at the turn of the century. Linda K. Hughes, Addie Levy Professor of Literature at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, is the author of The Manyfaced Glass: Tennyson's Dramatic Monologues (Ohio, 1987), New Woman Poets: An Anthology, and, with Michael Lund, The Victorian Serial and Victorian Publishing and Mrs. Gaskell's Work.
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Graham R.: Rosamund Marriott Watson, woman of lettersUser Review - Book Verdict
Rosamund Marriott Watson (1860-1911), once a well-known and respected English poet, critic, and essayist, slipped into obscurity shortly after her death. Part of the reason may well be confusion over her identity - her name changed from Rosamond Ball to Mrs. G.F. Armytage to Graham R. Tomson to Rosamund Marriott as she moved through two marriages and divorces and a live-in arrangement with a third partner. According to Hughes (literature, Texas Christian Univ.; The Manyfacd Glass ), Watson was a "New Woman" who defied the Victorian ideal and lived as she saw fit, which may have incurred the rebels' penalty of being overlooked as soon as she was off the scene. Indeed, hers was a "contradictory, complicated, and fascinating life," with literary connections to Oscar Wilde, H.G. Wells, Henry James, and Thomas Hardy. This well-researched and -documented scholarly work combines details of Watson's life with examples from and commentary on her works. Owing to its subject's obscurity at this point in literary history, however, the book is recommended to academic libraries only. - Denise J. Stankovics, Rockville P.L., Vernon, CT