Goodwin, Joan W. 1926-
GOODWIN, Joan W. 1926-
PERSONAL: Born December 2, 1926, in Dallas, TX. Education: Barnard College, graduated, 1947.
ADDRESSES: Home—Boston, MA. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Northeastern University Press, 360 Huntington Ave., 416 CP, Boston, MA 02115.6
CAREER: Worked at the Unitarian Universalist Association, Boston, MA, 1973-87.
AWARDS, HONORS: Honorary doctorate of letters, Starr King School for the Ministry, 1984.
The Remarkable Mrs. Ripley: The Life of Sarah AldenBradford Ripley, Northeastern University Press (Boston, MA), 1998.
(Editor, with Ann Fields) We Believe: Learning andLiving Our Unitarian Universalist Principles, Unitarian Universalist Association (Boston, MA), 1998.
SIDELIGHTS: In The Remarkable Mrs. Ripley, Joan Goodwin has written a biography of Sarah Alden Bradford Ripley, who lived in New England during the first half of the nineteenth century. Her family connections brought her into contact with such notable contemporaries of the era as Ralph Waldo Emerson and his disciple, Henry David Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Bronson Alcott. "In this wonderful book . . . we witness the quivering excitement in the New England air and meet all the local sages," remarked Jane Langton in Christian Science Monitor. Ripley managed to exercise her remarkable intellect despite strict adherence to the "woman's sphere" demanded by her role as a Unitarian minster's wife, as well as the demands of birthing and carrying for numerous children. Reviewers particularly noted the strength of mind Ripley displays in the anecdote Goodwin relates of her subject rocking an infant with one foot, listening and correcting a student in Greek, while attending to a household chore held in her lap. Although she never wrote anything herself, Ripley is long believed to have exerted a strong influence over the circle around Emerson, as the circle's members themselves were the first to acknowledge.
Goodwin draws upon Ripley's letters and journals to reconstruct the conflicted inner world of a woman who longed to live the life of the mind but whom duty compelled to live the life of the flesh. "Without over-idealizing her subject, Goodwin shows Ripley wasting no time in self-pity but instead finding ways to remain intellectually engaged," observed Paula Friedman in the New York Times Book Review. Although Morris Hounion complained in Library Journal of the lack of sufficient genealogical detail to keep track of the numerous births, deaths, and weddings scattered throughout The Remarkable Mrs. Ripley, Booklist reviewer Danise Hoover highlighted no gaps in Goodwin's scholarship. Instead, Hoover remarked that Goodwin's research has created the first "complete picture of this extraordinary woman's life," a work which will have special appeal for historians and feminists.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, October 15, 1998, p. 391.
Choice, April, 1999, S. S. Arpad, review of TheRemarkable Mrs. Ripley: The Life of Sarah Alden Bradford Ripley, p. 1517.
Christian Science Monitor, October 22, 1998, pp. B7, B10.
Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 1998, p. 1256.
Library Journal, November 1, 1998, p. 81.
New England Quarterly, December, 1999, Joel Myerson, review of The Remarkable Mrs. Ripley, p. 625.
New York Times Book Review, July 4, 1999, p. 14.
Publishers Weekly, September 28, 1998, p. 89.
William and Mary Quarterly, July, 2000, Catherine Kaplan, review of The Remarkable Mrs. Ripley, p. 719.
Unitarian Universalist Association Web site,http://www.uua.org (November 7, 2002).*