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Reynolds, Margaret 1957-

REYNOLDS, Margaret 1957-

PERSONAL:

Born 1957; partner of Jeanette Winterson (a writer). Education: Smith College, B.A.; Middlebury College, M.A.; Columbia School of Journalism, M.A. (with honors).

ADDRESSES:

Office—School of English and Drama, Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London, Mile End Road, London E1 4NS, England; fax: 44-0-20-7882-3357. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Palgrave MacMillan, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010.

CAREER:

Author and editor. Queen Mary and Westfield College, London, London, England, reader in English; British Broadcasting Corporation, London, England, "Adventures in Poetry," series presenter on BBC Radio-4.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Rose Mary Crawshay Prize, British Academy, 1993.

WRITINGS:

(Editor) Erotica: An Anthology of Women's Writing, foreword by Jeanette Winterson, Pandora (London, England), 1990, published as Erotica: Women's Writing from Sappho to Margaret Atwood, Fawcett Columbine (New York, NY), 1991.

(Editor) Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Aurora Leigh, Ohio University Press (Athens, OH), 1992, published as Aurora Leigh: Authoritative Text, Backgrounds and Contexts, Criticism, W.W. Norton (New York, NY), 1996.

(Coeditor with Angela Leighton) Victorian Women Poets: An Anthology, Blackwell (Cambridge, MA), 1996.

(Editor) The Penguin Book of Lesbian Short Stories, Viking (New York, NY), 1994.

(Editor) The Sappho Companion, Palgrave Macmillan (New York, NY), 2001.

The Sappho History, Palgrave Macmillan (New York, NY), 2003.

SIDELIGHTS:

A biographer and historian of poetry, Margaret Reynolds has collected the works of women poets of the Victorian era, edited a new edition of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's Aurora Leigh, and written extensively about the ancient and nearly mythic figure of Sappho, the first known female poet. She has also brought together a great number of stories and fictional excerpts by and about contemporary women in The Penguin Book of Lesbian Short Stories and in Erotica: An Anthology of Women's Writing.

In Victorian Women Poets: An Anthology Reynolds and coeditor Angela Leighton bring together the famous and not-so-famous female poets of one of England's greatest literary periods. As Catherine Maxwell explained in the Review of English Studies, "'Victorian' is defined in a broad sense," and there are a number of poems from the Romantic period as well as some that stretch into the 1920s. Nevertheless, the Victorian sensibility is pronounced, and according to a Publishers Weekly reviewer, the editors reveal these poets struggled against an ideology "that would have them be either pictures of domestic virtue or mad-women in the attic."

In her critique of The Sappho Companion, Susan Gubar reflected in the Women's Review of Books that "the first lyricist remains resolutely and tantalizingly unknown, unknowable, and thus infinitely inspiring." In the book, Reynolds explores the long-reaching impact of Sappho's life and work, up to the eighteenth century, in painting, sculpture, opera, and poetry. "In her introductions to each chapter," noted Karen Lee Osborne in the Lambda Book Report, "Reynolds wears her considerable scholarship lightly in concise, lively commentaries that will engage the average reader." Reynolds describes the influence of Sappho up to the present day in The Sappho History. In doing so, stated Library Journal contributor Paolina Taglienti, "Reynolds's in-depth analysis and critical eye uncover hidden meaning" in the works of a number of writers, including Tennyson, Baudelaire, and Virginia Woolf.

Sapphic Love is the central theme in The Penguin Book of Lesbian Short Stories. The book is "a 'canonical' modernist and post-modernist collection oriented as much toward England and France as toward the United States," noted Bonnie Zimmerman in the Women's Review of Books. From modernist writers like Djuna Barnes, Gertrude Stein, and Virginia Woolf, to more contemporary figures like Dorothy Allison, Nicole Brossard, and Jeanette Winterson, Reynolds' partner, the collection provides a broad overview of lesbian themes and perspectives. "In its design as well as in many of its texts, this anthology traces a movement from old constraints to emerging freedoms," commented Lawrence Lipking in the New Republic. "Most of the short stories and fictional excerpts … are very good indeed," noted Jenifer Levin in the Lambda Book Report. "The best border on wonderful."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Lambda Book Report, January-February, 1994, Jenifer Levin, review of The Penguin Book of Lesbian Short Stories, p. 15; October, 2001, Karen Lee Osborne, review of The Sappho Companion, p. 22.

Library Journal, July, 2001, Katherine Kaigler-Koenig, review of The Sappho Companion, p. 91; October 1, 2003, Paolina Taglienti, review of The Sappho History, p. 76.

Nation, March 29, 1993, Lennard J. Davis, review of Erotica: Women's Writing from Sappho to Margaret Atwood, p. 418.

New Republic, February 28, 1994, Lawrence Lipking, review of The Penguin Book of Lesbian Short Stories, p. 38.

New Statesman, May 29, 2000, Rebecca Abrams, "Lost Girl," review of The Sappho Companion, p. 53.

Publishers Weekly, October 11, 1993, review of The Penguin Book of Lesbian Short Stories, p. 70; September 25, 1995, review of Victorian Women Poets: An Anthology, p. 51; May 14, 2001, review of The Sappho Companion, p. 77.

Review of English Studies, November, 1994, Catherine Maxwell, review of Aurora Leigh, p. 586; May, 1997, Catherine Maxwell, review of Victorian Women Poets, p. 272.

Women's Review of Books, July, 1995, Bonnie Zimmerman, review of The Penguin Book of Lesbian Short Stories, p. 23; September, 2001, Susan Gubar, review of The Sappho Companion, p. 13; January, 2004, Meryl Altman, review of The Sappho History, p. 8.

ONLINE

Queen Mary and Westfield College, London, Web site,http://www.english.qmul.ac.uk/ (September 29, 2004), "Margaret Reynolds."

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