Cover image for Alone! alone! : lives of some outsider women
Alone! alone! : lives of some outsider women
Dinnage, Rosemary.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : New York Review Books ; [Berkeley, Calif.] : Distributed by Publishers Group West, [2004]

Physical Description:
xvi, 296 pages ; 22 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
CT3203 .D57 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



In the 30 years she has spent writing about psychology, child development, biography, and fiction, Rosemary Dinnage has examined a variety of odd and accomplished women, all of whom in one way or another lived their lives apart from their contemporaries. Here are solitary figures like Gwen John, Simone Weil, and Barbara Pym; muses and partners of dominant men, like Clementine Churchill and Giuseppina Verdi; survivors such as Isak Dinesen, Doris Lessing, and Rebecca West; and other extraordinary talents including writers Katherine Mansfield, Iris Murdoch, and Anita Brookner.

Author Notes

Rosemary Dinnage is the author of The Ruffian on the Stair: Reflections on Death, One to One: Experiences of Psychotherapy, and Annie Besant. She is a regular contributor to The New York Review of Books, the Times Literary Supplement, and the London Review of Books. She lives in London.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

The subtitle is key to understanding Dinnage's compulsively readable new book. Not a comprehensive treatise on the subject of woman as outsider, it instead contains pieces on unique women who caught Dinnage's attention. Dinnage (Annie Besant) divides the text into sections covering a wide array of figures, from Stevie Smith ("Solitary") to Clementine Churchill ("Partner and Muse") to Isak Dinesen ("Reinventor"), with a few composite chapters and two sections on topics, not individuals. But this is a loose grouping the "Exotics" section, for example, covers Enid Blyton and then moves on to a chapter on prostitutes. Dinnage's reflections turn already compelling biographical material into thought-provoking, intriguing sketches. Her choices might seem odd, yet Dinnage connects these utterly separate women in a frank, personable style that succeeds equally in conveying both the humor and the tragedy in her subjects' lives. The book is dutifully footnoted and academically solid yet is also beautifully written, marked with great feeling and vivid flashes of insight. It cannot fail to enrich a collection. Highly recommended. Audrey Snowden, Brewer, ME (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. viii
Introductionp. ix
I Solitaries
1 Amorous and Proud: Gwen Johnp. 3
2 Black Sequins and Seaweed: Stevie Smithp. 19
3 Vicarage Passions: Barbara Pymp. 29
4 Feeding on Light: Simone Weilp. 37
5 Silenced: Nadiap. 51
II Partners and Muses
6 Holding the Baby: Clementine Churchillp. 61
7 Echoes: Ottoline Morrellp. 73
8 Flag Bearer: Dora Russellp. 79
9 La Strepponi: Giuseppina Verdip. 87
10 Famishment: Stosslova, Abbap. 97
11 Sheltering: Olive Schreinerp. 107
III Seers
12 Scallywag & Co.: Blavatsky and Besantp. 117
13 Is It Real?: Ruthp. 131
14 Benign Spells: Witchesp. 139
IV Exotics
15 Soppists and Sapphists: Brazil and Blytonp. 157
16 Down to Work: Prostitutesp. 171
17 Innocent, Unstoppable: Marie Stopesp. 179
18 Eadie or Eddie?: Patrick Whitep. 189
V Reinventors
19 Satan Laughed: Isak Dinesenp. 199
20 Almost Queenly: Rebecca Westp. 211
21 Great Space and Tundra: Slater, Jamison, Millett, France, Fergusonp. 229
VI Trapped
22 Conspicuous Gallantry: Margaret Oliphantp. 243
23 Her Own Straitjacket: Alice Jamesp. 253
24 An Ice-Cold Wreath: Katherine Mansfieldp. 267
Conclusion by the Authorp. 277
Conclusions by the Subjectsp. 283