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Derbyshire, V.G. (2016)
Publisher: University of Sheffield
Languages: English
Types: Article
As I read her works I found that Mary Linskill revealed much of herself in her own writing. She never wrote her autobiography and only a very small part of her diary has survived, just over one year, in fact. I have felt it right to let her own words tell this story, but for the sake of fluency I have not used quotation marks. It must be understood that nine-tenths of this book is in Mary Linskill’s own words. The excerpts are drawn from all her books and several shorter stories, - sometimes several paragraphs, and sometimes a few words. Thus begins Cordelia Stamp’s “imaginative biography” of Victorian novelist and short story writer, Mary Linskill. Related, as Stamp asserts, in Linskill’s own words, in her rendering of Linskill’s life, Stamp has stitched together extracts from a variety of Linskill’s published works, and asserts within the slim biography that these fictional works are representations of Linskill’s own life. This, it seems to me, is a problematic way in which to present an authoritative autobiography. Yet it is undeniable that Linskill’s own works blur the boundaries between what is fiction and what is reality. Detailing established events from history, including known events from her own life, her “fictional” works constantly bridge the gap between the real and unreal. This paper will analyse one of Linskill’s most famous works, The Haven Under the Hill, and seek to answer the question why her works are constructed in this manner.
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    • 50-51 (p. 51). 8 The Oxford Guide to Literary Britain & Ireland, ed. by Daniel Hahn and Nicholas Robins, (Oxford:
    • Oxford University Press, 2008), p. 239. 9 John Sutherland, Victorian Fiction: Writers, Publishers, Readers (Houndsmills, Basingstoke:
    • Palgrave Macmillan Press, 2006), p. 152.
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