HISTORICAL BIOGRAPHY: A LABOUR OF LOVE OR A SIGN OF MADNESS?
18 JULY 2020
Fifty five people participated in the July Saturday Seminar, Historical biography a labour of love or a sign of madness
Mary Hoban, award winning author of An Unconventional Wife, The Life of Julia Sorell Arnold took the audience through the joys and frustrations of researching and writing an historical biography of a woman who appeared on the surface to be an ordinary 19th century woman.
Vivacious and fiery, Julia Sorell’s marriage to Tom Arnold in 1850 propelled her into one of the most renowned families in England and into a circle that included Lewis Carroll, George Eliot and Cardinal Newman.
Mary’s research commenced when she read about a young woman who had thrown stones at a Catholic church, and from there it took her from Tasmania to the Balliol College, Oxford.
Mary has deservedly won numerous awards for her book, reflected in the many comments made by U3A members following her seminar, best summed up by one: “Mary’s talk was totally absorbing. Writing a book is certainly not for the faint hearted – mad, dedicated, enthused or whatever”.
Pam Caven, Committee of Management, Covid-19 Working Group