Miss Miles: or, A Tale of Yorkshire Life 60 Years Ago

Paperback | April 30, 1999

byMary TaylorIntroduction byJanet H. Murray

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The close friendship between Charlotte Bronte and Mary Taylor began in boarding school and lasted for the rest of their lives. It was Mary Taylor, in fact, who inspired Bronte to leave her oppressive parsonage home and go to Brussels, the eventual setting for her novel, Villette. Maryherself led a much less restricted life, especially in her later years as a feminist essayist who strongly urged women to consider their "first duty" to be working to support themselves. In Miss Miles, her only novel, Taylor breaks with tradition by creating a profoundly feminist and morally intense work which depicts women's friendships as sustaining life and sanity through all of the vicissitudes of Victorian womanhood. She also introduces an innovative narrative form whichJanet Murray (who has written an introduction for this edition) calls a "feminist bildungsroman": the story of the education of several heroines which emphasizes their friendship and economic and mental well-being rather than their love lives. Set in the small Yorkshire village of Repton againstthe backdrop of starvation in the wool districts and the rise of Chartism in the 1830s, this recovered feminist classic chronicles the lives of four disparate and individually ambitious women as they learn to find their own voices and support one another. The novel's emphasis on the healing powerof women's friendships echoes the relationship between Bronte and Taylor herself. Originally published in 1890, Miss Miles has been unavailable for decades. Its reappearance will delight all lovers of fine literature.

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From Our Editors

Recently, the authenticity of Taylor's feminist classic, Miss Miles, has been put into question. In fact, a controversy is now raging among experts and scholars of Victorian fiction over the true authorship of Miss Miles. Did Mary Taylor labor over this novel from early womanhood until the end of her life, and offer it as her last grea...

From the Publisher

The close friendship between Charlotte Bronte and Mary Taylor began in boarding school and lasted for the rest of their lives. It was Mary Taylor, in fact, who inspired Bronte to leave her oppressive parsonage home and go to Brussels, the eventual setting for her novel, Villette. Maryherself led a much less restricted life, espec...

Janet Horowitz Murray is a widely published Victorianist, as well as the founding director of the Laboratory for Advanced Technology in the Humanities at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:496 pages, 7.99 × 5.31 × 1.02 inPublished:April 30, 1999Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195064925

ISBN - 13:9780195064926

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From Our Editors

Recently, the authenticity of Taylor's feminist classic, Miss Miles, has been put into question. In fact, a controversy is now raging among experts and scholars of Victorian fiction over the true authorship of Miss Miles. Did Mary Taylor labor over this novel from early womanhood until the end of her life, and offer it as her last great act of friendship to women? Or is it the last work of Charlotte Bronte, taken from her home to prevent its destruction, then published posthumously under Taylor's name? Regardless of its authorship, Miss Miles is a passionate and compelling novel, well deserving of its literary status on its own terms, and fascinating as a part of the Brontes' world.In this, the only edition of Miss Miles available, Taylor breaks with tradition by creating a profoundly feminist and morally intense novel which depicts female friendships as sustaining life and sanity through the vicissitudes of Victorian womanhood. Set in the small Yorkshire village of Repton against the backdrop of starvation in the wool districts and the rise of Chartism in the