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Claire Tomalin Biography

(1933– ), New Statesman, Sunday Times, The Life and Death of Mary Wollstonecraft

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: James Thomson Biography to Hugh [Redwald] Trevor-Roper Baron Dacre Biography

British biographer, born in London, educated at Newnham College, Cambridge. After working as a publisher's editor, in 1968 she joined the staff of the New Statesman, becoming literary editor in 1974, and was subsequently literary editor of the Sunday Times until 1986. Her reputation as a distinguished biographer was established with The Life and Death of Mary Wollstonecraft (1974; Whitbread Prize). Her extensive research for Katherine Mansfield: A Secret Life (1987) disclosed much that had been overlooked by previous biographies. Her play The Winter Wife (1991) deals with Mansfield's relationship with her intimate friend Ida Baker. The Invisible Woman (1990; James Tait Black Memorial Prize, and Hawthornden Prize), is a remarkable investigative study of the actress Nelly Ternan and her clandestine liaison with Charles Dickens; the work, which contributes valuably to the social history of the Victorian era, has been acclaimed as a masterpiece of feminist biography. Tomalin also received high praise for Mrs Jordan's Profession (1994) a biography of the actress Dorothy Jordan, the mistress of William IV. She is married to Michael Frayn.

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