I am currently reading a biography of Oscar Wilde by Richard Ellman. As delightful a character as imagined, I am thoroughly enjoying my time in the great author's life. I was delighted to find his mother, Jane Francesca Agnes, Lady Wilde (born Jane Francesca Elgee in Dublin) aka Speranza (her self dubbed nickname) had as lyrically a lived life as did he. She was a writer and a firebrand for women's rights. In an essay called "The Bondage of Woman" she wrote "We have now traced the history of women from Paradise to the nineteenth century, and have heard nothing through the long toll of the ages but the clank of their fetters." (p.9, Ellman)
Her son adored her and his adoration was articulated in his writing in 'The Importance of Being Ernest' Algernon says, "All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That’s his."
Like so many women today (does this sound familiar?), she "improved on reality" as Ellman says it (as did her son- he always "imroves" his age -lol) She said, when pressed about her age, "she responded airily that her birth had never been recorded, no Registry Office having been required when giants still walked the earth." (p.7)
I love that! I love women with such character, such panache.. such style! And I love that she had the guts to be a feminist when it took so much courage to be one.
Who are your favorite women?