One Soul We Divided: A Critical Edition of the Diary of Michael Field

    Edited by
  • Carolyn Dever

The first book-length selection from the extraordinary unpublished diary of the late-Victorian writer “Michael Field”—the pen name of two female coauthors and romantic partners


Jan 9, 2024
6.13 x 9.25 in.
10 b/w illus.
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Michael Field was known to late-Victorian readers as a superb poet and playwright—until Robert Browning let slip Field’s secret identity: in fact, “Michael Field” was a pseudonym for Katharine Bradley (1846–1914) and Edith Cooper (1862–1913), who were lovers, a devoted couple, and aunt and niece. For thirty years, they kept a joint diary titled Works and Days that eventually reached almost 10,000 pages. One Soul We Divided is the first critical edition of selections from this remarkable unpublished work.

A fascinating personal and literary experiment, the diary tells the extraordinary story of the love, art, ambitions, and domestic life of a queer couple in fin de siècle London. It also tells vivid firsthand stories of the literary and artistic worlds Bradley and Cooper inhabited and of their encounters with such celebrities as Browning, Oscar Wilde, W. B. Yeats, Aubrey Beardsley, and Bernard Berenson. Carolyn Dever provides essential context, including explanatory notes, a cast of characters, a family tree, and a timeline.

An unforgettable portrait of two writers and their unexpected romantic, literary, and artistic marriage, One Soul We Divided rewrites what we think we know about Victorian women, intimacy, and sexuality.

Turning language inside out