By Amelia Opie, Shelley King, John Benjamin Pierce
Personal as well as political, Adeline Mowbray (1804) is loosely based on the relationship between Amelia Opie's friends, Mary Wollstonecraft and William Godwin. Written in a period of conservative reaction in Britain, the novel recalls the earlier radical era of the 1790s. Encouraged by her mother to pursue an interest in radical social ideas, Adeline Mowbray innocently puts her theories of idealized love into practice. Her attempt to live with the philosopher Frederic Glenmurray outside marriage is condemned by both her mother and society. Adeline and Glenmurray's relationship becomes the focal point for Opie's satire on society's attitudes to education, women, marriage, masculine and feminine codes of honour, filial loyalty and the struggle to justify individual choice. This Oxford World's Classics volume is currently the only critical edition of Adeline Mowbray available.