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The Green Lady : A Spirit, A Story, A Place - Sally Bayley

The Green Lady

A Spirit, A Story, A Place

By: Sally Bayley

eBook | 20 July 2023

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From the critically acclaimed author Sally Bayley, this is a poignant, brilliant exploration of the relationships between children and their teachers, and of the need for space and literature in order to grow.

In the style of Sally Bayley's beautiful memoir Girl with Dove, this book explores a child's developing imagination and sense of self.

Moved by her female teachers, Bayley's protagonist goes in search of her maternal ancestors, in particular her grandmother, Edna May Turner, whose life - though mostly unrecorded - paralleled the suffragist Mary Neal. Following the narratives of other women in history who have taken different routes to independence and artistic freedom - including Mary Neal and Austen's characters - Bayley considers the paths to happiness and the limitations social convention imposes, finding little breathing space on a spectrum that often stretches from marriage as the 'happy ending' to the poorly regarded fate of the 'spinster teacher'.

Part novel, part memoir, The Green Lady continues the traditions of Virginia Woolf's Orlando as an imagined biography which urgently understands the need for a space of one's own and - in Bayley's version - spaces outside. Growing up in an unstable home, this is a revelation that homes can be made, both in literature and the physical world.

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