I’ll Tell You What: The Life of Elizabeth Inchbald
In this comprehensive biography of the late 18th-early 19th century literary luminary, Jenkins charts Inchbald’s transformation from married actress, to widowed playwright and novelist, to her ultimate incarnation as literary critic. Moving among the interconnected realms of stage, dramaturgy, fine arts, literature, medicine, politics, and the aristocracy, Inchbald guardedly maintained her independence and individuality. This is an academic, antiseptic portrait, yet refreshingly free of the overtly feminist projections of previous Inchbald studies. At times repetitive, it contains the occasional error (Jenkins confuses Inchbald’s sisters) and omissions (early and latter years are merely sketched), and an insufficient index. Still, recommended to those with a scholarly interest in this noteworthy contemporary of Austen, Burney, Edgeworth, and Wollstonecraft.