Great literary husbands: The men who supported genius by Laura Miller


Virginia Woolf, Edna St. Vincent Millay (Credit: AP)
“We should be doing a kindness,” wrote the London Saturday Review in 1882, “if we advise literary men contemplating matrimony to select for their wives judicious and patient nurses rather than charming and brilliant women.” There is much to be said for this policy; one genius per household is usually more than enough, and even when the creative talents in play can’t be rightly called geniuses, two is often more than domestic tranquility can withstand. But the London Saturday Review leaves one important matter unaddressed in “Of Literary Husbands,” although it does allude to this problem in the commentary’s final line: “There are also such persons as literary wives, but they are a subject on which we should tremble to enter.”

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