Reading guide for Love and Fury by Samantha Silva

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Love and Fury

A Novel of Mary Wollstonecraft

by Samantha Silva

Love and Fury by Samantha Silva X
Love and Fury by Samantha Silva
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    May 2021, 288 pages
    Paperback:
    May 31, 2022, 288 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Will Heath
Buy This Book

About this Book

Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide will contain spoilers!

  1. Discuss the novel's title. How do both love and fury shape the lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Mrs. Blenkinsop? What do those words mean to you?
  2. Love and Fury alternates between third-person narration from Mrs. Blenkinsop's perspective and first-person narration from Mary's. What is the effect of moving back and forth between these two strands? How do they inform each other?
  3. Mary's chapters are narrated directly to her daughter. As she says: "I will tell you the story to fill you up and bind you to this wondrous vale, if you stay with us, little bird. Please stay. I will tell you the moments that begin and end me—because we are made of them all, strung like pearls in time, searching always for where the new circle begins its turn, the place of our next becoming. Where the line becomes an arc, and curves." What does she mean? Do you agree with her description of life as a series of moments "strung like pearls in time"?
  4. When Mary is a child, she describes nature as "my only home on earth, a place to rest, unbound." What role does nature play throughout her life? How do her views evolve as she gets older?
  5. Mary tells Jane Arden: "I am singular in my thoughts of love and friendship...I must have the first place with you or none." What does Mary's relationship with Jane mean to her? How does it foreshadow future relationships, notably with Fanny Blood and Imlay?
  6. In one of their last conversations, John Arden tells Mary: "Yet cut open a burl, Miss Wollstonecraft, and instead of straight grain one finds waves and swirls of wood, marbled and feathered, even 'eyes' staring back at us. It's the most prized wood, above everything...Our knots are the strongest part of us. And our burls the place of our greatest beauty, if we but grow up around them, and reach for the sun." What are some of the "knots" that shape Mary's life?
  7. Mary describes Fanny Blood as the person she loved most in the world, after her daughters. What does Fanny mean to her? Would you describe their relationship as romantic?
  8. Discuss Mary's philosophy on the education of young women and girls: "Integrity, creativity, self-discipline. If they could learn to value their own minds, not the minds of others, of men, they might refuse trivialities in favor of depth, and true human purpose, a new society, made by them, reflected in them. That, I believe, is the highest virtue." What does she mean? What is the importance of education over the course of Mary's life?
  9. Do you sympathize at all with Lady Kingsborough? In what ways does she embody the difficulties women faced in the eighteenth century, despite their wealth and position?
  10. Mary reflects: "I seek a poetics of change. For women and men. That joins sense with sensibility. But a sensibility governed by reason." Later in the novel, Mrs. Blenkinsop remarks on "the way [Mary]turns feeling into thinking and thinking into feeling." What do sense and sensibility mean in the context of this novel? How are they related to feeling and thinking, in particular?
  11. Mary tells Fuseli: "I don't want women to have power over men, but power, at last, over themselves." What does power mean to her? Discuss instances in the novel where she has power over her life, and when she doesn't.
  12. The first words Mary writes in crafting A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, arguably her most famous work, are: "A wild wish has just flown from my heart to my head, and I will not stifle it, though it may excite a horse-laugh. I do earnestly wish to see the distinction of sex confounded in society." What do you think she means by that? How does it shape her approach to life and relationships?
  13. Mary reflects: "Where Fuseli was the tinder and spark, Imlay was my raging fire." How do her relationships with these two men influence her views on love, sex, and marriage? How are they similar and different? How does Mary's marriage to Godwin model a different kind of partnership?
  14. Mrs. Blenkinsop describes everything she witnesses between Mary's childbirth and death as "all this—sad and glorious beautiful." What do you think she means? Is Mrs. Blenkinsop changed by her experience with Mary? If so, how?
  15. In the last line of the novel, Mary tells her daughter, "Sorrow, my sweet girl, will bring you to your knees, time and again, but so will beauty, so too love, enough to rise again, to try again, to live as all beings wish to live: free." What does freedom mean to Mary, and how does her understanding evolve over the course of her life? Do you think Mary herself "lives freely"?


Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Flatiron Books. Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Join BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Find out more


Today's Top Picks

  • Book Jacket
    The Last Mona Lisa
    by Jonathan Santlofer
    In 1911, the Mona Lisa disappeared from its home at the Louvre in Paris. It took two years for the ...
  • Book Jacket: The Women of Troy
    The Women of Troy
    by Pat Barker
    Set in the liminal days following the Trojan War, The Women of Troy follows Briseis, who the reader ...
  • Book Jacket: The Magician
    The Magician
    by Colm Toibin
    Thomas Mann — the subject of this biographical novel by Colm Tóibín — is ...
  • Book Jacket: Cloud Cuckoo Land
    Cloud Cuckoo Land
    by Anthony Doerr
    Anthony Doerr's Cloud Cuckoo Land may be even more remarkable than his Pulitzer-prize winning work ...

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
Morningside Heights
by Joshua Henkin
A tender and big-hearted novel about love in the face of loss, from the award-winning author of The World Without You.

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Flesh & Blood
    by N. West Moss

    This beautifully written memoir offers insight, understanding, and joy.

Win This Book!
Win Sisters of the Great War

Sisters of the Great War by Suzanne Feldman

A powerful novel of two unconventional American sisters who volunteer at the front during World War I.

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

L Said, S M

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.