So What Are You Reading?

Reviews of Books.

Saturday, April 09, 2011


Austin and Mabel is an amazing record of 19th century adultery. Austin Dickinson was the older brother of Emily Dickinson and the chief financial officer of Amherst College, as well as a leading citizen of the town of Amherst, Massachusetts. He was married and had three children. When the college hired a new astronomy professor, David Todd, along with him came his lovely young wife Mabel Todd. She was an artist and loved socializing. Austin and Mabel fell in love and maintained an intimate relationship while both stayed married. This book tells their story and prints their 13 years of letters, providing a detailed history of their love. Through these letters we see Austin, who is 27 years older than Mabel, grow old and die, while Mabel matures into an accomplished writer, editor and lecturer. "No love story approaches it" Mabel said of their relationship. While reading over 200 pages of love letters can get repetitious at times, Mabel and Austin are both wonderful people and their story is impressive.

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