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stories we tell become fluid myth or hardened fact as they are passed on and along. It’s this liminal space I found myself returning to throughout the book and many of my concerns circulate around thresholds and limits: between adulthood and childhood, myth and history, work and play, art and scholarship, past and future. The Lost Daughter Collective is as much about how we read and misread books as it is about how we read and misread bodies.

was complicated by their fathers, all of whom were scholars of one kind or another, and all of whom exercised some degree of control— literal or metaphorical—over their daughters’ work. For example, Mary Shelley’s 1819 Mathilda centers on an incestuous relationship between the title character and her father which ultimately leads to Mathilda’s suicide. Because Shelley’s own father (the writer William Godwin) feared the text would be read autobiographically, he ensured the manuscript was Shelf Unbound: You approach hidden in his lifetime and it never themes of gender from various saw publication until 1959. As I read angles. In the first half, you give more biographies of women writers, the men voice in the form of what struck me was the ways in which their “Lost Daughter Collective” men were shaping women’s voices meetings where they grieve on and off the page, and I wanted their dead or missing daughters to explore the ramifications of that and in the tales that the Scholar power dynamic. I also wanted to tells his young daughter. In challenge and maybe even subvert the the second half, Peter is father idea that “parent knows best” through to a transgender child – his telling the story of a child exercising “daughter” is actually a boy. gender creativity. I have learned from What interested you in exploring personal experience that this is one gender in this novel? circumstance in which children teach Drager: Part of the answer to this adults about how the world works, has to do with the canonical women and if adults don’t listen—if adults writers I find myself captivated choose not to believe or to dismiss by: Virginia Woolf, Mary Shelley, these children—the consequences are Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and the risky and in some cases dangerous. I Bronte sisters, to name just a few. So wanted to tell a two-fold story: one much of the work of these women in which a father and a daughter



Shelf Unbound August-September 2017  

Special 7th Anniversary Issue