Angela Thirlwell likes to push the boundaries of biography. Her ground-breaking Folio Anthology of Autobiography, ranging from ancient Egyptian tomb inscriptions to the modern day, and still the only one of its kind, came out in 1994. She used a thematic ‘spots of time’ approach in her first biography, William and Lucy: The Other Rossettis (Yale University Press, 2003). Into the Frame: the Four Loves of Ford Madox Brown (Chatto & Windus, 2010 and Pimlico paperback, 2011) interpreted the great Pre-Raphaelite painter, Ford Madox Brown, from the perspectives of the 4 women in his life. This time, in another creative approach to biography, she’s chosen Shakespeare’s inspirational heroine, Rosalind, a character who has never lived and therefore can never die. No need for the biographer’s usual deathbed scene.

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