The Heavenly Twins

Sarah Grand
Introduction by Carol A. Senf
A fascinating exploration of gender issues and feminist agendas of the New Woman movement of the late 1800s


Sarah Grand's dual novel of the diabolically mischievous twins Diavolo and Angelica and the coming of age of nineteen-year-old Evadne valiantly explores subjects considered taboo for a female writer of the Victorian age. Through her characters, Grand, considered one of the "New Woman" writers of the late 1800s, courageously advocated "rational dress," financial independence, personal fulfillment over marriage and motherhood, and the freedom of women to initiate sexual relationships outside of wedlock and to openly discuss such volatile sexual topics as a woman's right to contraception. She was one of the first to explore the complexity of gender roles and their inherent constraints.

Grand's ability to stimulate controversy was nearly unsurpassed. Publishers refused to issue The Heavenly Twins —so the author ensured its publication by paying for it herself, raising capital from a network of supporters.

Not only did Grand's innovative writing become the object of censure, but the author herself endured relentless attacks on her morality and personality. The issues close to Grand, manifested in her prose and by her personal experience, are as relevant today as they were in her time.

Sarah Grand was born in Ireland in 1854. A member of the Woman Writer's Suffrage League and branch president of the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies, Grand was also the author of Ideala and The Beth Book. She died in 1943 in Bath, England, where she had served six years as mayoress.

Praise / Awards

  • ". . . a richly woven novel, elaborate and entertaining—a good read. . . . Reading The Heavenly Twins and studying its critical reception affords an object lesson in literary institutionalization . . . . Although Grand lost the battle to overthrow literary patriarchs, to legitimize women's reality as a literary mode, and to champion responsibility over rights, her legacy lives on in The Heavenly Twins."
    English Literary in Transition, 1880-1920
  • "Like [George] Eliot's Maggie Tulliver or Dorothea Brooke, the three heroines of Grand's novel are Victorian Eves, famished for a bite from the tree of knowledge. . . . their fall from innocence into experience is a jarring one indeed."
    Women's Review of Books
  • "Here's a long-overdue reappearance of a fascinating book."
    Women's Review of Books

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 736pp.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Paper
  • 1993
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-06508-0

Add to Cart
  • $39.95 U.S.