I read Jekyll. Now I learn about Hyde

I’ve been a fan of the late Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Darkover books (and her better known Mists of Avalon) for years.
That said, I’m somehow not surprised that in addition to covering up her husband’s pedophilia, her daughter recently stated that MZB herself was an abuser (quoted at the link), both sexual and physical.
I’m not surprised because I know just from watching the world that being a good writer or editor (she gave me a brutal critique of a piece I’d submitted to her fantasy magazine, but it was quite accurate) doesn’t mean you’re not a horrible person. Being charming and funny doesn’t mean you’re not an abuser. I’ve known three women over the years whose husbands were abusive. There was only one where I thought on learning the news “No, that doesn’t surprise me.” (I didn’t think he was abusive, but he was kind of a dick). It surprises me a lot less now. Mr. (or Ms.) Hyde) can present a positive face to the world and be a beast when behind closed doors; that’s just the way people are.
As with Woody Allen, I’m not sure efforts to find the kink in her books are really practical. It doesn’t have to show. Mr. Hyde can … hide. Though as with Allen, it’s hard to not think about this when you read an author’s works (I’ll see what I think when I reread them some day).
All that being said, radishreviews points out that a lot of people did know and did nothing. If not the kind of overt cover-up I’ve just written about, it was a similar impulse: The abuser’s one of us. Are we going to turn our backs on him? Let’s just keep the kids away and everything will be fine. Only it wasn’t.
One final note, on this story about Bradley: comparing her to Lewis Carroll (AKA Charles Dodgson) is ridiculous. There’s never been any evidence that Dodgson had any romantic/sexual interest in Alice Liddell (the prototype for Alice in the books). There is no evidence that Dodgson was interested in children at all (he photographed adults as well as children and had relationships—friendship at least—with many adult women). Nor were there ever any accusations. That doesn’t mean it couldn’t have happened … but unlike MZB there’s no reason to think it did (the Smithsonian article the Guardian links to makes that clear).

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1 Comment

Filed under Politics, Reading, Undead sexist cliches

One response to “I read Jekyll. Now I learn about Hyde

  1. Pingback: The clever insight (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog

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