Books by Brenda Maddox

Released: Nov. 21, 2017

"Maddox's investigation lacks the dazzling heft of John McPhee's Annals of the Former World (1998), but it makes for a gentle introduction to early modern natural history, one of the last eras in which a gentleman (or gentlewoman) scholar might ever hope to have a solid grasp of every branch of science."
The word "scientist" is Georgian, but the scientific habit of mind is Victorian—and quite British, as this popular history ably shows. Read full book review >
Released: March 30, 2007

"Readers with an interest in the history of science—and with a taste for the dark side of scholarship—will find this irresistible."
Revealing analysis of the man who made the work of Sigmund Freud accessible to readers in English. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 1, 2002

"At once a scientific exploration and a personal history, Maddox's biography is inviting and ultimately satisfying. (16 pages b&w photos)"
This engagingly direct biography of Franklin encapsulates her vital contributions to science and in particular the deciphering of DNA while providing a durable portrait of a forceful personality. Read full book review >
D.H. LAWRENCE by Brenda Maddox
Released: Nov. 1, 1994

Maddox (Nora, 1988) focuses on Lawrence's tumultuous union with a German aristocrat as the major factor goading him to his artistic quantum leaps. The working-class literary novice from the Midlands could not have found a more exotic wife than Frieda von Richthofen Weekley. A sexually adventurous woman with links to the radical culture in Germany (Nietzsche, expressionism, anarchism, and psychoanalysis), Frieda gave up her English husband and three children to join Lawrence in his intercontinental travels. Many of Lawrence's friends found Frieda crude and sententious in contrast to her charming, charismatic husband (who later turned out near-libelous caricatures of them in his books), but throughout the Lawrences' turbulent married life their guests and hosts would be treated, alternately, to scenes of the couple's contented domesticity and Lawrence's appalling abuse, both verbal and physical. The marriage was a childless one, and Frieda sacrificed a role in the lives of her children from her first marriage to Lawrence's emotional needs. Frieda's devoted adoration of Lawrence as a literary genius was balanced by her own conceited ambition to serve as his companion and inspiration, a job for which few others had the stamina. Despite her infidelities, sexual demands, and jealousy, Lawrence found in her enough feminine stimulation to fuel his creativity over a lifetime. While Maddox underplays his Midlands background, she perceptively handles Lawrence's pathological denial of his tuberculosis and his homosexual ambivalence, as well as his flawed literary output and incoherent philosophy. Her new material includes such surprises as an affair the previously presumed monogamous Lawrence had in Italy and his ambiguous relationship with the homosexual Maurice Magnus, for whose posthumous memoir he provided a notorious introduction. The story Maddox tells is one of continuous emotional skirmishes between two highly contradictory personalities, each lacking self-knowledge, each obsessed with the other. She tells it judiciously and well. Read full book review >