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y separately published work icon The Birdman's Wife single work   novel   historical fiction  
Issue Details: First known date: 2016... 2016 The Birdman's Wife
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'Artist Elizabeth Gould spent her life capturing the sublime beauty of birds the world had never seen before. But her legacy was eclipsed by the fame of her husband, John Gould. The Birdman’s Wife at last gives voice to a passionate and adventurous spirit who was so much more than the woman behind the man.

'Elizabeth was a woman ahead of her time, juggling the demands of her artistic life with her roles as wife, lover, helpmate, and mother to an ever-growing brood of children. In a golden age of discovery, her artistry breathed wondrous life into countless exotic new species, including Charles Darwin’s Galapagos finches.

'In The Birdman’s Wife a naïve young girl who falls in love with an ambitious genius comes into her own as a woman, an artist and a bold adventurer who defies convention by embarking on a trailblazing expedition to the colonies to discover Australia’s ‘curious’ birdlife.

'An indelible portrait of an extraordinary woman overlooked by history - until now.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • Melbourne, Victoria,: Affirm Press , 2016 .
      image of person or book cover 6537627577758275453.jpg
      Image courtesy of publisher's website.
      Extent: 389p.
      Note/s:
      • Published October 2016.
      ISBN: 9781925344998
    • Melbourne, Victoria,: Affirm Press , 2019 .
      image of person or book cover 7741877089646893147.jpg
      Image courtesy of publisher's website.
      Extent: 396p.p.
      Note/s:
      • Published 29 January 2019.

      ISBN: 9781925870077

Other Formats

  • Large print.
  • Sound recording.

Works about this Work

Romantic Discovery T. J. Wilkshire , 2019 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Women's Book Review , vol. 28 no. 1 2019; (p. 13-15)
'POET, fellow bird enthusiast, and academic, Melissa Ashley has a skillset that greatly animates the language, passion, and research of her debut novel, The Birdman’s Wife. Written from the perspective of the wife of celebrated ornithologist, John Gould, The Birdman’s Wife reveals a long-forgotten contributor to ornithology, Elizabeth Gould, and depicts her journey through art and science. From the moment Elizabeth meets her husband and begins her artistic career that continued right up until her death, Ashley follows Elizabeth’s progression and fills in the gaps that history has missed.'  (Introduction)
What I’m Reading – Kate Mildenhall Kate Mildenhall , 2017 single work column
— Appears in: Meanjin Online 2017;
[Review Essay] The Birdman's Wife Anna MacDonald , 2017 single work review essay
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , January-February no. 388 2017; (p. 63)

'The Birdman’s Wife is about passion, obsession, and ambition. Narrated by Elizabeth (Eliza) Gould, the novel relates her marriage to, and creative partnership with, zoologist John Gould. Opening with their meeting at the Zoological Society of London in 1828, Eliza’s narrative charts the years of her collaboration with Gould – including the time spent in the Australian colonies classifying and illustrating the native birdlife – as a result of which she came to be celebrated ‘not just [as] a wife and mother’, but as a zoological illustrator in her own right.'

(Introduction)

Elizabeth Gould and Hobarton Melissa Ashley , 2016 single work essay
— Appears in: Communion Literary Magazine , December no. 6 2016;
Melissa Ashley : The Birdman’s Wife Tracy Sorensen , 2016 single work review
— Appears in: The Newtown Review of Books , November 2016;

— Review of The Birdman's Wife Melissa Ashley , 2016 single work novel
Accomplished Women with an Avian Fascination Dorothy Johnston , 2016 single work review
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 12-13 November 2016; (p. 29)

— Review of The Birdman's Wife Melissa Ashley , 2016 single work novel
Review : The Birdman's Wife by Melissa Ashley and The Atomic Weight of Love by Elizabeth J. Church Dorothy Johnston , 2016 single work review
— Appears in: Brisbane Times , 4 November 2016;

— Review of The Birdman's Wife Melissa Ashley , 2016 single work novel
'The first point I noted about The Birdman's Wife is that Elizabeth Gould, not her husband John, the famous ornithologist, painted the pictures of birds I knew and loved as a child. While Elizabeth was credited by her initials, alongside John's, for creating over 650 hand-coloured lithographs for a number of publications, including The Birds of Australia, very little is known about the artist; she was overshadowed by her larger-than-life husband. Melissa Ashley's task, as she says in an author's note, is to bring to life, through fiction, what the factual accounts have overlooked. ...'
Melissa Ashley : The Birdman’s Wife Tracy Sorensen , 2016 single work review
— Appears in: The Newtown Review of Books , November 2016;

— Review of The Birdman's Wife Melissa Ashley , 2016 single work novel
Melissa Ashley Caroline Baum (interviewer), 2016 single work interview
— Appears in: The Saturday Age , 15-16 October 2016; (p. 18) The Sydney Morning Herald , 15-16 October 2016; (p. 28)
[Review Essay] The Birdman's Wife Anna MacDonald , 2017 single work review essay
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , January-February no. 388 2017; (p. 63)

'The Birdman’s Wife is about passion, obsession, and ambition. Narrated by Elizabeth (Eliza) Gould, the novel relates her marriage to, and creative partnership with, zoologist John Gould. Opening with their meeting at the Zoological Society of London in 1828, Eliza’s narrative charts the years of her collaboration with Gould – including the time spent in the Australian colonies classifying and illustrating the native birdlife – as a result of which she came to be celebrated ‘not just [as] a wife and mother’, but as a zoological illustrator in her own right.'

(Introduction)

Romantic Discovery T. J. Wilkshire , 2019 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Women's Book Review , vol. 28 no. 1 2019; (p. 13-15)
'POET, fellow bird enthusiast, and academic, Melissa Ashley has a skillset that greatly animates the language, passion, and research of her debut novel, The Birdman’s Wife. Written from the perspective of the wife of celebrated ornithologist, John Gould, The Birdman’s Wife reveals a long-forgotten contributor to ornithology, Elizabeth Gould, and depicts her journey through art and science. From the moment Elizabeth meets her husband and begins her artistic career that continued right up until her death, Ashley follows Elizabeth’s progression and fills in the gaps that history has missed.'  (Introduction)
Elizabeth Gould and Hobarton Melissa Ashley , 2016 single work essay
— Appears in: Communion Literary Magazine , December no. 6 2016;
What I’m Reading – Kate Mildenhall Kate Mildenhall , 2017 single work column
— Appears in: Meanjin Online 2017;
Last amended 17 Sep 2020 12:42:44
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