The Origins of The Red Virgin and the Vision of Utopia by Mary Talbot

CG - JC - May - The Red Virgin reduced When we happened to meet Mary and Bryan Talbot just before Christmas, Mary told us just what they had coming next: The Red Virgin and the Vision of Utopia, a graphic biography of Louise Michel, the revolutionary feminist dubbed ‘The Red Virgin of Montmartre’, which is publishing in May from Jonathan Cape.
Graphic novel – check. Social importance – check. Heavens, even some relevance to science fiction – check! A worthy and very Carabas title in other words. So we asked Mary if she wouldn’t mind dropping us a few lines on how she came to write – and Bryan to draw – The Red Virgin and the Vision of Utopia…

The Red Virgin and the Vision of Utopia is about Louise Michel, an extraordinary figure from 19th-century French history.

CA - The Red Virgin and the Vision of Utopia 1 The early 1870s was a turbulent period in French history and Louise was right in the thick of it: a utopian dreamer, teacher, fighter, orator and poet. Her name is a familiar one in France – schools and colleges are named after her, even a Paris square and a Metro station bear her name – but in the English-speaking world she’s virtually unknown. Bryan came across the character in The World That Never Was: The True Story of Dreamers, Schemers, Anarchists and Secret Agents. Alex Butterworth, its author, had sent him a proof copy out of interest. It turns out he’s a Grandville fan!
That was in 2010. Later in the year, we were in Paris, where we went to an amazing exhibition of photographs taken during the Paris Commune of 1871. I was intrigued, but it was only 3 years later that I began to follow it up, as I’d just started research for what became Sally Heathcote Suffragette. CA - The Red Virgin and the Vision of Utopia 3

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The Red Virgin and the Vision of Utopia
 is a biography of Louise. Beyond that, it celebrates the utopian urge in 19th century literature and politics and the origins of science fiction. We hope you enjoy it.

Mary Talbot

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You can read more on The Red Virgin and the Vision of Utopia along with other great graphic novels and fiction and non-fiction on our May 2016 Book Recommends Page, and you can see what publisher Jonathan Cape has to say on our Jan-Jun 2016 Jonathan Cape page (along with other great titles from them) or via the Forbidden Planet link below. We’ve also got a six page preview for you here!

CG - JC - May - The Red Virgin reduced
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