This image is the cover for the book At the Center of the Circle: Harriet de Boinville (1773–1847)

At the Center of the Circle: Harriet de Boinville (1773–1847)

This biography of “a vital player in Revolutionary circles . . . offers us an important role model . . . a fearless woman almost lost to the fog of history” (Charlotte Gordon, Ph.D., author of Romantic Outlaws, winner of the National Book Critics Circle award for biography).

This first-ever biography of Harriet de Boinville explores her close relationships with Mary Shelley, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and other leading writers of the Romantic era, but also tells the gripping story of Harriet's early years as the wife of an aristocratic military officer during the French-English Wars, when she experienced a naval attack in the Caribbean, a shipwreck off the coast of France, and detention as a suspected spy in Dunkirk.

Combining literary history and gender study with the engaging story of a courageous and caring woman, this ground-breaking book has generated extraordinary praise from renowned authors and experts.

“. . . fascinating history, but it's also an adventure tale and a romance . . .” —Cory Flintoff, NPR former foreign correspondent.

“. . . Harriet de Boinville most engages with her vibrant and resilient self. Her generous personality shines through the letters quoted in this fascinating biography . . .” —Janet Todd, Ph.D., author of Death and the Maidens, and former president of Cambridge University's Cavendish College.

“Fascinating . . . Lives like Harriet de Boinville's fill out the story of those formative times as nothing else can . . .” —Fiona Sampson, Ph.D., author of Two-Way Mirror, a Washington Post Book of the Year.

“. . . meticulously researched and fluidly written . . . At the Center of the Circle tells the compelling story of a remarkably influential woman . . .” —Kristin Samuelian, Ph.D., Associate Professor at George Mason University and author of Royal Romances.

Barbara de Boinville

Barbara de Boinville has had an extensive editorial career, specializing in government and international affairs. As the Senior Editor in the Book Department at Congressional Quarterly, she edited textbooks and reference books on public policy and U.S. government. As a freelance editor, her clients included the Brookings Institution and the World Bank. After graduating from Princeton University cum laude with a B.A. in English, Barbara received an M.A. in English from George Mason University, with a concentration in teaching writing and literature. She has continued to teach a writing course for many years as a member of George Mason University’s adjunct faculty. Barbara’s husband, Bryan de Boinville, is a direct descendant of Harriet de Boinville’s husband, which is what led to Barbara’s exploration of Harriet’s life.

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