Emily W. Sunstein, a famous and influential former Dallasite you've probably never heard of

Setting Sunstein

If you know the name Emily W. Sunstein at all, it's most likely because you've read her award-winning and incredibly influential biographies of Mary Wollstonecraft and her daughter, Frankenstein author Mary Shelley. Both were beloved and very well-received upon publication: Of her 1989 book Mary Shelley: Romance and Reality, The New York Times wrote, "As biographers of women, we must, as Ms. Sunstein has done, ignore old reputations and, by means of our revisionary work, become the belated daughters of mothers long dead and long betrayed by history."

Today, Sunstein again gets a mention in The New York Times -- in her obituary, in which it mentions that the 82-year-old revered biographer and literary critic was, in fact, born on April 28, 1924, in Dallas as Emily Weisberg and that she lived here till she went to Vassar College. Indeed, her Texas roots were on display in The Times, again in '89, when she reviewed Ann Richards' autobiography. Sunstein died Saturday in Philadelphia, where she had lived most of her life as a revered and influential political reformer. --Robert Wilonsky

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