Recognised period specialists look at a wide variety of nurturing relationships between men and women, both sexual and platonic. Mothering is examined as a component of marriage and as a sustaining force in less traditional but equally creative relationships. In some instances, actual mothers provide the encouragement and unconditional approvals that are hallmarks of the mothering role. Crucial questions are posed such as how and why did these attachments evolve? Are such relationships mutually beneficial? The book offers a balanced feminist approach and perspective and is an important contribution not only to the areas of biography and psychoanalytical criticism, but also to women's studies.