|Monday, November 4th, 2013|
7:44 am - Bessy Conway: or, The Irish Girl in America
I am happy to announce Celebration Edition #385:|
"Bessy Conway: or, The Irish Girl in America"
By Mrs. J. Sadlier, 1820-1903.
New York: D. & J. Sadlier & Co., 1861.
A number of authors in the 1800s saw the value of writing advice books for immigrants. Whether isolated "in the backwoods" of Canada, or thrown into the "chaotic mass" of America's cities, immigrants had to adapt to socially diverse and unfamiliar environments. Novels were popular, both entertaining and meeting a need for information.
Authors like Irishwoman Mary Anne Sadlier (December 30, 1820—April 5, 1903) were interested in both the temporal and spiritual welfare of their readers. Sadlier's books illustrate the dangers of the new world, while advising her readers to keep on the right path: Attend Sunday mass. Avoid public dances, drink, and Protestants. Work hard and obey your employer cheerfully (unless doing so will endanger your soul). Save your money and use it to support your family. But, if you can survive at home, her heroine advises, don't come to America at all.
Sadlier didn't (entirely) follow her own advice: Born in Cootehill, county Cavan, Ireland to Francis Madden, a prosperous merchant, Mary Madden contributed to the London magazine La Bell Assemblee at the age of eighteen. She emigrated to Sainte-Marthe, Quebec in 1844, after her father's death. In 1846, she married publisher James Sadlier. The Sadlier family owned a weekly paper ("The Tablet"), in which many of Mary Anne Sadlier's works first appeared. She enjoyed a successful public career as an editor, publisher, writer, and translator, writing more than 60 books. The Sadliers moved to New York in the 1860s, and their Manhattan home become a gathering place for Irish writers and politicians. She continued to live in New York for some years after her husband's death in 1869, but eventually moved back to Canada, where she died in 1903.
"Bessy Conway: or, the Irish Girl in America" contrasts the fates of a number of immigrants, both male and female, who heroine Bessy Conway meets in her travels. Both on shipboard and in service, Sadlier depicts real tensions between her characters, due to differences in sex, race, class, and religion. The landlords' son is identified early on as a transgressive love interest, due to both class and religion. In America, many servants openly express resentment towards their well-to-do employers. Others are intolerant towards fellow servants of different race or religion. One woman is fired because she refuses to mend the clothing of a negro servant in the household.
The morals of a servant are closely linked to the morals of the mistress of the house. Sadlier asserts that 'a good servant makes a good mistress'. In this view, an exemplary servant (one who is both skilled and biddable) will consider herself to have a good mistress, because the mistress will have no need to reproach or criticize her. A bad servant (unskilled or willful) will complain of even a saint as a "bad mistress".
On the other hand, a careless or morally irresponsible mistress cannot be a good influence on her servants. A Protestant mistress exposes Catholic servants to additional dangers: if she is not observant, then she is an example of immorality; if she is observant, she may even more dangerously attempt to prevent her servants from actively engaging in their faith, or coerce her servants from proper (Catholic) observance into participation in Protestant religious practice. One of the gravest dangers in coming to America, in Sadlier's view, is exposure to people who do not share one's religious views.
It is ironic that Bessy Conway advises women to emigrate under the protection of a father or brother. The men most strongly exhorted to protect Bessy are themselves morally tempted. Exposed to the seductive example of people of other religions, they also face the dangers of poverty and alcoholism. And while poverty may not lead to moral ruin, according to Sadlier, alcohol almost certainly will. Men, supposed to be women's protectors, are portrayed in "Bessy Conway" as both in danger themselves, and dangerous to women.
Cardinal Gibbons, Sadlier's contemporary, described women as "angels of expiation", whose "prayers and mortifications" atoned for the sins of "fathers, husbands, sons and brothers." For the Irish Girl in America, mortifications abound. In illustrating the pitfalls facing Irish girls, Sadlier's female characters are more likely to be led astray themselves than to lead others to salvation.
Bessy herself combines sense with warm-heartedness and is supported by her strong Catholic faith. Although she is biddable, she is also capable of asserting herself. Bessy may not always please modern readers, but she stands up surprisingly well as an admirable character. Her fellow-travellers are not always so wise.
|Sunday, October 6th, 2013|
12:59 pm - Across the Plains in the Donner Party: A Personal Narrative of the Overland Trip to California
I am happy to announce|
Celebration Edition #384:
"Across the Plains in the Donner Party: A Personal Narrative of the Overland Trip to California."
by Virginia Reed Murphy (1833-06-23 - 1921).
As printed in "The Century Magazine", Volume 42, 1891, pp. 409-426.
I've added a new feature to this travel account; a google map showing the locations mentioned in the book.
You can see pictures from the book, and follow links from locations on the map back to the book, to read what Virginia Reed Murphy wrote about those locations.
On the 14th day of April, 1846, a caravan of wagons drove out of Springfield, Illinois, determined to reach California. The Reed family's wagons were particularly well-appointed. James Reed's step-daughter Virginia wrote later that "We were full of hope and did not dream of sorrow."
Their passage through the valley of the Platte was "an ideal pleasure trip. How I enjoyed riding my pony, galloping over the plain, gathering wild flowers! At night the young folks would gather about the camp fire chatting merrily".
As they traveled, more wagons joined theirs, until the group included about 40 wagons. After Fort Laramie, the party split. The majority of the wagons continued on the tried-and-true "Fort Hall" road, safely reaching California. Eighty-seven people, including the Reed and Donner families, chose to try a new route, the "Hastings Cut-off". Misled about the conditions of the road and lacking guides, their choice proved disastrous. As they continued, one error compounded another.
The party was trapped by early snow in the high mountains. The Reeds were lucky enough to be near a cabin built by previous travelers; the Donners created make-shift lean-to's of brush and pine boughs for shelter. Everyone was starving. The hides used to hold up the roof were cut into strips and boiled for food. The Breens, the only Catholic family in the group, took in the Reeds. Their faith was an inspiration to Virginia Reed. One night, "I found myself on my knees with my hands clasped, looking up through the darkness, making a vow that if God would send us relief and let me see my father again I would be a Catholic."
After a small group of survivors on snowshoes reached Sutter's Fort, a rescue expedition set off with food and supplies. They reached Donner Lake on February 19th, 1847, and were appalled at what they found. Everyone was starving. Dead bodies lay in the snow outside the cabins. Those who could walk attempted to return with the rescuers. The rescue parties themselves were near death on several occasions, but continued until all the survivors had been brought out.
"At Donner Lake we seemed especially favored by the Almighty as not one of our family perished, and we were the only family no one member of which was forced to eat of human flesh to keep body and soul together," Virginia Reed wrote years later. In spite of her parents' opposition, she kept her night-time vow to become a Catholic. She married and raised a family in California.
|Sunday, September 1st, 2013|
10:15 am - Sweeper in the Sky: The Life of Maria Mitchell
I am happy to announce|
Celebration Edition #383.
I was inspired this summer to finally put up a book that I've wanted to republish for a long time:
"Sweeper in the Sky: The Life of Maria Mitchell."
By Helen Wright , 1914-1997.
New York: The Macmillan Company, 1949. Copyright not renewed.
I would have liked to know Maria Mitchell. I hope you will enjoy reading the biography of this inspiring woman.
Maria Mitchell (August 1, 1818 – June 28, 1889) grew up in Nantucket, Massachusetts. The environment in which she grew up was essential in forming her personality and her future. Nantucket was a whaling port, in which wives of sailors independently managed the affairs of businesses and households, for months or even years, while their husbands were at sea. Maria's parents, William Mitchell and Lydia Coleman Mitchell, were Quakers who also valued the equality of men and women, as well as inquiry and independence of thought. Her father was a scientist and astronomer who included Maria as an equal partner in his researches.
Maria herself said, of the genesis of her interest in astronomy: "It was, in the first place, a love of mathematics, seconded by my sympathy with my father's love for astronomical observation. But the spirit of the place had also much to do with the early bent of my mind in this direction. In Nantucket people quite generally are in the habit of observing the heavens, and a sextant will be found in almost every house."
In addition to making observations of the skies at night, Maria worked as a teaching assistant with Unitarian minister Cyrus Peirce during the day. In 1835, she opened her own school, controversially accepting African Americans among her students. A year later, she accepted a job as the first librarian of the Nantucket Atheneum, where she worked for twenty years.
Over time, Maria and her father made thousands of observations of meridian altitudes of stars for the determination of time and latitude, of moon culminations and occultations for longitude. They kept meticulous records, requiring patience, persistence, and ingenuity. On October 1, 1847, at 10:30 p.m. Maria Mitchell discovered Comet 1847 VI, which came to be named "Miss Mitchell's Comet" (modern designation C/1847 T1). As the "first discoverer" of this "telescopic comet", she won a gold medal prize, established by King Frederick VI of Denmark and awarded by his son, King Frederick VII of Denmark. On the medal was inscribed "Non Frustra Signorum Obitus Speculamur et Ortus", trans. “Not in vain do we watch the setting and rising of the stars”). With the award, Maria and her astronomical work received world-wide recognition.
As early as 21st of August, 1862, before the buildings of Vassar College were even completed, Maria Mitchell was approached by its trustees. In 1865, she became the first person appointed to the faculty of Vassar College, and Director of the Vassar College Observatory. The very existence of a women's college was criticized and opposed, the appointment of women as professors even more disputed. Maria taught at the college until her retirement in 1888, actively involving students in the observatory. "They shared then that feeling of companionship and mutual understanding which Maria expressed so well when she said, 'We are women studying together.' Beyond the world's chaos, beyond its distractions, they felt then the existence of eternal order."
Maria did much more than teach and study the stars. She advocated actively for the education of women, for their involvement in science, and for their equal appointment and payment in the work force. She saw women's involvement as more than a matter of justice:
"In my younger days when I was pained by the half-educated loose and inaccurate ways which we all had, I used to say, 'How much women need exact science.' But since I have known some workers in science who were not always true to the teachings of nature, who have loved self more than science, I have said, 'How much science needs women.'"
"Until women throw off reverence for authority they will not develop. When they do this, when they come to truth through their own investigations, when doubts lead them to discovery, the truth which they get will be theirs, and their minds will go on and on unfettered."
Her Quaker upbringing had instilled her with a deep-set belief in the value of every person, male or female, and an uncompromising conscience. Her rejection of the more rigid and authoritarian forms of Quakerism in the Nantucket meeting of her youth, resulting in her being read out of meeting, further strengthened her ability to make her own choices and stand up for what she believed. "Hers was the spirit of those others who had followed in his wake [Thomas Macy, an early quaker settler], seeking peace, yet fighting for their individual right to freedom of conscience as well as freedom of thought and speech."
With this, she combined a deep belief in mathematics and science. For Maria, religion and science were not in conflict. She found in science a window into creation, in scientific method, "the study of the works of God."
"To ponder on the infinite, perpetual curiosity, kept alive by imagination, is necessary. "
"The true mathematician joins his mathematics to all science. Of what interest is the discovery of a new curve if no flower winds itself according to its laws, if no bird builds to interpret its sinuous ways, if no planet or star follows its sweeping arches."
"There is something elevating in the study of any of the natural sciences, and especially there must be in the study of other worlds. When we are chafed and fretted by small cares, a look at the stars will show us the littleness of our own interests. I would hold out to you the study of nature for its own sake – to learn the truths it can tend you – to get a faint idea of the grandeur of creation and the wonderful working of celestial mechanism."
For me, it was very moving to read some of Maria Mitchell's comments on one's "sphere of influence". We have likely all had the experience of wondering whether our efforts in some area have had any effect. She writes of the impossibility of assessing our true effect:
"No matter what you are or where you are you are a power. Your influence is inscrutable. Personal influence is always underrated by the person. We are all centres of spheres – we see the portions of the sphere above us and we see how little we affect it. We forget the part of the sphere around and before us."
"A sphere is not made up of one, but of an infinite number of circles; women have diverse gifts, and to say that woman's sphere is the family circle is a mathematical absurdity."
Reading Maria Mitchell's biography gave me a new appreciation of her life and work. I found her a wonderfully hopeful person. I hope you will enjoy it.
Mary Mark Ockerbloom, Editor, A Celebration of Women Writers
|Thursday, August 1st, 2013|
9:44 pm - The Stealers of Light
I am happy to announce|
Celebration Edition #382:
"The Stealers of Light: A Legend."
By Marie, Queen, consort of Ferdinand I, King of Romania, 1875-1938.
Illustrations by Edmund Dulac, 1882-1953.
London; New York; Toronto: Hodder & Stoughton, 1916.
"To work for others may give joy to some; but my longing is to ride on the world, as I would ride a turbulent horse, breaking its will beneath the strength of my grip, till I feel it overcome, vanquished, at my feet!...
"I shall find the Water of Life … shall drink of it deeply, and eternal youth shall be mine!"
Such are the ambitions of the alchemist in Marie of Romania's fable, "The Stealers of Light". That someone loves him is of little interest to him, except as she can be of use to him.
Why someone would love him is harder to answer; but Queen Marie evokes the attractions of a fallen Lucifer: physical beauty, intellectual power, and heartlessly knowing manipulative cruelty. Ilona, young and lovely, returns again and again to Luath Malvorno, who not only does not love her, but actively enjoys hurting her.
It is telling that the book's title is not "The Stealer of Light", but "The Stealers of Light". Marie of Romania's fable concerns the corruption of the innocent by those who care nothing for innocence. Innocence is not enough: that Ilona is a "crystal source", a "flower from the garden of Eden", will not protect her from the effects of her "unavowable passion".
As frustrating as it is to see Ilona willfully pursue her own doom, her author is determined to show that Ilona's choices can and do injure both herself and others. Corrupted innocence and fallen evil: both become stealers of light.
Whether either can achieve a measure of redemption is another question... read Queen Marie's fable to find out.
Edmund Dulac created only a couple of illustrations for this book, but they are wonderful examples of his work. Thanks go to Tom Kinter, who provided color scans of the illustrations, from his website "Queen Marie - Regina Maria of Romania" http://www.tkinter.smig.net/QueenMarie/index.htm
Best wishes, Mary Mark Ockerbloom
|Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013|
7:59 am - An Ode, Occasion'd by the Death of Her Sacred Majesty
I am happy to announce|
Celebration Edition #381:
"An Ode, Occasion'd by the Death of Her Sacred Majesty."
By a Young Lady.
London: Printed for Richard Cumberland, at the Angel in S. Paul's Church Yard, 1695.
Mary, born at St. James's Palace in London on 30 April 1662, was the eldest daughter of James, Duke of York (the future James II & VII), and his first wife, Lady Anne Hyde. Mary's uncle was King Charles II, ruler of England, Scotland and Ireland. Although her father converted to Roman Catholicism, Mary and Anne were brought up as Anglicans by command of King Charles II.
Mary lived at a time when the very nature of royalty was being challenged. The idea that political authority was invested in the body of a ruler empowered by a mystical hereditary "divine right of kings" was giving way to a model of kingship as a contract between monarch and subjects. As a female heir to the throne, Mary's position was particularly precarious.
Mary was betrothed at fifteen to her cousin William of Orange, the Protestant Stadtholder of Holland and fourth in the English line of succession (after James, Mary and her sister Anne). Reportedly, she "wept all that afternoon and all the following day" after hearing the news. After marrying William in St. James's Palace on 4 November 1677, Mary accompanied her new husband back to the Netherlands.
Mary's animated and personable nature made her popular with the Dutch people. Although her marriage was arranged for political and religious reasons, Mary and William came to care for each other and developed a viable working relationship, albeit one in which William was dominant.
In 1688, the birth of James Francis Edward to James II of England and Mary of Modina roused fears of a Catholic revival in Britain, and set the stage for the later Jacobite rebellion. William of Orange was approached by English Protestants to bring Dutch forces to England and depose James. After landing on 5 November, 1688, and obtaining the support of the English Army and Navy, William allowed James to escape to France where he lived in exile until his death. Mary, who remained in the Netherlands while her father was overthrown, was heavily criticized for disloyalty to her father.
With the exclusion of Catholic heirs, Mary had priority over William in the English line of succession, and should have become Queen in her own right. However, William and his supporters objected that a husband should not be subject to his wife. When Parliament passed the Declaration of Right on 13 February 1689, the crown was offered to William and Mary as joint sovereigns, with the proviso that "the sole and full exercise of the regal power [would be] executed by the said Prince of Orange in the names of the said Prince and Princess during their joint lives."
Though she willingly abdicated much of her power to her husband, Mary still governed the Church of England and demonstrated her competence by governing as regent when William was away on his frequent military campaigns. However, in 1694, Mary contracted smallpox, dying at Kensington Palace on the morning of 28 December, 1694. Her death potentially undermined the legitimacy of William's kingship. Some feared that God was punishing Mary, William, and England itself for rejecting James II as its lawful king.
Though her death provoked outpourings of grief on the part of both her husband and her country, it is clear that Mary was at best an ambivalent figure for women. Physically, she was pregnant at least once, but miscarried. Symbolically too, her promise never came to fruition. She had great power, but submitted to her husband. She displayed promise in governance, but died young without fulfilling her potential.
Elegies such as the anonymous "Ode" describe Mary as an incarnation of womanly virtue: pious, dutiful, and subservient. Such a model had disadvantages for other women.
MARIA, the Queen of every Grace,
All that were Great, Good, Soft or Fine,
That Stately and Endearing was.
The "Ode", however, has a dual purpose. Not only is Mary to be mourned; William is to be legitimized as her inheritor. In the spiritual realm, Mary becomes a sort of Protestant saint whose purpose is to protect her husband and her country. The 'nymph' Brittania, personifying England, shares Mary's concerns:
Pardon blest Soul continu'd she,
If it should here be thought
I cast neglect on that you so did Prize,
Whom always worthy Deeds such griefs now signalize.
Though there is reason to mourn, all is not lost:
'Tis true, I stand possest of Royal Mary's better part,
That has her mind, and had her heart;
That wears her Crown below, while she sits Crown'd above
With endless Glory, endless Love.
Brittania, mourning Mary's loss, voices her support of William.
So Brave and Mortal what I prize!
'Tis that brings all the watry deluge from off my Eyes.
'Tis that—were he immortal, or not worth my care,
All my Anxi[e]ties were finish'd here.
But as he's great, expos'd, and good,
Shall I stand here defended by that sacred Blood,
And for the Royal Stream drop a few beggarly Tears,
Or sigh my poorer fears?
No I'd his hazards, and his glory share:
Tell him, I'le for his sake no ill decline
That all his dangers must be mine.
In this way, the author attempts to support the legitimacy of William's reign after Mary's death.
But what for him's yet to be fear'd
That has Omnipotence for his Guard?
Yet beg him for my sake beware,
That was Maria's dying care.
Heaven's he is, as he is mine
Further doubting were a Crime.
Though the author claimed William for both "Heaven" and "Brittania", William reigned for only a few years after Mary's death. In 1702 he died of pneumonia, a complication of an injury after being thrown from his horse. Mary's sister Anne served as queen regnant for another five years, but died without surviving children, the last monarch of the House of Stuart.
|Tuesday, June 11th, 2013|
9:54 pm - "A Lady's Escape from Gwalior, and Life in the Fort of Agra during the Mutinies of 1857"
I am happy to announce|
Celebration Edition #380:
"A Lady's Escape from Gwalior, and Life in the Fort of Agra during the Mutinies of 1857" by Ruth M. Coopland, widow of the Rev. George William Coopland, M.A., late fellow of St. Catherine's College, Cambridge, and Chaplain to the Hon. East India Company. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1859.
When Ruth Coopland and her husband, the Rev. George Coopland, landed at Calcutta on the afternoon of the 17th of November, 1856, she "examined with a critical eye the new and strange land" before her. However, her husband had engaged rooms in a quiet lodging house, the Bishop was "very kind and friendly in his manner," and various friends and relatives kept turning up, from her husband's brother-in-law to her uncle Colonel Stuart Menteath, her aunt, and her cousins. Indeed, it seemed to Ruth that "every one nearly in India is Scotch or Irish", most of them young and attractive. Her comments paint a picture of an outpost manned by the expendable youth of Britain's far-flung empire, eager to make something of themselves, with little to lose beyond their lives.
The impact of the Indian Mutiny becomes more understandable when one realizes the extent to which Britain was engaged personally. "There is scarcely a family in the three kingdoms that has not some friend or relative in India, and who has not sent home an account of Calcutta".
Rev. Coopland was appointed by the Bishop to the station of Gwalior, considered to be "very desirable". Gwalior was not part of the English protectorate, "under the Government", but rather an independent region governed by a rajah. Treaties required the Rajah to maintain a force of native troops, officered from the Company's army, under the command of the British Resident. "The inhabitants of the station consisted of the Resident, the Brigadier, the Brigade-Major, about thirty officers and their families, some men belonging to the telegraph office, and a few sergeants and drummers, all Europeans: there were four native regiments of the Gwalior Contingent... These troops belonged to the Company, and were officered by them, but were paid by the Maharajah of Gwalior". The British families formed the "pleasant society" of Gwalior. As was common, the English lived in their own enclave, staffed by servants but largely separate from the "natives".
The Cooplands arrived at Gwalior on the 8th of January, 1857, having sent on their household goods, including "a grand piano, a buggy, and stores of glass" in addition to books, linen, crockery, and clothing. They were unable to get a house for several weeks, and stayed in the interim with Mrs. Douglas Campbell, Mrs. Coopland's aunt's sister, and her husband. Captain Campbell was superintending the completion of a road from Agra to Indore, through Gwalior. The Cooplands were pleased with the church, and amused themselves by rebuilding the church organ so that it would play in tune. Eventually, they removed to their own bungalow, surrounded by gardens. The spring was beautiful, but by April it was becoming unpleasantly hot. Rumours began to circulate of unrest in other areas of India.
News of the mutiny of May 10th "burst on us at Gwalior like a thunderclap, and paralysed us with horror". No one had any idea of what to do, or where to go, or whether it would be safer elsewhere. "My husband had often wished to send me to Agra; but he would not desert his post, and I would not leave him."
Ruth Coopland had not been in India, or in Gwalior, long enough to become familiar with the people and culture around her. Now, as rumours circulated faster than the news on the telegraph, she wrote home: "we cannot be sure of our lives for a day, and live in a state of constant anxiety and dread."
Perceptions of the people around them changed with the news of unrest: her husband wrote, "The change in the behaviour of all servants and natives is wonderful, since the disturbances broke out. All are insolent, no longer like submissive slaves, but as if they were very forbearing in not at once murdering you; and the people eye us, when we drive out, in the most sinister and malicious way."
Ruth's servants were still strangers to her: increasingly she feared and distrusted them. "I was much struck with the conduct of our servants – they grew so impertinent. My ayah evidently looked on all my property as her share of the plunder."
Yet, when the crisis finally came, on June 12, "The ayah and bearer rushed in, calling out, 'Fly! the sepoys have risen, and will kill you.' The ayah then quickly helped me to dress." All was confusion and uncertainty. No one knew what to do.
The Cooplands went to a neighbouring house. There Mrs. Blake's servants hid them with their mistress, first in the garden, and after the house had been pillaged and burned, in Muza the kitmutghar's hut. They were almost discovered there, and moved to another servant's house. Betrayed by the crying of one of the babies, they were dragged from the hut. Rev. Coopland, the only adult male in the group, was shot.
The second half of Mrs. Coopland's account describes her experiences from her escape from Gwalior to her arrival in England. The kitmutghar Muza helped her and other women and children to reach Agra, at risk of his own life. At least one child was born on the journey, and although she does not mention it, Mrs. Coopland was also pregnant. The reader infers that her baby was born after she moved into the Fort of Agra, since it is first mentioned there.
For all that she owed her safety several times over to Muza and other Indians, Mrs. Coopland seems to take their help for granted -- as nothing more than what they should have done. The evils that she experienced far outweighed the good she saw, in forming her emotional reactions and views of the Indian people.
The day after she moved into the fort at Agra, "I overheard the natives in the next compartment to mine talking of the Gwalior mutiny; one of the servants who had come in from Gwalior was giving his companions a detailed account of all that had happened on that fatal day: how this 'sahib was killed' and where another was shot. It was harrowing to my feelings to hear all this, for I now knew quite enough of Hindoostanee to understand what they said, and I distinctly heard them go over the whole account with minute exactness, gloating and dilating on the horrible facts, and then laughing with savage glee over the number that had been killed: I heard them repeatedly speak of the 'padre sahib' – my dear husband."
She was not the only one to be traumatized by all that had happened: "Some of the children had not recovered their fright at Gwalior: Archie Murray and Jungy Meade used to awake at night, and scream out that the sepoys were coming with swords to kill them: they often asked after their little playmates killed at Gwalior."
It is clear from her account that the military families were resilient and adept at making improvements in their quarters at Agra. The survivors in the Fort helped each other as best they could, and Mrs. Coopland formed friendships in adversity. On December 12, she was able to go to her aunt and cousins at Simla. (Her uncle, Colonel Stuart Menteath, had been killed.) On the 19th of January, 1858, she left them and traveled by bullock train via Lahore and Mooltan, down the Indus by steamer to Kurrachee, and then to Bombay. She reached Bombay on the 9th of March. Her passage back to Britain was paid by the Relief Fund. On the 18th of March she boarded the "Oriental", going home.
"We sailed in the evening, and the moon which had just risen, cast a soft flood of light over the clear blue sea, and the white houses and green trees of Bombay sloping down to the water. I had soon taken my last look of India, and its myriads of people, – most of whom are black at heart, – its burning sun, and all the scenes of horror I had witnessed."
After the retaking of Gwalior, Ruth arranged for a tomb to be erected in her husband's memory in the Christian Cemetery at Gwalior. A photograph of the stone can be seen online at http://www.indian-cemeteries.org/viewimage.asp?ID=830 It reads "To the memory of Rev. George William Coopland M.A. Late fellow of St. Catherine's College Cambridge and H.E.I.C.'S Chaplain. He was killed at Gwalior by the Sepoys on the morning of 15th June 1857 in the 30th year of his age. He had been chaplain of Gwalior for 6 months. This monument was erected by his widow after the retaking of Gwalior June 1858." Another memorial tablet is located in St. Catherine's Chapel, St. Catharine's College, Cambridge.
It is worth closing with Ruth Coopland's own words, describing her motives for writing her account, one of which was to pay tribute to the strength and endurance of women.
"I hope no one will think me unfeeling in writing what follows: it must be obvious to all that I cannot do so without great pain; but I think that Englishmen ought to know what their own countrywomen have endured at the hands of the sepoys; and what we went through that night and the following week, hundreds of ladies suffered all over India. Only a few survived to tell the tale; which can only be faithfully told by one who has experienced the misery.
"Some men may think that women are weak and only fitted to do trivial things, and endure petty troubles; and there are women who deserve no higher opinion: such as faint at the sight of blood, are terrified at a harmless cow, or make themselves miserable by imagining terrors, and unreal sorrows; but there are many who can endure with fortitude and patience what even soldiers shrink from."
|Wednesday, May 1st, 2013|
6:32 am - Quid Pro Quo: or, The Day of Dupes
I am happy to announce|
Celebration Edition #379:
"Quid Pro Quo: or, the Day of Dupes,
The Prize Comedy in five acts as first performed at the Theatre Royal, Hay-Market on Tuesday, June 18, 1844."
By Mrs. (Catherine Grace Frances) Gore, 1799-1861.
London: Published at the National Acting Drama Office, etc., 1844.
Catherine Grace Frances Gore [nee Moody] (1799 – January 29, 1861) was the daughter of a wine merchant at Retford, who moved to London with her family after her father's death. She married army officer Charles Arthur Gore on 15th February 1823 at St. George's, Hanover Square. The Gores lived on the continent during the 1830's, returning to England in 1840. Catherine Gore began writing novels, poetry, and short fiction in the 1820s. After her marriage, she supported her increasing family of ten children by her even-more-rapidly-increasing writings.
Gore wrote more than sixty novels, dramas, and verse, most of them published anonymously. She was one of the most notable authors of the "silver-fork novel," satirical romances depicting the gentility and etiquette of high society. Gore had experience in both London and Paris society, and paid painstaking attention to details of etiquette and fashion. King George IV said of her "Women as they are, or Manners of the Day", that it was "the best bred and most amusing novel published in his remembrance". Gore's 1861 obituary in "The Times" recognized Gore as "the best novel writer of her class and the wittiest woman of her age."
Although she wrote a number of plays, she was less successful as a dramatist. In 1894, the popular London magazine, "All the Year Round", commented on the rarity of Victorian women playwrights. "Though we can count women novelists by the score, the number of women dramatists is extremely limited, and can easily be told off on the fingers."
The stage was, in Victorian England, a highly gendered area. Women were barely tolerated onstage, and displays of female virtuosity by actresses aroused both nervousness and antagonism from male viewers. The "egoistic force" and "imperial power" displayed in women's successful performances transgressed gender codes and made men distinctly uneasy. Max Beerbohm, reviewing Eleanora Duse, wrote "In a man I should admire this tremendous egoism very much indeed. In a woman it makes me uncomfortable. I dislike it. I resent it. In the name of art, I protest against it." ["The Cambridge History of British Theatre", Joseph Donohue, ed.]
Writing for the stage was even more problematic. Dramatic writing was compared to predominantly masculine activities such as science, mathematics, and architecture, "full of the refreshment of calculation and construction." The mind of the playwright, directing characters across the stage, commanding and controlling the action of the play, must be masculine. Some women wrote anonymously or used male pseudonyms in an attempt to circumvent this bias. When women did write successful plays, as Joanna Russ notes, the response was often a denial of female agency: if she did write it, she wrote it "like a man".
In 1844, Catherine Gore's play "Quid Pro Quo, or, the Day of Dupes" was chosen by a prize committee to win a 500 pound prize. Her play won out over 96 other anonymously-submitted plays. When the identity of the author was discovered, there was consternation and acrimony. Gore did not hesitate to ascribe the critics negative response to the fact that she, an outsider and a female, had dared to compete with established, predominantly male dramatists.
"No inducement would have determined me to confront the hostility likely to attend the representation of such a play, had I not been pre-assured, by the precautions taken, that the authorship would remain anonymous. Unfortunately, my handwriting was known to a literary gentleman connected with the theatre, through whom, after the adjudgment of the prize, the secret transpired to the Committee; and the result has been most injurious to the piece, and disagreeable to myself. For the animosity on the part of the pit and the press (the dramatic critics of the newspapers being, almost without an exception, rival dramatists,) which succeeded in condemning the very superior plays of JOANNA BAILLIE, Lady DAGRE, and LADY EMMELINE WORTLEY, could scarcely fail to crush any attempt of mine."
"Quid Pro Quo, or, the Day of Dupes" shares many of the characteristics of Catherine Gore's silver-fork novels. Members of the upper class, desiring both money and political power but unwilling to work for either, rub shoulders awkwardly with the rising merchant and military classes who have what they lack. Social distinctions become increasingly confused when the Countess of Hunsdon decides to put on a private theatrical. Several of those attending are playing parts off as well as on the stage. Catherine Gore pokes fun at all her characters, but does so affectionately, with sympathy for her young lovers. Her use of a play-within-a-play, mocking private theatricals, was a characteristically clever authorial choice, intended to appeal to the competition's judging committee. Her play is an amusing confection, intelligently written: one can readily understand how it defeated 96 competitors to won the 1844 prize.
|Sunday, March 31st, 2013|
5:55 pm - Womens Speaking Justified, Proved and Allowed of by the Scriptures
It seems only fitting to announce Celebration Edition #378 at Easter, since Margaret Fell used the example of the women who came to the tomb to support her arguments in favor of women having a religious voice:|
"Womens Speaking Justified, Proved and Allowed of by the Scriptures."
by Margaret Fell, 1614-1702.
London: Printed in the Year, 1666.
The 1660's were a difficult but surprisingly productive time for Margaret Fell. The Parliament of England passed several acts intended to suppress dissenting religious views. The Quaker Act of 1662 required people to swear an Oath of Allegiance to the King. As Fell wrote in 1660, this Oath was invented "on purpose to ensnare us", because "they know we cannot swear, nor take an Oath for Conscience sake". George Fox was arrested and imprisoned in Lancaster Gaol by January 1664. Margaret Fell was arrested and imprisoned at Lancaster Castle in February.
Passage of the Conventicle Act on May 17 1664 gave the authorities additional leverage against the Quakers. The Conventicle Act forbade assemblies of more than five people over the age of 16 and not in the same family, under "pretence of any Exercise of Religion in other manner then is allowed by the Liturgy or practise of the Church of England". Both Acts were used to prosecute Margaret Fell on September 21, 1664.
"They passed the sentence of premunire upon me, which was, that I should be out of the King's protection, and forfeit all my estate, real and personal, to the King, and be imprisoned for life. But the great God of heaven and earth so supported my spirit under this severe sentence, that I was not terrified, but gave this answer to Judge Turner, who gave this sentence: 'Although I am out of the King’s protection, yet I am not out of the protection of the Almighty God.'"
The King had some sympathy for the Quakers, but lacked the power to override the Acts of Parliament. In January 1665, King Charles II granted Margaret Fell's forfeited estate to her son George Fell, who was no longer a Quaker. George lived in London, and left Swarthmoor to his sisters, who continued to hold Quaker meetings there.
Margaret Fell spent the next four years (1664-1668) imprisoned in Lancaster Gaol. George Fox was imprisoned in Lancaster as well, until 1666, as were other Quakers. Margaret did not sit idle. During this time she wrote many of her longer religious pamphlets and epistles, including "Women's Speaking Justified", a scripture-based argument for women's ministry, and one of the major texts on women's religious leadership in the 17th century.
Fell was not the only writer to argue in support of women's voice in Quaker worship. She was preceeded by Sarah Blackborow ("Just and Equall Ballance Discovered", 1660), George Fox ("Concerning Sons and Daughters", 1661), Dorothy White ("A Call from God out of Egypt", 1662) and Katherine Evans ("A Brief Discovery of God's Eternal Truth", 1663), and followed by Elizabeth Bathurst ("The Sayings of Women," 1683), Anne Docwra ("Epistle of Love," 1683), and Dorcas Dole("Once more a Warning", 1683).
Fell's pamphlet brings together various arguments in favour of women, in one comprehensive appeal. Her arguments rest on the underlying principle of Quakerism that both men and women are created by God and are spiritually open to God's "Inner Light". She reinterprets key scriptural passages, she provides examples of biblical women speakers, she draws out the egalitarian implications of the doctrine of the light, and she appeals to anti-Catholic and anti-authoritarian Quaker beliefs in refuting arguments against women's speaking.
Acts 2. 27 prefaces her appeal. "And it shall come to pass, in the last dayes, saith the Lord, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all Flesh; your Sons and Daughters shall Prophesie." Margaret Fell cries out that "Lord Jesus hath manifested himself and his Power, without respect of Persons, and so let all mouths be stopt that would limit him, whose Power and Spirit is infinite, that is pouring it upon all flesh. "
After her release in June 1668, Margaret Fell continued to write, travel, and preach. In October 1669, at Bristol, she married George Fox. In April of 1670 she was again imprisoned. Margaret Fox and George Fell spent little of their married life together, due to numerous travels and arrests. Margaret Fell outlived two husbands, and lived during the reigns of six English monarchs, finally dying on April 23, 1702.
|Thursday, March 14th, 2013|
7:19 am - "A Glance into the Future" ; A Makeover for the Celebration Landing Page
In honor of Women's History Month, the Celebration's landing page has received a makeover! Check out our new look at http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/|
Thanks to K. A. Moulton, I've another vision of the future to announce today. He let me know about a one-act utopian "play", printed in an 1879 edition of Godey's Lady's Book, which was not in the Science Fiction and Utopias list:
"A Glance into the Future; or, The World in the Twenty-Ninth Century"
by Elilzabeth T. Corbett.
Published in Godey's Lady's Book, March 1879, Vol 98, No. 585, pp. 262-.
I've put a copy online, so you can enjoy Elizabeth Corbett's vision of a future with undersea tunnels, trans-oceanic ballooning, and self-immolating bears.
Happy Women's History Month! The future is being made today...
|Friday, March 1st, 2013|
4:48 pm - Women's History Month: "Woman not Inferior to Man"
In honour of Women's History Month, I am happy to announce|
Celebration Edition # 377:
"Woman not Inferior to Man: or, a Short and Modest Vindication of the Natural Right of the Fair-Sex to a Perfect Equality of Power, Dignity and Esteem with the Men."
by 'Sophia'. [Variously attributed to Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, 1689-1762, and to Lady Sophia Fermor, 1724-1745.]
London: Printed for John Hawkins, at the Falcon in St. Paul's Church-Yard, 1739.
After pointing out that both men and women are involved in the discussion of equal rights, Sophia argues that "we must be obliged to appeal to a more impartial judge, one incapable of siding with any party, and consequently unsuspected on both sides." She asserts that the only such Judge is pure reason, distinct from arguments based on prejudice or custom.
"To this Judge we leave our cause, by the decision of this we are prepar'd to stand or fall; and if, upon the evidence of truth, reason should declare us inferior to Men, we will cheerfully acquiesce to the sentence. But what if we obtain a decree in our favour, upon impartial examination? Why then all the authority, which the Men have exerted over us hitherto, will appear an unjust usurpation on their side; for which nothing can make a tolerable atonement, but their restoring us to the state of equality nature first placed us in."
Sophia makes arguments similar to those of Quaker Margaret Fell, in 1666, that on a spiritual level, men and women must be similar. "The same Creator, by the same laws, unites the souls of Women and Men to their respective bodies. The same sentiments, passions, and propensions, cement that union in both. And the soul operating in the same manner in the one and the other, is capable of the very same functions in both."
Given that the body may differ, but not the soul, differences in education and knowledge result from "education, exercise, and the impressions of ... different Circumstances."
Sophia goes on, however, to assert that women's bodies should be valued and respected. Since men and women are equally required to engender children, they should be given equal respect for doing so. Breastfeeding should be recognized as a benefit to society, and the nursing of children as an essential necessary good.
Sophia's arguments generally follow this pattern: There is no fundamental difference in the nature of man and woman that implies inability to engage in the same mental pursuits. Failings are therefore the effect of enculturation, not latent ability. If women do not achieve perfection in their pursuits, neither do men, so observable failings do not disprove ability in either case.
"We may easily conclude then, that, if our sex, as it hitherto appears, have all the talents requisite to learn and teach those sciences, which qualify Men for power and dignity; they are equally capable of applying their knowledge to practice, in exercising that power and dignity."
Recognizing the equality in nature of men and women, could lead men to allow women access to education and learning, greatly increasing the happiness of both sexes with respect to the other. But, Sophia cautions, "while they lock up from us all the avenues to knowledge, they cannot without reproach to themselves blame us for any misconduct which ignorance may be mother of: And we cannot but accuse them of the most cruel injustice in disesteeming and ill using us for faults they put out of our power to correct."
That women are treated as inferior to men, she is certain, is the result of injustice and force. "If we have been subjected to their authority, it has been by no other law than that of the stronger."
"I myself was accidentally witness to the diverting scene of a journeyman taylor's beating his wife about the ears with a neck of mutton, to make her know, as he said, her sovereign lord and master. And yet this, perhaps, is as strong an argument as the best of their sex is able to produce, tho' convey'd in a greasy light. "
The identity of 'Sophia' is uncertain. The arguments in 'Woman not inferior to man' are similar to those of the French feminist philosopher Francois Poulain de la Barre (1647-1725), suggesting that the author had access to works such as his "De l'egalite des deux sexes" (1673) or their translations.
Lady Mary Wortley Montague (1689-1762) has often been credited with the authorship of 'Woman not inferior to man'. Wortley educated herself from her father’s huge library, teaching herself Latin. She eloped with Edward Wortley Montague, and accompanied him to the Ottoman Empire (present-day Turkey) when he became English ambassador there. Sophia's writing is similar in theme and tone to Montagu's essays in "The Nonsense of Common-sense" (Dec. 16, 1737-Mar. 14, 1738). This does not mean that 'Sophia' is Mary: it may simply indicate that 'Sophia' had contact with Mary or her works.
Another strong candidate for 'Sophia' is Lady Sophia Fermor (1724-1745). As the daughter of Henrietta Louisa, Countess of Pomfret, a friend and correspondent of Mary Wortley Montague, Lady Sophia had the education and connections to write 'Woman not inferior to man'. Lady Sophia became the second wife of John Carteret, 2nd Earl Granville in April 1744 and died on 7 October 1745, just a few weeks after the birth of her own daughter Sophia on 26 Aug 1745. Her early death may explain why so little is known about her.
|Friday, February 1st, 2013|
2:26 pm - Newbery award books; The Jumping-off Place
In 2008, I went through the list of Newbery award books, looking for books written by women, whose copyrights had not been renewed. I found a dozen titles which had entered the public domain, none of which were available online. A few were still in print, but most could only be found in occasional libraries or second-hand bookstores. It seemed a shame that so many works had fallen into obscurity. [See http://merrigold.livejournal.com/2008/01/19/ ]|
I'm happy to announce that all of the out-of-copyright Newbery winners and honor books written by women are now available online, at the Celebration of Women Writers. I am republishing the last of these Newberys online as Celebration Edition # 376:
"The Jumping-off Place"
by Marian Hurd McNeely (1877-1930).
Illustrated by William Siegel.
London; New York; Toronto: Longmans, Green and Co., 1930, c1929. Copyright not renewed. A Newbery Honor Book, 1930.
"The Jumping-off Place" predates last month's title ("New Land", a 1934 Newbery Honor book) by several years. Both books deal with the trials and tribulations of a family of youngsters who are trying to settle in the west in the early 1920s or 30s. The Linvilles are ready to go out to South Dakota with their guardian Uncle Jim, but he becomes severely ill. Realising that he is dying, Uncle Jim records a calendar of instructions for Becky and her younger brother Dick, describing the things they must do for the next fourteen months to prove up on his homestead claim. The two teenagers are determined to support themselves and their younger siblings by following Uncle Jim's instructions.
In leaving the "kids" such detailed instructions, Marion Hurd McNeely deals with the first problem facing homesteaders: lack of knowledge. The Linvilles arrive with a blueprint mapped out for them by an older, knowledgeable mentor. This still somewhat underestimates the unpredictable and variable conditions of prairie weather, but it's more than many settlers had to guide themselves.
By contrasting the Linvilles with their neighbours, McNeely makes it clear that the second thing that homesteaders need is "ee-nergy". Becky and her brother face back-breaking, unrelenting, hard physical labour, under often difficult conditions, just to do the minimum amount of work needed to prove up on their claim. They must establish a home; they must plant a garden to support themselves. This is absolutely necessary to meet their physical needs for food and shelter. It is also necessary to ensure that they hold title to the land.
Becky and Dick's initial goal is to meet the minimum requirement of living on the homestead for 14 months, to prove up on the claim. As they feel the appeal of the prairie, it seems likely that they will stay even longer, becoming "real homesteaders".
Adapting to prairie life, they begin to realize that "You could not carry the standards of Platteville on to the prairies." They learn to distinguish between the superficial amenities they were used to in Platteville and the essentials, both physical and mental. "Funny how little you care for the unnecessaries out here. In fact, I never knew what the necessaries were until I tried homesteading."
Even more than knowledge and hard work, the most "necessary" quality for a settler, in McNeely's portrayal, is the ability to be a good neighbour. Nor is goodness passive. If malice is active, then goodness must necessarily be active too. McNeely's message is clearly demonstrated when the Linvilles first set foot in their new home and find its windows broken. Mr. Cleaver, who has driven them out to the claim, is outraged at the vandalism and determined to do what he can to fix it. Good neighbours do more than sit at home attending to their own concerns. It is our engagement with our neighbours, and our willingness to respond to and support them, that repays our welcome and well-being in a community.
Becky is the most detailed character in the book. Through her experiences, she learns that "The prairie was her prairie, and the people her people, all held together by the strange bond of needing each other."
Marion Hurd McNeely and her husband homesteaded for two years on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in Tripp County, Wyoming, the setting for "The Jumping-off Place". Sadly, she died the year after it was published, accidentally killed by a car while crossing a street.
If you enjoy McNeely's book, you can buy a printed copy from the South Dakota State Historical Society Press, which has republished it in an excellent quality paperback edition. They are doing a wonderful job publishing both old and new titles, including a Prairie fairy tales series and a new biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder. See http://www.sdshspress.com/
You can see all the titles in the Newbery Special Collection at:
|Tuesday, January 1st, 2013|
11:31 am - New Land
I am happy to announce|
Celebration Edition # 375:
by Sarah Lindsay Schmidt.
Illustrated by Frank Dobias.
New York: Robert M. McBride & Company, 1933. Copyright not renewed.
A Newbery Honor Book, 1934.
1934 was an impressive year for women in the Newbery Awards. The Newbery Medal winner for that year, "Invincible Louisa" by Cornelia Meigs, is still popular. Of the accompanying Honor books, seven out of eight were written by women. Sarah Schmidt shared the Newbery Honor with authors Wanda Gag, Caroline Snedeker, Agnes Hewes, Elsie Singmaster, Anne Kyle, and "Erick Berry" (Allena Champlin Best). Padraic Colum was the only male author to make the list.
Sarah Schmidt's "New Land" is set in Wyoming in the 1930's. The Morgan family arrive at the "Parsons' eighty" homestead intending to take it over and prove up on it. Dad Morgan, seventeen-year-old twins Charley and Sayre, and their little sister Hitty, have spent all they have and borrowed more in hopes of making a new start on the prairies. Almost instantly, it seems they are doomed to failure. They discover on their arrival that they have no legal right to the claim they have been "sold" by the slick-talking Sam Parsons.
"Dad could not file on Parsons' eighty ... He could not file on new land anywhere because he had no money, no equipment, no supplies. He had never farmed before; he did not know how to farm. He had never, really, been a success at anything. The Government did not want – would not have – men like that as homesteaders. And Sam Parsons must have known all these things when he had let them come."
The Morgans have the disadvantages of poverty and inexperience. But Sayre is determined that her family will salvage all they can from their situation. They do not own the Parsons' eighty, but they have permission to live on it and farm the land, if they can learn how to do so. When Sayre hears that the local school has vocational agriculture courses, she sees her way forward. Both she and her brother will learn to farm!
Sarah Schmidt's husband, Gustavus Adolphus Schmidt, was Associate Professor in charge of Agricultural Education at Colorado State University, where Sarah taught English. Vocational agriculture training is the warp on which Schmidt's story is woven. Its woof is her characters, whose strengths, weaknesses, and personal, political, and economic motives drive the plot and the action.
A major theme of the book is resilience. Sayre vows that she will not yield to discouragement like her father. "Something stubborn and defiant" inside fuels her determination to not give up. Her brother Charley is smart, strong, and personable, but Sayre fears that he lacks the determination and "firmness" to carry through plans. Faced with setbacks and challenges, both twins must learn to regroup, rethink, and attack problems repeatedly. They must ask whether their choices will bring them nearer to their goals.
At the same time, Sarah Schmidt makes it clear that integrity is essential. Dad Morgan, who has "never been a success at anything," is, nonetheless, a kind and honest man. His children have learned those values from him. People who value prestige and money more than honesty come into conflict with the Morgans.
The Morgans find mentors among the surrounding farmers, and in the vocational agriculture teacher, Mr. Kitchell. He agrees to let Sayre join the part-time vocational agriculture class -- the first girl to do so -- and is a source of support and counsel to both Sayre and Charley.
In portraying Sayre, a girl, as a prospective farmer, Schmidt was describing a trend in western settlement. Increasing numbers of women were proving up on homestead claims. Some registered claims adjacent to parents, brothers, or husbands to expand a family's settled area. Others independently speculated in land, or raised cattle, sheep, horses, or fowl. Like Sayre, real-life women donned pants and climbed up to nail shingles on roofs. They carried lambs to shelter in the midst of snowstorms, and drove wagons of hay and grain to the railhead to be sold. Those women gained economic independence and changed social norms about what women could and should do. Schmidt is recognizing and encouraging the development of the "New Woman" in "New Land".
The determination, resilience, and respect for working men and women that Sarah Schmidt promotes are still relevant today.
Because Sarah Schmidt did not renew its copyright, "New Land" is in the public domain in the United States. So are several of her other books: "Ranching on Eagle Eye" (1936), "Secret of Silver Peak" (1938), "Shadow Over Winding Ranch" (1940), and "The Hurricane Mystery" (1943). The copyright for "This is my heritage" (1953) was renewed, according to Stanford's copyright renewal database.
I am delighted to celebrate the New Year by releasing this online edition of the 1934 Newbery Honor book "New Land".
Best wishes to all in 2013!
|Sunday, December 2nd, 2012|
10:00 pm - The Dream Coach
Advent has officially begun! December always seems like a great time to release a children's book. I am happy to announce Celebration Edition #374:|
"The Dream Coach"
by Anne Parrish, 1888-1957 and Dillwyn Parrish, 1894-1941.
New York: The Macmillan company, 1924. Copyright not renewed.
A Newbery Honor Book, 1925.
Anne Parrish (November 12, 1888 - September 5, 1957) was an American novelist and children's author. She and her brother Dillwyn were part of a well-off artistic family. The artist Maxfield Parrish was their cousin. Her parents, Thomas Clarkson Parrish and Anne Lodge Parrish, were painters. Her mother, Anne Lodge Parrish, studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and was a respected portraitist. As a young woman, Anne Parrish trained at the Philadelphia School of Design for Women and studied under Thomas Eakins. Her younger brother Dillwyn Parrish was also a writer and illustrator, and they collaborated on some early works.
Though often thought of as a novelist, Anne Parrish is notable as a three-time winner of the Newbery Honor award. Her three Honor Books are:
"The Dream Coach" (c. 1923, 1924 Newbery Honor) (with Dillwyn Parrish)
"Floating Island" (c. 1929, 1930 Newbery Honor)
"The Story of Appleby Capple" (c. 1949, 1950 Newbery Honor)
Of the three, only "The Dream Coach" is in the public domain. The copyrights for the other two books were renewed, and still apply.
"The Dream Coach" is a lavishly illustrated collection of somewhat moralistic fairy tales. A lonely princess is befriended by a little angel who brings her happy dreams of the natural world. A Norwegian boy, left alone on the mountain, invites playing cards, goats, and a snowman to share his hearth. The Emperor of China must learn compassion for a captive songbird. A little French boy is whisked away on an amazing journey when he goes to visit his relations. Throughout the book, the illustrations are a delight to the eye and an amusing complement to the text.
"Floating Island" is an unexpected tale of shipwrecked survivors. The family who are shipwrecked are not humans, but a set of dolls in a little yellow dollhouse. Packed up to be sent as a gift to a little girl in the tropics, they become separated when they are cast ashore. They must survive the depredations of seagulls and other creatures and find each other to become reunited. Parrish supports her imaginative account of cast-away dolls with scientific information about the flora and fauna of a tropical island.
"The Story of Appleby Capple" is a complex, clever alphabet book. Each chapter is devoted to a different letter: for B, "Aunt Bella's bulb is blooming and her bird in his bird cage bursts into song." The main character is five-year-old Appleby Capple. He is on his way to his Aunt Bella's, to celebrate the 99th birthday of his uncle Clement. Appleby wants to find a rare Zebra butterfly to show his uncle. The adventures of Appleby, who is trying to find the butterfly, and his relatives, who are trying to find Appleby, are comical and convoluted.
Few people today have read any of Parrish's works. The social relationships between her characters may seem stilted, but her strong, elaborate illustrations and absurdist humour are still enjoyable.
|Monday, November 19th, 2012|
1:10 pm - The Citie of London Reproved for its Abominations
And, just because I couldn't resist the title, here's Celebration Edition #373:
The Citie of London Reproved for its Abominations, which Doth Concern All the Inhabitants Thereof that are Guilty.
by Margaret Fell, 1614-1702.
London: Printed for Robert Wilson, 1660.
I was looking for more of Margaret Fell's writings, and couldn't resist this one.
It's interesting for what it shows about both Quaker theology and 1660's politics!
And in it's basic message, oddly similar to the sermon I heard on Sunday...
|Friday, November 16th, 2012|
4:26 pm - A Declaration, a Demonstration, and a Letter: 3 Quaker Pamphlets by Margaret Fell
I am happy to announce|
Celebration Editions #370, #371 and #372,
Three pamphlets by the Quaker writer Margaret Fell, 1614-1702:
"A Declaration and an Information from us the People of God Called Quakers, to the present Governors, the King, and Both Houses of Parliament, And all whom it may Concern"
London: Printed for Thomas Simmons, at the Sign of the Bull and Mouth near Aldersgate. 1660.
"An Evident Demonstration to Gods Elect"
London: Printed for Thomas Simmons, at the Sign of the Bull and Mouth near Aldersgate, 1660.
"This Was Given to Major General Harrison and the Rest"
London: Printed for Thomas Simmons, at the Bull and Mouth neare Aldersgate, 1660.
Margaret Fell was born at Marsh Grange in the Parish of Dalton, Lancashire, England, in 1614. Her first husband, Thomas Fell, was a barrister, who inherited the the estate of Hawkswell and Swarthmoor Hall from his father. The Fells were very well off, and at first Thomas held influential government positions, including representing Lancashire in Parliament.
Around them, throughout the 1640's and 1650's, England was in turmoil. The English civil war, ending in the execution of King Charles I. in 1649, and the Cromwellian interregnum which followed, were times of tremendous political and religious change. With the fall of state-mandated religion, religious diversity exploded, only to face new suppression by Cromwell's Puritans.
The Fells were deeply concerned with religion, and visiting ministers were welcomed at their home. One such visitor was the Quaker minister George Fox, in 1652. Margaret Fell's response to the Quaker idea that God should be felt personally and internally ("What thou speakest, is it inwardly from God?") was deep and heartfelt: "This opened me so, that it cut me to the heart, and then I saw clearly we were all wrong. So I sat down in my pew again and cried bitterly: and I cried in my spirit to the Lord, 'We are all thieves; we have taken the Scripture in words, and know nothing of them in ourselves.'" (The Journal of George Fox, 1694)
Margaret made Swarthmore a meeting place and a haven for Friends, raised money to help those in prison, and began to write on Quaker concerns. Margaret's husband, Judge Fell, was sympathetic to the Quaker cause and helped to protect them until his death in 1658.
Throughout her life, Margaret wrote at least sixteen books and twenty-seven pamphlets. The three pamphlets reproduced here are written during 1660. Her letter to "Major Generall Harrison and the Rest" appeals to the reader to convert to Quakerism. Her letter to "Gods Elect" encourages those who have converted to remain strong and steadfast in difficult times.
In May 1660, two weeks after the restoration of Charles II to the English throne, George Fox was arrested at Swarthmoor on charges of treason, and imprisoned in Lancaster Castle dungeon. In June 1660, Margaret Fell and Anne Curtis went to London to lobby the King for Fox's release.
In "A Declaration and an Information from us the People of God Called Quakers, to the present Governors, the King, and Both Houses of Parliament" Margaret appeals to the King for protection from persecution and freedom of worship for all the Quakers. She asks Charles II for support in ensuring that "we may not be made a prey upon by the prophane envious People and Priests which we have born our Testimony against their corruptions, who thirst not onely after our Estates & Liberties, but our blood also, who have already begun to search our Houses and to apprehend our Members, & cast them into Prison". Margaret emphasizes the importance of conscience for the Quakers, explaining their refusal to take oaths, but assures the king that the Quakers are peaceful, "a People that follow after those things that make for Peace, Love and Unity".
The women eventually were able to arrange Fox's removal from jail to London to answer charges. Fox's full liberty was then ordered by the King. George Fox was not the only Quaker to benefit by Margaret's efforts at court. In 1661, Margaret Fell returned home to Swarthmoor, after an absence of 15 months, with a proclamation of freedom to Quakers from the King and Council. Though not a final victory, it was a significant one for the Quakers.
|Tuesday, October 30th, 2012|
8:58 pm - Tod of the Fens
I am happy to announce|
Celebration Edition #369:
"Tod of the Fens"
by Elinor Whitney Field, 1889-1980,
illustrated by Warwick Goble, 1862-1943.
New York: The Macmillan Company, 1928. Copyright not renewed.
A Newbery Honor Book, 1929.
Henry V, King of England, 1387-1422, was the son of King Henry IV by Mary de Bohun. He was born at Monmouth, in August 1387. By the time he was 13, the administration of Wales was conducted in his name. By the time he was 16, he was in command of English forces fighting against the Percies at Shrewsbury and quelling the threat of revolt from Wales. By 1410, due to his father's ill-health, young Henry was active in government. He differed from many of his father's policies in both domestic and foreign matters. Henry succeeded his father as King of England on the 20th of March 1413.
In her juvenile novel "Tod of the Fens", Elinor Whitney Field follows Shakespeare and others in portraying Harry as a riotous youth, ready for any gayety and jest. While she uses him as a catalyst for events in her novel, he is not the hero of her tale. The true center of her tale, both physically and emotionally, is Boston (St. Botolph's Town), England. Field does an excellent job of portraying the everyday folk of the town and the nearby fens going about their business. The book is filled with vivid portraits, from Simon Gough who keeps the gate, to the Sir Frederick Tilney and his daughter Johanna, who envision a new future via sea trade. Prince Hal's sense of humour sets the townsfolk on their ears, but it is they who must find a way out of the twisted and confusing events that he sets in motion. Luckily, the title character, Tod of the fens, has a wit and humour to match the prince's own.
Fifteenth-century England, as Elinor Whitney Field portrays it, is a land of savor and color, of broad humour, and rough justice. Her novel was a Newbery Honor book in 1929. It seems only fitting that her tale of tricks and tricksters should appear online in time for Halloween.
|Monday, October 1st, 2012|
2:36 pm - The Autobiography of Mother Jones
I am happy to announce|
Celebration Edition #368:
"The Autobiography of Mother Jones"
by Mother Jones, 1837-1930,
Edited by Mary Field Parton, 1878-1969, Introduction by Clarence Darrow, 1857-1938.
Chicago: Charles H. Kerr & Company, 1925. Copyright not renewed.
According to a West Virginia District Attorney named Reese Blizzard, Mother Jones was "the most dangerous woman in America". According to Clarence Darrow, she was "one of the most forceful and picturesque figures of the American labor movement". She knew how to speak truth to power.
Mary Harris emigrated to Toronto, Canada as a child, trained to be a teacher at Toronto Normal School from 1858-1859, and worked briefly as a teacher and as a dressmaker. In 1861, she married George Jones, an iron molder and union organizer, in Memphis, Tennessee. The couple had four children. Tragically, Mary's husband and all four children died in the yellow fever epidemic of 1867. Mary returned to Chicago, where she worked as a dressmaker until her shop was destroyed in the Chicago fire of 1871.
Her life from then on traces the history of the labour movement in the United States. She lived out of a carpet bag, owning no more than she could carry, traveling from place to place. A brief sampling of her activities includes the rail strike of 1877 in Pittsburgh and elsewhere; organizing the coal fields of Pennsylvania in 1899; attending the founding convention of the IWW in 1905; visiting rebel Mexico in 1911; being arrested at Homestead in 1919; and working with dressmakers in Chicago in 1924.
In her work as a union organizer and orator, "Mother Jones" made history. Partly written and partly dictated, in a natural, colloquial style, "The Autobiography of Mother Jones" clearly conveys the power of her voice and her convictions. The immediacy with which she writes makes it one of my favorite autobiographies. She paints a forceful picture of the working conditions and people of the mining camps, railroad towns, and textile industry that she worked with. Her concern for the women and children of the miners, and her ability to involve them creatively in union struggles, are of particular interest.
At Drip Mouth, Mother Jones selected a "picturesque" Irish woman to lead a group, feeling confident that she "could raise a rumpus."
'Up the mountain side, yelling and hollering, she led the women, and when the mules came up with the scabs and the coal, she began beating on the dishpan and hollering and all the army joined in with her. The sheriff tapped her on the shoulder.
"My dear lady," said he, "remember the mules. Don't frighten them."
She took the old tin pan and she hit him with it and she hollered, "To hell with you and the mules!"
He fell over and dropped into the creek. Then the mules began to rebel against scabbing. They bucked and kicked the scab drivers and started off for the barn. The scabs started running down hill, followed by the army of women with their mops and pails and brooms.'
Some of Mother Jones' most poignant writing describes the conditions of child labourers, as she travelled around the country to mills and miles. She describes the lives of spindle girls in the mills and breaker boys in the mines.
"Little girls and boys, barefooted, walked up and down between the endless rows of spindles, reaching thin little hands into the machinery to repair snapped threads. They crawled under machinery to oil it. They replaced spindles all day long, all day long; night through, night through. Tiny babies of six years old with faces of sixty did an eight-hour shift for ten cents a day. ... Often their hands were crushed. A finger was snapped off." One day her landlady's daughter was brought home dead: "Her hair had caught in the machinery and torn her scalp off."
As well as the horrors of day-to-day working and living conditions, Mother Jones describes the abuses suffered by strikers. They were harassed, beaten, even killed. Mother Jones describes families living in tents through the harsh winters, and dying in the massacre at Ludlow, where the miners' tent city was fired upon and then burned. She herself was often threatened.
"The Autobiography of Mother Jones" reminds us that civil liberties are not retained without effort. The right to speak; the right to protest; the right to lawful arrest and a fair trial; all of these can be abused. Mother Jones encouraged people to sit up and take notice, to make alliances and work together to protect those who were endangered. We must remember this as much today as one hundred years ago.
|Monday, September 3rd, 2012|
10:10 pm - Munster Village
I am happy to announce Celebration Edition #367, a new online Utopia first published in 1778!|
by Lady Mary Hamilton, 1739-1816
London: Printed for Robson and Co. New Bond Street; Walter, Charing Cross; and Robinson, Paternoster Row, 1778.
The plot of Munster Village has many twists and turns, as Lady Mary Hamilton recounts the fortunes and romantic misfortunes of the Munster family. I recommend keeping a scorecard at hand to track the entanglements of the various Lord Munsters!
At first it seems like a digression that Lady Hamilton devotes considerable detail to describing the establishment of a utopian community by Lady Frances Munster. Munster Village includes homes for tradesmen and artificers, a public hospital, and a public university with libraries, museums, and classes in both arts and sciences for men and women of talent.
However, a central theme of the book is the interaction between education and inclination. Lady Hamilton sees education as being at least as important as inclination when forming a strong and lasting romantic attachment. The educational theories and practices that shape her characters are described in detail, to show how their characters, morals, and behavior have been formed. Their choices are a result of early training as much as they are of immediate emotion.
"In an age where men of letters seem so regardless of morals – in an age where they have endeavoured to persuade mankind, with but too much success, that the virtues of the mind and of the heart are incompatible – let them cast their eyes on the character of Mr. Burt – When they find so many virtues united in a man, whose understanding was both sublime and just – when they find a man of his penetration to have been a strictly moral man – they will then, perhaps, be convinced that vice is the natural effect of an imperfect understanding."
Lady Hamilton hopes, in depicting Lady Frances' utopian Munster Village, to map out a possible future in which women (and men) engage in broad and liberal philanthropic work for the benefit of all.
"She considered society is manifestly maintained by a circulation of kindness: we are all of us, in some way or other, wanting assistance, and in like manner qualified to give it."
That Lady Frances becomes a great benefactress is not accidental. She has great resources, but more importantly she has been well educated, and her experience has given her sympathy for those who have endured hardships. She is intended to be a model for real people to emulate. It is also important to Lady Hamilton that a woman is being shown to have agency. For the utopia that Lady Mary Hamilton describes is based on merit, and she is explicit that merit can be found in both men and women.
Lady Frances' university admits 200 young men and 20 women at any given time. Students are chosen on the basis of talent, regardless of class or gender, and given full financial support. The goal of educating both men and women is to help them "to discover wherein their genius consists" and educate them in those pursuits, so that they may be self-supporting.
"These young ladies are not instructed to declaim with grace, or sing with taste; but if they are less amusing, they are infinitely more useful and interesting companions to those they afterwards associate with, whether in the character of wives or friends."
An emphasis on usefulness, and the ability of women to support themselves, recurs throughout Lady Hamilton's account of the various Munsters. Several of her female characters find themselves in difficult straits, lacking the support of family or friends. One character, Lady Eliza, informs her lover that she will not give up her country and her friends to marry him, for "from all her observations in life, no love ever lasted long enough to make it worth while to sacrifice every thing else to it".
One of Lady Hamilton's most positively drawn male characters is attracted to one woman, after having promised himself to another. Inclinations of both males and females are likely to lead them astray, unless their characters have been well formed through education. One of her female characters chooses not to marry until she has discharged other responsibilities, fearing that marriage would cause her to neglect them.
Lady Hamilton's utopian vision is a very egalitarian one, based on merit, and explicitly disavowing assumptions of value based on race, class, and gender. It is not a future in which the wealthy give up their advantages, but rather one in which they put them to good use. It is notable that the various threads of the romantic plot are untangled at a celebratory ball held in honour of Lady Frances, the benefactress of Munster Village. Guests arrive in the guise of famous historical and mythological figures, and acclaim Lady Frances for her virtues and noble deeds. Those who have failed to show respect for women are not admitted!
The themes of Lady Mary Hamilton's novel are also the themes of her life: education, enlightenment, and romance. Lady Mary Leslie was the youngest daughter of Alexander Leslie, fifth earl of Leven and Melville, by his second wife Elizabeth, daughter of David Monypenny. Lady Mary married Dr. James Walker of Innerdovat on 5 Jan. 1762, and had several children. Their education was a major concern of Lady Mary's. Lady Mary left Walker in the early 1790s and moved to Lille, France, with British merchant George Robinson Hamilton. Styling herself "Lady Mary Hamilton", she was accompanied by two of her daughters, Isabella and Elizabeth (Betzy) Walker. The girls married French officers, Étienne de Jouy, and Paul Dieudonné. After Hamilton's death in 1797, Lady Mary may have been involved romantically with Sir Herbert Croft.
|Sunday, July 1st, 2012|
9:12 am - Mary, Lady Chudleigh, 1656-1710: The Ladies Defence & Poems on Several Occasions
For the summer months, I am happy to announce two books by Mary, Lady Chudleigh (1656-1710), Celebration Editions #365 and #366. |
"The ladies defence: or, the bride-woman's counsellor answer'd: a poem. In a dialogue between Sir John Brute, Sir William Loveall, Melissa, and a parson. Written by a lady."
London: Printed for John Deeve at Bernard's-Inn-Gate in Holborn, 1701.
"Poems on several occasions. Together with the Song of the three children paraphras'd. By the Lady Chudleigh."
London: Printed by W. B. for Bernard Lintott at the Middle Temple Gate in Fleetstreet, 1703.
"If the Ladies, for whom they are chiefly design'd, and to whose Service they are intirely devoted, happen to meet with any thing in them that is entertaining, I have all I am at. They were the Employment of my leisure Hours, the innocent Amusement of a solitary Life : In them they'll find a Picture of my Mind, my Sentiments all laid open to their View."
Mary Chudleigh's writings do indeed open her mind to our view, but at the same time, she is extremely reticent about much of her personal life. The feminist stance of her writings on marriage, and her frequently expressed sadness, have led some readers to infer that she herself was unhappily married. Others see her freedom to write and publish as evidence that her husband was at least somewhat supportive of her. We cannot know whether, in her own words, he was a "John Brute" or "a kind, and faithful Friend" who "a beauteous Mind does prize".
And what a mind! Chudleigh's parents were members of well-off, well-educated families, who encouraged their daughter's education, not only in history, poetry and classics, but also in philosophy and science. Writing of the universe and the "glorious Orbs" above us, she speculates:
"'Tis highly probable that as many of them are Suns, so others are habitable Worlds, and fill'd with Beings infinitely superior to us; such as may have greater Perfections both of Soul and Body, and be by the Excellency of their Nature, fitted for much more rational and sublime Employments."
In "The Song of the Three Children Paraphras'd", Chudleigh tells her own version of the Biblical history of the world from creation onwards, frequently casting it in scientific terms; and exhorting all members of the universe, from "little busie Atoms" to humans, to praise the beauty of God. How can she, and we, gain knowledge of the universe?
"'Tis Thought alone the Distance must explore;
Nothing but That to such a Height can soar,
Nothing but That can thither wing its Way,
And there with boundless Freedom stray,
And at one View Ten thousand sparkling Orbs survey,
Innumerable Worlds and dazling Springs of Light."
Throughout her writings, Mary Chudleigh tells us that only knowledge and virtue offer some stability in an unstable world. Health and beauty cannot be relied on, just as wealth and worldly honours may be snatched away by "inconstant Fortune".
I disdain to have my Bliss confin'd
To things which Fortune can bestow, or take,
To things so foreign to the Mind,
And which no part of solid Pleasure make:
Those Joys of which I am possest,
Are safely lodg'd within my Breast,
Where like deep Waters, undisturb'd they flow,
And as they pass, a glassy smoothness show:
Unmov'd by Storms, or by th' Attacks of Fate,
I envy none, nor wish a happier State.
For all her efforts to achieve a calm reflective inner life and govern her "Head-strong Passions", events brought Mary Chudleigh inescapable sorrow. Perhaps the most moving of Mary's poems are about the deaths of her mother and daughter. "On the Death of my Honoured Mother Mrs. Lee" ends with Mary's assertion that she will continue to model herself on the virtues of her mother, and employ "my Pen, my Tongue, my Thought" to express her love for her. In contrast, "On the Death of my dear Daughter" is a near-suicidal lament. Although she eventually vows to be led by Reason in attempting to gain victory over the emotions that she cannot cease to feel, Chudleigh is clear, both here and in the opening poem dedicated to Queen Anne on the death of her young son, that Grief can seem endless.
Margaret Ezell, editor of "The Poems and Prose of Mary, Lady Chudleigh" (1993) has done valuable genealogical work that fills in details of Mary Chudleigh's life. Baptismal records show the births of Mary's children, beginning in 1676, and also reveal that she gave birth about every two years between 1683 and 1693. In spite of repeated pregnancies, only two of her children, both boys, survived to adulthood.
In addition to the losses of her children, her mother, and her brother, Mary suffered from years of crippling rheumatism, which eventually killed her. When she writes "Life is a long continu'd Pain, a lingring slow Disease" she is all too familiar with the reality of such pain. It is hardly surprising that she turns from the life of the body to the life of the mind, and from the uncertainty of the world to an enduring God.
"We should study to be really good, as well as to appear so; and be more concern'd to approve our selves to God, and our own Consciences, than to the World."
|Friday, June 1st, 2012|
11:56 pm - Some Reflections Upon Marriage
I am happy to announce Celebration Edition # 364: |
"Some Reflections Upon Marriage, Occasioned by the Duke and Dutchess of Mazarine's Case; Which is Also Considered."
by Mary Astell, 1668-1731.
London: Printed for John Nutt, near Stationers-Hall, 1700 [First Edition]
"He who does not make Friendship the chief inducement to his Choice, and prefer it before any other consideration, does not deserve a good Wife, and therefore should not complain if he goes without one."
This quotation comes from Mary Astell's book, "Some Reflections Upon Marriage", but it could just as well have been written by Jane Austen to reprove Elizabeth Bennett's father for marrying the first pretty girl to attract him.
As I proofread the 1700 first edition of Mary Astell's "Some Reflections Upon Marriage", I kept imagining four women sitting down to tea -- Mary Astell, Jane Austen, Caroline Norton, and Gurinder Chadha.
Mary Astell (1666-1731) wittily critiques the philosophical underpinnings of the institution of marriage in 1700's England. Jane Austen (1775-1817) brilliantly describes the marriage mart of 1800's English gentry in "Pride and Prejudice" (1813). The beautiful and spirited Caroline Norton (1808-1877) made exactly the sort of marriage that Astell and Austen advised against. Norton's "English Laws for Women" (1854) describes her marriage and passionately argues for changes in marriage and divorce laws. Gurinder Chadha (1960-) follows the spirit of Austen's novel while adapting it to modern India in her sparkling film, "Bride and Prejudice" (2004).
Over three hundred years span these four women's lives, but they have similar concerns. How can a woman marry happily? What legal and social pressures affect her when she makes this life-changing choice? What snares and traps may be laid for her; what should she avoid, and what should she seek out?
It all begins with Mary Astell's "Some Reflections Upon Marriage". Astell points out that given the social mores of the time, "A Woman indeed can't properly be said to Choose, all that is allow'd her, is to Refuse or Accept what is offer'd." It is unacceptable for her to initiate a relationship, unwise to show too much interest for fear of offending: she can openly indicate a preference only after a suitor presents himself, if at all.
Furthermore, a wealthy, well-born woman is likely to find that many suitors have ulterior motives. Lands, goods, and social status have an attraction quite apart from any personal merits of their owner. Physical attractiveness may appeal to a seducer or to a virtuous man. Someone who is attracted to wealth, status or beauty may have little concern for intelligence or character. It is essential to learn to distinguish between appearances and underlying character if one is to have any hope of a happy marriage.
Hard-won experience may teach a woman to distinguish between Truth and Appearances, so that she "can discern who are the Flatterers of her Fortune, and who the Admirers and Encouragers of her Vertue; accounting it no little blessing to be rid of those Leeches, who only hung upon her for their own Advantage."
No matter how pleasing he may appear, it is to a prospective husband's advantage -- and to a prospective seducer's -- to please and conciliate a woman during his courtship. Sadly, as Astell warns, and as Caroline Norton found, a man has no need to do either once a woman has committed herself to him. When Astell wrote, a woman was not considered legally separate from her husband. All that a woman owned became the property of her husband upon their marriage. Her goods, her children, her very self, were under his control. When Astell recounts the dangers of choosing a man who is himself ungoverned, she predicts the evils of Caroline Norton's marriage 150 years later.
"He who has Sovereign Power ... will make himself obey'd; but Patience and Submission are the only Comforts that are left to a poor People, who groan under Tyranny."
"The Wife finds too late what was the Idol the Man adored, which her Vanity perhaps, or it may be the Commands and Importunities of Relations, wou'd not let her see before; and now he has got that into his possession, she must make court to him for a little sorry Alimony out of her own Estate."
Astell suggests that it may be to an unhappily-married woman's benefit to adopt the forms of obedience and defer to a controlling husband. However, she indicates that there is one boundary she still upholds: "tho' the Order of the World requires an Outward Respect and Obedience from some to others, yet the Mind is free, nothing but Reason can oblige it, 'tis out of the reach of the most absolute Tyrant."
Given the dangers surrounding her, faced with the complications of marriage, property, and class, who should a woman marry?
"Let the Soul be principally consider'd, and regard had in the first Place to a good Understanding, a Vertuous Mind, and in all other respects let there be as much equality as may be."
Astell particularly prizes equality because she sees that disparity, whether it be of mind, character or fortune, all too often leads to abuse and misery. But beyond this, she advises her reader to seek after intelligence and character.
"A Woman will value him the more who is so Wise and Good, when she discerns how much he excels the rest of his noble Sex; the less he requires, the more will he Merit that Esteem and Deference, which those who are so forward to exact, seem conscious they don't deserve."
Mary Astell wrote that sentence, but Jane Austen could have used it to describe the relationship between Elizabeth and Darcy.
I've also put up a short article about Mary Astell:
"Mary Astell." by George Ballard (1706-1755). In "Memoirs of several ladies of Great Britain, who have been celebrated for their writings or skill in the learned languages, arts, and sciences." Oxford: Printed by W. Jackson, for the author, 1752. pp. 445-460.