Writers with Entries: July 2013 Update

New Author Entries

  • Lady Jane Cavendish, c. 1621-1669: as a young woman growing up in a highly performative social and cultural milieu, she was lead author on two dramatic works (one almost certainly performed) and a body of poetry.
  • Elizabeth (Cavendish) Egerton, Countess of Bridgewater, 1626-63: her juvenile part in her sister’s theatrical and poetical works turns out slighter than once supposed, but she later wrote remarkable prayers and meditations, particularly about childbirth.
  • Sarah Murray, 1744-1811: author of pioneering guidebooks about travel in the Lake District, the Highlands, and the Hebrides, and (if correctly identified as the former Sarah Maese or Mease) of a book of pedagogy and improving fiction.
  • Mary, Lady Champion de Crespigny, 1748/9-1812: poet, novelist, and patron of other writers.
  • Mary Julia Young, before 1775 – after 1810: poet and novelist, proud of her ill-defined family relationship with the poet, playwright, and critic Edward Young.
  • Katherine Bruce Glasier, 1867 – 1950: feminist socialist writer and polemicist who urged, in pamphlets and novels, a new and different kind of society.
  • Margaret Legge, 1872-1957: obscure author of novels or unusually-angled romances, which flirt with feminist and utopian ideas and are critical of current social arrangements.
  • Tillie Olsen, 1913-2007: American Communist and feminist poet, novelist, short-story writer, and first and last a polemicist.
  • Gwen Moffat, born 1924: mountaineer, writer of memoirs (one a pioneering ecological text), travel books, a historical novel, and crime fiction including books featuring the climber and amateur sleuth Melinda Pink.
  • Joanna Trollope, born 1943: popular novelist who began with historical romances and turned to novels charting the complicated relationships within and around the contemporary family.

Entries Enhanced

Again this update records exciting new publications: poetry volumes entitled Ice by Gillian Clarke, Environmental Studies by Maureen Duffy, De Chirico’s Threads by Carol Rumens, Unsent by Penelope Shuttle, and Astonishment by Anne Stevenson; a book about forests by Sarah Maitland; a “Barbara Vine” novel by Ruth Rendell; Last Friends, the completion of her trilogy, by Jane Gardam; and a new novel, Heartbreak Hotel, by Deborah Moggach. Again it provides fascinating incidental detail: who knew that Eric Hobsbawm and Karl Miller shared a mutual admiration for Harriette Wilson and Alice Munro? Balancing those pleasurable discoveries is the information about several writers’ deaths, much regretted. Nina Bawden, Christine Brooke-Rose, Eva Figes, and Ruth Prawer Jhabvalahave died recently (enabling Orlando for the first time to take note of such matters as Eva Figes‘s controversially anti-Israeli views). Regrettable for another reason is that Orlando missed the deaths of Shelagh Delaney (2011) and Anna Livia and Maud Sulter (both 2007). We should have done better; but we also note that remarkable authors can leave the world with very little notice taken, especially if they are female.

  • Agatha Christie. The Grand Tour: Around the World with the Queen of Mystery presents unpublished letters and other memorabilia from her travels with her first husband on behalf of the Overseas Mission of the British Empire.
  • Shelagh Delaney. Her forgotten short sketch “Then and Now” was rediscovered (along with other 1960s sketches by Harold Pinter and others) in time to form part of The Lost Plays Revue, staged at Nottingham Playhouse to celebrate fifty years in its present home.
  • Harriet Downing. Michael Londry has kindly supplied her missing death and probable birth dates.
  • Sophia King (later Fortnum). Another novel thought lost forever has turned out to be still extant. A so far unique copy of King’s The Victim of Friendship has been hiding in the New York Society Library (a private institution dating from 1754).
  • Kathleen Jamiehas issued a book of poems and a book of nature writing since Orlando last caught up with her activity.
  • Hilary Mantel. The row that reverberated to the highest levels when her lecture on royal bodies (from Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII) was read as an attack on the Duchess of Cambridge.
  • Elizabeth Meeke. Until summer 2013 Orlando had an entry for “Mary Meeke”, the usual misidentification for a prolific popular novelist who was in fact Elizabeth née Allen, the “fallen” stepsister of Frances and Sarah Harriet Burney. Mary has therefore been rewritten as Elizabeth, and both Burney entries have been updated in the light of Simon Macdonald’s discovery of a family relationship which was evidently a grave embarrassment to Frances.
  • Elizabeth Shirley. Caroline Bowden’s English Convents in Exile, 2012, provides a first complete printing of her Life of Margaret Clement (as well as excerpts of two works by Lady Lucy Herbert and some letters of Winefred Thimelby).
  • Githa Sowerby. This year, 2013, sees a “mini-revival” of her plays, with two productions and high praise from one of the directors, Jonathan Miller.
  • Sarah Stone: new information from research by Mary E. Fissell. This skilled, ambitious, and eloquent midwife seemed to vanish from history immediately after she moved her practice from Bristol to London, 1736, and published her book, 1737. It is bitter-sweet to learn that she died later that year: at least her disappearance was not the defeat of her career ambitions.
  • Violet Trefusis: the brochure for Tiziana Masucci’s ebullient commemoration of Trefusis in Florence in April-May 2013 supplied information about her benefactions at her death to St Mark’s Church in Florence and to the poor of the city.

Free-standing events

Newly-added free-standing events run from early 1136 (the death of the poet Princess Gwenllian) to early 2013 (the equalization of the sexes in the line of succession to the British throne, and the London Zoo’s pairing of poets or novelists with scientists in presentations on rare breeds of animal). In between, the new events deal with leisure activities and scientific advances, women voting in local elections (1843), “the first modern globalized financial crisis” (which began in 1873), and with events in the history of the USA, China, and British law on abortion.

Summary of Content

10 entries (8 British women writers, 1 other women writer, and 1 male writer); 41 new free-standing chronology entries; 259 new bibliographical listings; 22,867 new tags; 80,836 new words (exclusive of tags).
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