Writers with Entries: January 2011 Update

In January 2011, Orlando released 11 new entries (9 British women writers, 1 male writer, 2 other women writers—listed twice if their nationality shifted); 54 free-standing chronology entries; 270 new bibliographical listings; 27,957 new tags; and 944,773 new words (exclusive of tags). New author entries include:

  • Bathsheba Bowers, 1671-1718, colonial American Quaker, who wrote a number of works that do not survive, and published a spiritual autobiography which seems have displeased the meeting of Friends in Philadelphia.
  • Thomas Holcroft, 1745-1809, self-made man of labouring-class origins who became a playwright, translator, novelist, and autobiographer: a leading figure among the 1790s Radicals and a mentor of William Godwin.
  • Elizabeth Isabella Spence, 1768-1832, novelist and writer of travel books about England and Scotland, who takes a particular interest in local women writers.
  • Frances Holcroft, 1785-1844, daughter of Thomas above, and herself a poet, translator, and novelist.
  • Frances Isabella Duberly, 1829-1903, who accompanied her husband on service with the British army. Her letters and journals set out to capture the exclusively male military experience of Empire (including scandalous mismanagement in the Crimea), or rather to provide, unusually, a woman’s perspective on it.
  • Mary Anne Barker, 1831-1911, journalist, children’s writer, memoirist and travel writer. Her reminiscences of living on four continents as a subject of the British Empire illuminate the daily struggles of life from the point of view of marriage to an officer, a farmer, or a colonial administrator.
  • Anna Kingsford, 1846-86, qualified medical doctor, journalist, writer of historical fiction, and polemicist on behalf of women’s suffrage, women’s education, vegetarianism, and latterly of Theosophy and eclectic Christianity.
  • Charlotte Perkins Gilman, 1860-1935, American novelist, poet, lecturer, artist, economist, feminist theorist, editor, and reformer, best remembered for her story The Yellow Wallpaper, her treatise Women and Economics, and her utopian fantasy Herland.
  • Ménie Muriel Dowie, 1866-1945, travel and adventure writer, essayist and fiction writer, whose A Girl in the Karpathians, 1891, was a sensation, and whose New Woman novels are undeservedly forgotten.
  • Edith Mary Moore, 1873 – after 1935, novelist and author of a treatise on gender relations. Her novels, which engage with issues of idealism and materialism, love and suffering, masculinity and femininity, rural and urban lifestyles, were highly praised on first appearance but then sank without trace.
  • Jane Gardam, b. 1928, author of fiction for children, young people, and adults, who refuses to draw lines of demarcation between one kind of work and another. She has won awards for stories, novels, and children’s books.

Entries Enhanced

As usual, biographies and memoirs (notably Maggie Gee‘s My Animal Life, Jackie Kay‘s Red Dust Road, and Elizabeth Jenkins’s The View from Downshire Hill, 2004) have provided opportunities for rich additions. So have direct communications from generous friends, reporting both their own research and other information of interest. The death of Beryl Bainbridge precipitated additions beyond those from obituaries. The publication online of William Godwin‘s diary, sparse as that is in detail, has also provided some additions. Sources like the TLS Digital Archive and the Reading Experience Database, which Orlando has never searched in their voluminous entirety, continue to yield valuable nuggets. Just a few specifics below:

  • Jane Austen has been, unsurprisingly, in the news again, for material ranging from Marvel comic-book versions of her works to huge prices for sales of first editions, including what was originally the governess Anne Sharp’s copy of Emma for £325,000.
  • Mary Collyer: more on her children from her collateral descendant Geoff Culshaw; more on her ground-breaking children’s book from Andrea Immel.
  • Mary Delany: when much of her life-writing was published in mid-nineteenth century, Harriet Martineau thought it “perhaps the greatest in the book way for these seven years.” She had nothing good to say about the editor, Lady Llanover (under whose name this reference is concealed in the invaluable Reading Experience Database).
  • Carol Shields: an interesting allusion to Unless in Margaret Forster’s Over.
  • Virginia Woolf: Sarah Ruhl’s New York Production of Orlando on stage.

Free-standing events

54 new freestanding events. Among much that is new and some of it recent, material has been added on the adoption of Gallup polls, the publications of Mary Daly, and the newly-discovered poem by Ted Hughes about the death of Sylvia Plath.

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