Today in Orlando

This is a small sample drawn from within and beyond the lives and careers of writers. Look again tomorrow! Read more about The Orlando Project chronology.

25 November 1643

Lady Eleanor Douglas published The Star to the Wise, which takes the form of a petition to the House of Commons.
25 November 1680

Anne Wharton was reported to have recovered from her most severe seizures to date.
25 November 1689

The House of Commons accepted the final wording of the Revolution Settlement, or what became known as the Bill of Rights, the nearest thing to a British constitution.
This ambitious attempt to define “the nature of government and the relationship between king and subject,” very largely the work of jurist Sir Robert Atkyns, was a response to justify the legality of the ousting of James II and the accession to the throne of William and Mary
25 November 1701

Jane Wiseman’s Antiochus the Great; or, The Fatal Relapse. A Tragedy was published; it had recently opened on stage at Lincoln’s Inn Fields in London.
25 November 1706

Susanna Centlivre’s comedy The Platonick Lady opened at the Haymarket.
25 November 1743

The Dublin jury found for the claimant James Annesley, cousin of Dorothea Annesley (later Dorothea Du Bois), in his case about titles, including the earldom of Anglesey, which had been unlawfully appropriated by her father.
25 November 1778

Mary Anne Galton (later Mary Anne Schimmelpenninck) was born in Birmingham.
25 November 1786

Felix Farley’s Bristol Journal carried an advertisement for Ann Yearsley’s forthcoming Poems, on Various Subjects, backed by “illustrious Personages” to replace her earlier, unjust patrons.
25 November 1786

Hannah Cowley’s comedy A School for Greybeards; or, The Mourning Bride opened at Covent Garden. Its subtitle, confusingly, is the same as the title of William Congreve’s only tragedy, The Mourning Bride, 1697.
25 November 1812

Julia Cecilia Collinson (later Julia Stretton) was born at Gateshead in County Durham, the second daughter, but the eldest to survive, in a family which eventually numbered fifteen children (nine of them girls).
25 November 1812

Henry Mayhew, journalist and social reformer (and author of plays and novels) was born in London, one of a family of seventeen children.
25 November 1824

Emily Brontë, aged six, joined her elder sisters as a pupil at the Clergy Daughters’ School in Cowan Bridge, Yorkshire.
25 November 1841

Sculptor Sir Francis Chantrey died, leaving conditions in his will that after the death of his wife, more than £100,000 would be left to set up a national public collection of fine art in Britain.
Trustees of the Royal Academy continue to choose the artwork, though there is yet to be a repository built for the collection. The Tate Gallery, London, preserves and exhibits the art. Since 1877, paintings and sculptures have been bought for the collection.
25 November 1863

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow published the first part of Tales of a Wayside Inn.
The tales are modeled upon the form of The Canterbury Tales. Included in the first part are Paul Revere’s Ride and The Song of King Olaf. Part two was published in 1872 in Three Books of Song, and part three in Aftermath in 1873.
25 November 1869

The first part of Jessie White Mario’s article On the Position of Women in Italy appeared in the Nation.
25 November 1893

Lady Gertrude Stock (the writer George Douglas) died of consumption or lung disease in the hospital of St Joseph’s Convent at Hendon. She was only fifty-one.
25 November 1902

The Central Midwives’ Board was constituted by an order in council.
According to information published in the London Gazette, the board came into force on April 1, 1903. Admission to the profession was granted to those already recognized by the London Obstetrical Society or lying-in hospitals; to those who could prove good character and one year practice; or, those who could pass the CMB exam after three months training.
25 November 1913

The Irish Volunteers were established at a meeting at the Rotunda Rink in Dublin, using a name from an earlier period of Irish nationalist ferment—that of the short-lived, late-eighteenth-century Dublin parliament.
The idea for forming the Volunteers originated with the Irish Republican Brotherhood.
25 November 1917

Radclyffe Hall and Una Troubridge moved into their first shared home: Grimston at Datchet in Buckinghamshire, rented by Una.
20 November 1925

Queen Alexandra died of a heart attack. Though famous chiefly for her beauty, and often dismissed by historians as a nonentity, she left a legacy of organizations established by her charity work.
25 November 1933

On the Rocks, a play by George Bernard Shaw responding to the General Strike of May 1926 and the Depression, opened at the Winter Garden Theatre in London.
25 November 1935

Beatrice Webb published, together with her husband, Soviet Communism: A New Civilization?
25 November 1936

Japan and Germany signed the Anti-Comintern Pact, ostensibly to guard against the perceived threat of communism.
Japan was worried about the communist threat from Russia and Mao Tse-tung’s forces in China. As Fascist countries, Italy joined the pact in 1937 and Spain in 1939.
25 November 1938

Shelagh Delaney was born at the Hope Hospital at Salford in Lancashire.
25 November 1952

Agatha Christie’s play The Mousetrap opened at the Ambassadors Theatre in London: adapted from the title story in her Three Blind Mice, and Other Stories, 1948. It was still playing in 2014, as the longest-running show in the world.
25 November 1955

The Evening Standard published Stevie Smith’s story Getting Rid of Sadie.
25 November 1982

Diana Scott issued Bread and Roses: An Anthology of Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Poetry by Women Writers.
The subtitle is given slightly differently on the cover: this version is that of the title-page. Publication date comes from a slip from Virago Press inside the Bodleian Library copy. The period covered spans 1820 to 1980; the final section is titled The Renaming: Poetry Coming from the Women’s Liberation Movement 1970-80, and includes work by Michèle Roberts, Judith Kazantzis, Stef Pixner, Alison Fell, Pat Arrowsmith, and the editor.
25 November 1994

A referendum in Ireland produced a majority of 9,000 in favour of lifting the constitutional ban on divorce.
25 November 1999

Jo Shapcott was, with Helen Dunmore, U. A. Fanthorpe, and Elizabeth Jennings, one of the four poets featured in no. 5 of the audio-cassette series The Poetry Quartets, issued today by the British Council and Bloodaxe Books.
25 November 1999

No. 4 in the Poetry Quartets series appeared: Paul Durcan, Brendan Kennelly, Michael Longley, Medbh McGuckian, a sound recording of these four reading and discussing their poetry.
November 2005

Eavan Boland entitled her latest volume of poetry New Collected Poems; it offers a generous selection of her work.

Reviews of Orlando

Susan Fraiman in Modern Philology

Opening up Orlando reminds me of first seeing Judy Chicago’s installation The Dinner Party (a work likewise remarkable in form as much as content)—three decades later, it is still thrilling and affirming to have women’s countless contributions to Western culture and society made visible. What is new in the twenty-first century, however, is that now the guest list of history-making women is electronic—and there are always more seats at the table. In this sense, Orlando goes beyond earlier constructions of alternative canons, whose printed form tended to reproduce hierarchies of “major” and “minor” writers, not to mention the naturalization of a fixed tradition (143).

We might say, then, that Orlando’s narrative is grand not in its seamless hegemony but rather in its tireless productivity. Ceding narratorial agency to each user, this is a women’s history intrinsically committed to a process of continual revision and multiplication of variants (144).

Flexible, practical, and worldly in its approach to identity politics, Orlando is a good example of what I have optimistically begun to call the New Women’s Studies: feminist scholarship willing once again to proceed under the sign of “women”—not in defiance of theoretical work disaggregating “women” and destabilizing “identity” but precisely through having engaged with and processed this work to the point of making it our common sense (146).

Susan Fraiman. “In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens—With Help from a New Digital Resource for Literary Scholars,” Modern Philology, August 2008, 142-48. (Available from Chicago Journals).
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