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.

22 September 1586

Sir Philip Sidney was wounded in a skirmish between English and Spanish forces at Zutphen in the Low Countries. Shot in the leg, he developed gangrene and died on 17 October at nearby Arnhem.
22 September 1646

The Midwives’ Just Complaint, published in London, called for a cessation of England’s civil war because it interrupted procreation and childbirth.
This almost certainly male-authored text is full of nudges and winks about women’s sexuality.
22 September 1694

Philip Stanhope (later fourth Earl of Chesterfield), statesman, diplomatist and conduct letter-writer, was born in London.
22 September 1742

Susannah Cibber made a triumphant comeback at Covent Garden Theatre after some years off stage following her highly publicised adultery.
22 September 1761

King George III and Queen Charlotte were crowned; Horace Walpole and Thomas Gray each left a vivid account of the occasion, while Catherine Talbot wrote a prose poem about non-attendance, about spending a festal day in solitude.
22 September 1792

Year 1 of the first French Republic was proclaimed and the revolutionary calendar came into use: it lasted till 1 January 1806.
New names, free from associations with ancient or mythological rulers, were invented for the months and the days of the week.
22 September 1798

The Cheap Repository Tracts ended; reprinting rights were sold to Rivington, but Marshall went on issuing tracts by the same title, some of them bawdy or (by Hannah More’s terms) politically suspect.
22 September 1810

Dr John Brown, physician and essayist, was born at Biggar, Lanarkshire, Scotland.
22 September 1821

The famous initials L. E. L were used for the first time: on Landon’s poems Bells and Stanzas on the Death of Miss Campbell in the Literary Gazette.
22 September 1840

Anne Lister died in Kutaisi, West Georgia, near the Black Sea, of a fever carried by a local species of tick.
22 September 1851

Mary Martha Sherwood died at Twickenham near London, two years after her husband.
22 September 1855

John Chapman’s final letter to Barbara Leigh Smith ended their relationship.
22 September 1856

George Eliot began work on her first published fiction, The Sad Fortunes of the Rev. Amos Barton, which in due course became part of Scenes of Clerical Life.
22 September 1862

Abraham Lincoln set forth the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring that all slaves held in the states which were now rebel territory of the USA would be free as of 1 January 1863.
22 September 1863

At Rumbleton in Scotland, Harriet Baillie Hamilton married banker, publisher and India agent Henry Samuel King, a widower whose age was exactly double hers.
22 September 1871

Charlotte Elliott died at Brighton in Sussex in her early eighties, after several years as a complete invalid.
22 September 1880

Christabel Pankhurst was born, the eldest child in a remarkable family of activists.
22 September 1894

Frances Power Cobbe published the Life of Frances Power Cobbe by Herself, with the express aim of showing that the life of a single woman could be fulfilling.
22 September 1902

Stanley Spencer (not the painter of the same name) became the first Briton to fly a powered airship (dirigible) over England. He took off from the Crystal Palace, south of London, and made a flight of thirty miles.
22 September 1905

Muriel Baker (later Muriel Box) was born in a small terrace house in Poplar Grove, New Malden, Surrey, the third and youngest child in her family.
22 September 1913

Elizabeth Baker’s realist family drama The Price of Thomas Scott opened at Annie Horniman’s Gaiety Theatre in Manchester.
22 September 1914

Radclyffe Hall and Mabel Batten (Ladye) were involved in a car accident which left Mabel an invalid.
22 September 1931

Franklin Birkinshaw (later Fay Weldon) was born at 5:30 p.m. in a nursing home at Alvechurch in Worcestershire, the second of two daughters.
22-30 September 1943

Pearl Witherington (later Cornioley) parachuted into France as an operative of Special Operations Executive, the British organization formed to support the French Resistance to the Nazis.
A crack shot and reputedly fearless, known by the various names of Wrestler, Pauline, and Marie, she was the only woman to become a network leader for SOE. At a time when women in the regular forces were restricted to non-combatant roles, she commanded 3,000 Resistance fighters who blew up railway lines, attacked convoys, and killed a thousand German soldiers. With a price of one million francs on her head, she survived the war to marry her French fiancé (who was also in the Resistance), to decline the award of the MBE (offered the civil, not the military award, she said she had done nothing civil), and to die in France in February 2008 aged ninety-three.
22 September 1946

Fay Birkinshaw (the later Fay Weldon) landed at Tilbury on her fifteenth birthday, a most reluctant immigrant to Britain.
22 September 1949

Fay Birkinshaw (later Fay Weldon), on her eighteenth birthday, left London to enter St Andrews University, St Andrews, on a scholarship, to study economics and psychology.
22 September 1955

BBC television acquired its first commercially sponsored competitor when ITV (Independent Television) began broadcasting alternative programmes.
The six minutes of advertising were, says Fay Weldon, tasteful: that is, “there was no real risk of them shifting product.” The BBC competed with a particularly dramatic episode in its radio serial The Archers, in which a character named Grace Archer died when her stables burned down.
22 September 1957

Frances Bellerby began writing her autobiography, which she planned to call A Pebble in the Pocket.
22 September 1958

In a referendum almost 80% of French citizens approved the constitution drawn up for the new Fifth Republic in France. The Fourth Republic, instituted on 27 October 1946 following World War Two, had foundered over the crisis produced by rebellion in French-governed Algeria.
The Fifth Republic bore the impress of Charles de Gaulle, who had served as President of the Council of the Fourth Republic, charged with the work of constitutional reform. Early next year he assumed office as President of the Fifth Republic, in which parliament (which, typically, had been too divided to act effectively during the Fourth Republic) lost further power to the presidency (though less than de Gaulle had wished).
22 September 1961

E. Arnot Robertson was found dead at her Hampstead home five months after her husband’s accidental drowning. Perhaps because of the social stigma of suicide, the coroner found that her death was accidental.
22 September 1980

Iraq invaded Iran, following a border dispute which hinged on control of the waterway separating the two countries. The Iran-Iraq war lasted till July 1988.
It ended when Iran reluctantly accepted a cease-fire mandated by the United Nations.
22 September 1994

Elaine Feinstein issued through her new publisher, Carcanet, her Selected Poems, taken from her eleven previous poetry volumes. The cover features a painting by Vanessa Bell.

Reviews of Orlando

In Eighteenth-Century Fiction

… each Orlando Project entry serves the beginning student and advanced researcher alike; it provides an introductory survey of a particular author, but can also function as a source of the latest critical understandings of the author and an encouragement for further advanced research on the themes, influences, and cultural contexts radiating out from that author (377).

[...] Orlando‘s most innovative contribution to humanities scholarship is the modelling of more interpretive, open-ended, thematic database research. The database encourages what it terms “Tag Searches,” in which entries have been tagged to highlight key terms relating to topics unique to literary history; searches can return information relating to biographical details, literary production, literary reception, textual features, and essential or “core tag” details such as dates and names. Orlando allows searches for topics that are not part of a “typical” database search—such as editions, circulation, anthologization, and type of press—but are of keen interest to researchers of reading and writing culture. Orlando thus captures some of the most recent trends in history of the book and material culture studies and translates those interests into research queries that can be performed quickly and efficiently (377).

[...] Orlando enacts exciting new approaches to women’s history, literary history, and the history of the book by translating those approaches into an equally exciting database organization. The textbase features authoritative summaries of women’s lives and writing, new cultural and thematic topics for “tagged” investigations, and innovative processes for performing searches across disciplines and time periods. Perhaps most importantly, Orlando encourages the researcher to see new patterns, new connections, and new traditions—and thus to think in new ways. The transformative effect of women’s writing is keenly felt by the Orlando researcher. With its ability to encourage new thinking in both the entry-level student and the advanced researcher, Orlando deserves a prominent place in the electronic database collection of every research library (378).

Ros Ballaster et al. The Orlando Project (review).” Eighteenth Century Fiction 22:2 (2009): 371-379. (Available from Project MUSE).
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