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.

19 April 1663

On Easter Day the future Mary Carleton, the German princess, went through a form of marriage with John Carleton at Great St Bartholomew’s Church in Smithfield, London; another ceremony with a licence followed two days later.
19 April 1710

Four Iroquois sachems or leaders, visiting London, had an audience with Queen Anne.
The British governor of Massachusetts had arranged their visit in the interest of keeping up pressure on the French in North America, with Indian aid.
19 April – 12 May 1731

John and Charles Wesley, walking across the country to visit their mother and the rest of their family at Epworth, stopped both going and coming to visit Sarah Chapone at Stanton.
19 April 1750

The publisher Andrew Millar released the first, anonymous novel by Sarah Robinson (later Sarah Scott): The History of Cornelia.
19 April 1762

Jemima Wicksteed married Nathaniel Edward Kindersley, a thirty-year-old artillery officer, at Great Yarmouth in Norfolk.
19 April 1775

The first shot of the American War of Independence was fired at the village of Lexington, near Concord, Massachusetts.
Eight Americans were killed. The British troops involved went on to Concord, where they began destroying military supplies; further fighting ensued. News of these events did not reach England until 28 May.
19 April 1780

Henry Grattan made an impassioned declaration to the Irish parliament of the legislative independence of Ireland from England.
The English parliament was re-asserting the Privy Council’s right to revise bills passed by the Irish parliament. For several decades the British government had been seeking to strengthen its control of Ireland, whose parliament had no control over the (English) Viceroy of Ireland, resident in Dublin Castle. This was the year, Henrietta Battier wrote, when “deserted by the sister kingdom, Irishmen first united in defence of their country, its laws and liberties.”
19 April 1791

Wilberforce’s motion to abolish the slave-trade (put on 18 April) was defeated in the House of Commons.
Votes were counted at 163 against, 88 for. A. L. Barbauld’s Epistle to William Wilberforce (a poem urging steadfastness in temporary defeat) was entered in the Stationers’ Register in London on 17 June. After this, however, the watered-down aim of gradual abolition took hold.
19 April 1791

In Paris the radical new Commune des Arts decreed that studying art was inimical to women’s “true vocation, the respectable and holy functions of wife, mother and mistress of the house.”
The Commune aimed to replace the pre-revolutionary Académie Royale de Peinture et Sculpture.
19 April 1823

Anna Letitia Waring was born at Plas-y-Velin, Neath, Glamorgan, in Wales.
19 April 1824

Byron, having travelled to Greece to help in its war of independence from the Ottoman Empire, died of fever at Missolonghi.
19 April 1839

The Treaty of London, which had five signatories including Britain, settled the details of Belgium’s frontier.
19 April 1857

Caroline Scott died at a little over seventy, at Petersham in Surrey.
19 April 1871

Gertrude Bell’s mother, Mary Bell, died from pneumonia and complications three weeks after the birth of her son; Gertrude was not yet three years old.
19 April 1876

Sir William Wilde, husband of Jane Francesca, Lady Wilde (Speranza), for twenty-five years, died. His death left her in financial straits.
19 April 1881

Benjamin Disraeli, statesman and novelist, died in London.
19 April 1882

Charles Darwin, naturalist, died at his estate of Downe in Kent, which became a girls’ boarding-school in 1907 and is now a museum.
19 April 1893

Oscar Wilde’s second comedy, A Woman of No Importance, opened fourteen months after his first, to great acclaim.
19 April 1898

George Bernard Shaw published Plays Pleasant and Unpleasant. Unpleasant plays included Mrs. Warren’s Profession and The Philanderer; pleasant plays included Arms and the Man and Candida.
In April and May 1907

Edith Cooper and Katharine Harris Bradley (known as the poet Michael Field) were each received into the Roman Catholic Church.
19 April 1911

Another play by George Bernard Shaw about women’s rights, Fanny’s First Play, premiered at London’s Little Theatre.
19 April 1911 to December 1912

Cicely Hamilton played her first role in a major West End production, George Bernard Shaw’s Fanny’s First Play.
April 1936

The League of Nations mounted an investigation into Italy’s alleged use of poison gas in its invasion of Ethiopia (violating the 1925 Geneva Protocol).
The International Red Cross had proof but refused to testify for fear of making itself unacceptable to countries it might need to work with. Though some committee members wanted to make a public statement, its leaders feared that politicization would jeopardise the influence allowed them by warring nations.
19 April 1939

Marjorie Bowen delivered the Conway Memorial lecture on Ethics in Modern Art, emphasizing the contributions of women writers, at Conway Hall in London.
19 April 1941

The Essential Work (Registration for Employment) Order No. 368 was issued, bringing a great number of women into the work force in order to produce enough war machinery.
The order also stipulated that no one could change jobs without permission of a National Service officer.
19 April-16 May 1943

Jews living in the Warsaw Ghetto rose against German rule: this was the first and better-known Warsaw Uprising.
After street fighting against heavy odds, the uprising resulted in the destruction of the Ghetto and the deaths or removal to concentration camps of around 56,000 Jews.
19 April 1944

Vera Brittain’s Seed of Chaos: What Mass Bombing Really Means (published by the Bombing Restriction Committee) attacked the Allied policy of saturation bombing.
Good Friday 1946

Dervla Murphy and her parents jointly made the decision that she would leave school (aged fourteen) to look after her bedridden mother.
19 April 1966

American Roberta Gibb became the first woman to run the full Boston Marathon.
As a woman, Gibb was barred from entering the race officially. She hid in the bushes near the start of the race and sneaked in at the back of the pack. Her unofficial finishing time was just over three hours.
19 April 1967

One year after Roberta Gibb’s illicit run, another American, Kathrine Switzer, became the first woman to run officially (though still illegally) in the Boston Marathon and complete the course.
Switzer entered the race as K. V. Switzer and, because of heavy clothing she wore to fight off the cold, was indistinguishable from the male racers. Two miles into the race officials discovered she was a woman and one of them, Jock Semple, tried unsuccessfully to remove her physically from the race. The incident was caught on camera and garnered worldwide attention.
Only from 1972 were women allowed to compete officially in the Boston Marathon.
19 April 1982

Étienne-émile Baulieu, a French biochemist, announced RU 486, popularly known as the abortion pill or the morning after pill.
The technical name is Roussel-Uclaf 38486. It has been legal in France since 1988, and may only be given to a woman within seven weeks of the first day of her last period. It was approved for use in the USA in 2000, but remains extremely controversial, attracting regular media accusations of risk.
19 April 1989

Daphne Du Maurier died at Par in Cornwall, of heart failure.
19 April 1990

Carol Ann Duffy published another volume of poetry with Anvil Press Poetry, entitled The Other Country.

Reviews of Orlando

Alison Booth in Biography

[H]igh standard of biographical and historiographical interpretation and writing . . . an irrefutable confirmation that any one life (and life writing) is always a network of relations, locations, events, and categories (Booth 728).

Orlando isn’t just all about any woman writer who ever had anything to do with the British Isles, and some affiliated writers, or about the historical context for these longstanding traditions. It’s also all about markup. It’s about demystifying digital research for the scholar who might secretly still believe technology belongs to non-humanists or to nerdy men. On the contrary, markup is man-womanly in a Woolfian sense, some sort of cross-dressing of logic, poetry, sewing, and architecture. No longer romanticizing infinite possibilities, the digital community acknowledges that coding is interpretive (729).

Alison Booth. Biography 31: 4 (Fall 2008), 725-34.(Available from Project MUSE).
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