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.

28 November 1630

Mary Ward composed a petition to Urban VIII, setting forth her record of religious vocation, her unworthiness, and her faith in his decision: implicitly appealing against the expected suppression of her Order.
28 November 1648

Puritan, anti-episcopal activists William Prynne and Henry Burton were received in London with a heroes’ welcome on their release from prison for sedition.
Prynne had entered the limelight in 1632 with his Histriomastix, an attack on women acting and arguably on Henrietta Maria. He and Burton had been punished not only by jail terms but by having their ears cropped.
28 November 1720

At a trial in Spanish Town, Jamaica, Anne Bonny and Mary Read were found guilty of piracy and sentenced to hang. However, after each claimed that she was pregnant, both were spared the death penalty.
Bonny (1698 – 1782) was born in Ireland, and first went to sea after falling in love with the infamous pirate John Rackam. Read (1695 – 1721) was born in England, had spent time as a soldier in Europe, and ended up joining Rackam’s crew.
In the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography entry on Read, David Cordingly observes: “considering how few women went to sea at that period it is extraordinary that two female pirates should have ended up on the same ship.” One of Cordingley’s sources is the sensationalist General History of the Pirates, 1724 (which names both women on its title-page, and which was once confidently ascribed to Daniel Defoe).
28 November 1720

Agnes Story (formerly Agnes Beaumont) died at Highgate near London.
28 November 1727

After elections and the dissolution of the previous parliament on 5 August, the new parliament (obligatory on the accession of a new sovereign) was called for this date.
28 November 1734

The Daily Courant launched the first attack on Joshua Ward for his dubious patent medicine, Ward’s drop.
Ward was totally untrained and unqualified, but claimed that his remedy (also known as Ward’s pill and Ward’s elixir) had cured twenty thousand during his first nine months in London. Other papers as well as rival practitioners soon joined the hue and cry against him, accusing him of Catholicism as well as quackery. His dispensing to the poor was variously seen as charity and as experimenting on live subjects.
28 November 1734

Henry Fielding married his first wife, Charlotte Cradock, whom he loved passionately and with whom he had eloped.
28 November 1757

William Blake, poet, engraver, and visionary, was born at 28 Broad Street, Soho, London, one of a family of brothers with a single sister.
28 November 1773

The first tea ship reached Boston, Massachusetts, since the passing of the Tea Act; this provoked violent resistance including the Boston tea-party of 16 December.
The Act sought to help the struggling East India Company by allowing it to sell tea to America at prices undercutting those of the smugglers (who were especially active in New York and Philadelphia). At Boston the mercantile community was incensed, and 90,000 pounds of tea were thrown into Boston harbour by men “dressed like Mohawks or Indians.”
28 November 1776

The otherwise unidentified Mrs H. Cartwright wrote the dedication to Elizabeth Montagu of her first work, Letters on Female Education Addressed to a Married Lady, which appeared early the next year.
The Critical Review (January 1777), which regrets that the author thought of critics as “Tartars”, gave these letters a long, respectful notice, and quoted her description of them as “the first efforts of an infant genius.” The Monthly, however, four months later, compared them to their disadvantage with the elegance of Hester Chapone and the strength and penetration of John Gregory.
Mrs Cartwright went on to publish between 1779 and 1787 another conduct book (by subscription) and half a dozen novels (one translated), which become progressively more sentimental.
28 November 1788

Elizabeth Inchbald’s The Child of Nature, an adaptation of de Genlis written in ten days, opened.
28 November 1808

Mercy Otis Warren’s husband, James Warren, died; three of their sons were already dead.
28 November 1820

Philosopher Friedrich Engels was born in Barmen, Germany.
28 November 1822

Barbara Hofland dated the dedication of her Adelaide; or, The Intrepid Daughter, a Tale. Including Historical Anecdotes of Henry the Great and the Massacre of St Bartholomew, published with 1823 on its title-page.
28 November 1825

George Colman the younger wrote—not to Mary Russell Mitford but to a man, Raymond Stephenson—the information that the Lord Chamberlain had rejected her tragedy Charles the First.
28 November 1832

Leslie Stephen, father of Virginia Woolf, first editor of the Dictionary of National Biography, editor of Cornhill Magazine, biographer, and agnostic, was born.
Virginia Woolf was born of her father’s second marriage.
28 November 1854

The Argus newspaper in Melbourne published a letter from Caroline Chisholm, Immigration, which attacked the Wakefield system of land allotment as a means to “make the rich man richer and the poor man poorer.”
28 November 1859

Washington Irving, American essayist and short-story writer, died at his house Sunnyside in Irvington, New York.
28 November 1875

Anne Thackeray Ritchie’s sister Minny (wife of Leslie Stephen), who was pregnant for the fourth time, died of eclampsia.
28 November 1892

Isabella Bird, already a member of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society, became the first woman Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society in London.
28 November 1904

Nancy Mitford was born at 1 Graham Street, London, the eldest of her family.
28 November 1905

The Sinn Féin League was founded by Arthur Griffith, later President of the Executive Council of the Irish Free State, at a meeting in Dublin.
Sinn Fein, meaning “We Ourselves,” was not taken as the official name of the organization until 1908, but was in common usage.
28 November 1905

The Court Theatre presented Major Barbara, a three-act comedy by George Bernard Shaw in which he pits the ethos of the Salvation Army against modern industrialism.
28 November 1908

Gerald Mills and Charles Boon registered their new publishing company, Mills and Boon (then a general publisher of fiction and non-fiction), at an address in Whitcombe Street, London.
28 November 1918

Wilhelm II of Germany, the Kaiser, who had fled to Holland, abdicated following the Berlin Revolution of 9 November 1918.
28 November 1919

Virginia Woolf negotiated with American publishers over the rights to The Voyage Out and Night and Day; George H. Doran of New York became her first American publisher.
28 November 1919

Ethel Mannin, still in her teens, married John Alexander Porteous, a copywriter whom she had met at work.
28 November 1930

Antonia White made her third marriage, to Tom Hopkinson.
28 November 1931

Dervla Murphy was born at Cappoquin in County Waterford; because her mother soon afterwards developed rheumatoid arthritis, she remained an only child.
28 November-1 December 1943

At the Tehran Conference, the Big Three—Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin—met to discuss Allied strategy.
28 November 1961

Marghanita Laski co-founded the Charlotte M. Yonge Society, along with friends and fellow writers and Yonge enthusiasts Elizabeth Jenkins, Georgina Battiscombe, and Lettice Cooper, among others.
28 November 1968

Elizabeth Jane Howard and Kingsley Amis moved out from London to a house on Hadley Common near Barnet called Lemmons.
28 November 1968

Enid Blyton died in a Hampstead nursing home, fourteen months after the death of her second husband.
28 November 1990

Margaret Thatcher resigned (having lost in a ballot for party leader on the 20th), and John Major became Prime Minister and leader of the Conservative party.

Reviews of Orlando

Miranda Hickman in Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature

Orlando features not only British women writers but rather a wide range of male and female writers in some way related to literature associated with the British Isles. As a modernist, I welcomed entries on American writers H. D., Djuna Barnes, and Marianne Moore (Hickman 181).

It is inspiring to see such richly collaborative work in action in the humanities, enabled and encouraged by the Orlando framework; this reads as a real example of what Vera John Steiner calls the ‘co construction of knowledge.’ . . . I soon realized that the ground breaking (I should say pathfinding) nature of the project’s set up lay in how its structure allows one to navigate such pages [individual entries] in aggregate. . . . What Orlando allows you to do, in a spirit nicely faithful to the agility implied by Woolf’s Orlando, is to choose your own adventure. . . . When one departs from the usual technique of shuttling immediately to an individual writer’s entry, one appreciates more fully the mercurial quality of the information, uniquely susceptible of rearrangement thanks to the intricate electronic encoding system. This system of electronic tagging both indicates and enables theoretical savvy (Hickman 182).

The rich corpus of information the Orlando team has managed to build in the project’s brief lifespan is nothing short of astonishing. In both theoretical and practical terms, this exciting project makes superb use of the implications of new technologies, and like Woolf’s Orlando, it points to the future. Like Woolf’s oak tree, may it flourish and ramify (Hickman 184).

Miranda Hickman. Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature, 27:1 (Spring 2008), 180-86. (Available from Project MUSE).
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