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.

26 March 1658

Jane Brooks was executed for witchcraft: a small boy had fallen ill after she had given him an apple.
26 March 1674

The King’s Company opened at its new Drury Lane Theatre, in Drury Lane, still under the management of Thomas Killigrew.
The other company, the Duke’s, continued at Dorset Garden.
26 March 1688

John Norris wrote a dedication to Damaris Masham of The Theory and Regulation of Love, which he published the same year.
26 March 1716

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu’s satirical mock-eclogues Monday, Thursday, and Friday were illicitly printed by Edmund Curll as Court Poems.
26 March 1720

The pseudonymous The Epistles of Clio and Strephon (i.e. Martha Fowke and William Bond) appeared in print, containing letters punctuated by poems.
26 March 1754

Sarah Scott published, through Millar and as a Person of Quality, a volume of tales A Journey Through Every Stage of Life.
26 March 1771

The Gazetteer reported that Catharine Macaulay was so manly and muscular as a historian that bets were being taken on her actual gender (with implied allusion to the Chevalier d’Eon).
26 March 1774

Mary Latter wrote to David Garrick, just before Easter, in a renewed attempt to get her tragedy, The Siege of Jerusalem, produced in London.
26 March 1809

Gabriel Piozzi died after years of excruciating pain from gout, through which Hester Lynch Piozzi nursed him devotedly.
26 March 1820

Alexander Sergeevich Pushkin completed Ruslan and Lyudmilla, a narrative, mock-epic, fairy-tale poem in six cantos.
26 March 1838

Historian William Edward Hartpole Lecky was born in Dublin, Ireland.
26 March 1845

The first two Anglican sisters arrived at 17 Park Village West (near Regent’s Park in London) to take up residence with the Sisterhood of the Holy Cross, a newly-founded nursing order which was the first religious Order for women in England since the Reformation.
The foundation of a sisterhood was much discussed by Dr Pusey and John Henry Newman. It was seen as a way to help the sick and poor, but also as a means of keeping women faithful to their religion and “the only means of saving some of our best members from turning Roman Catholics.”
Historian Peter Anson describes the Sisterhood as “a dangerous experiment” considering that none of the sisters had received religious training before entering this strict and secret institution. A mandatory five hours per day were devoted to works of charity in the community, and over a hundred Days of Fasting were observed.
26 March 1859

A. E. Housman, poet and classical scholar, was born in Fockbury, near Bromsgrove in Worcestershire, the eldest of seven children.
26 March 1870

Helen Taylor addressed the National Society for Women’s Suffrage at the Hanover Square Rooms, London.
26 March 1878

Hannah Mary Rathbone died at nearly eighty years old, having outlived her husband by eighteen years.
26 March 1881

Isabella Bird (now Isabella Bishop) and her husband settled into their new home at 12 Walker Street in Edinburgh.
26 March-2 July 1885

The North West Rebellion led by Louis Riel and Gabriel Dumont (of the Métis), and Poundmaker and Big Bear (of the Cree tribe), was fought in Saskatchewan, Canada.
The Métis (mixed-race descendants of native and French ancestors) had formed a provisional government on 17 March 1885. The rebellion was quickly suppressed by Canadian troops brought in on the new Canadian Pacific Railway. Poundmaker surrendered on 26 May and Big Bear on 2 July: between these two dates Pauline Johnson published her A Cry from an Indian Wife. Riel was hanged at Regina on 16 November 1885. He is now commemorated with a heroic statue in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
26 March 1885

The first crematorium in Britain, at Woking in Surrey, was inaugurated with the cremation of Jeannette Caroline Pickersgill.
This was nine years after the first modern crematorium opened in the USA, and seven years after the vicar of Woking had protested against the plan in a letter to The Times, arguing that a built-up area was no place for such a facility.
26 March 1892

Walt Whitman, American poet, died at 328 Mickle Street, Camden, New Jersey.
26 March 1898

Scribner’s published Joseph Conrad’s Tales of Unrest, a volume of short stories including An Outpost of Progress and The Idiots.
26 March 1902

Cecil Rhodes died, leaving a trust producing nearly £52,000 per annum to fund fifty-two (at first) graduate scholarships each year to Oxford. They were not, under the terms of his will, open to women, but they became so in November 1976.
Rhodes also left £100,000 to Oriel College, Oxford. His scholarships were designed for young men from countries he regarded as representing advanced civilization: those of the British Empire, the USA, and Germany.
26 March 1911

Mary Frere died of heart failure, after some years of failing health, at the Edinburgh Hotel, St Leonards-on-Sea in Sussex.
26 March 1915

Virginia Woolf’s first novel, The Voyage Out, dedicated “To L. W.”, was published by Duckworth and Company.
26 March 1917

The first battle of Gaza began the British invasion of Palestine.
26 March 1918

Marie Stopes published the first of her ground-breaking treatments of female sexuality, Married Love.
26 March 1923

Elizabeth Jane Howard was born in London, the eldest and the only girl in a family of three surviving children.
26 March 1924

Saint Joan, a history play by George Bernard Shaw responding to Joan’s recent canonization, had its London opening at the New Theatre, starring Sybil Thorndike. The role was crucial for Thorndike, who was named a DBE in 1931.
26 March 1960

Eunice Guthrie Murray died in her eighties of stroke brought on by cardiovascular degeneration.
26 March 1998

Ruth Rendell, as Barbara Vine, published The Chimney Sweeper’s Boy, a novel exploring connections between family relationships, homosexuality, and the writing of fiction.
26 March 2009

Maureen Duffy published with Arcadia Books her novel The Orpheus Trail.

Reviews of Orlando

Lisa A. Freeman in The Scriblerian

In the second decade of the twenty-first century, the number of digital Restoration and eighteenth-century archives and databases has proliferated.  . . . . With diminishing resources for many universities, however, distinctions need to be made. Worth the investment, Orlando: Women’s Writing in the British Isles from the Beginnings to the Present . . . should be considered indispensable for all scholars of literary history. . . . Much to their credit, the project’s editors, Susan Brown, Patricia Clements, and Isobel Grundy, have given great consideration to Orlando‘s macro- and micro-organizational principles. Ranging across factual, conceptual, critical and interpretive tags, their customized markup system provides in-depth information on the lives and works of women writers as well as their political, literary, economic, and cultural contexts. With the goal of creating a “comprehensive scholarly history of writing by British women,” it provides individual investigators with a productive tool for generating chronologies and “herstories” that we could only have dreamed of writing in an earlier era . . . . Fortunately, the editors here do more than most to explain their choices and to discuss the potential implications of their markup system. Thanks to their collective intellectual labors, users will have access to as many rooms of their own as they can imagine.

Lisa A. Freeman. “Orlando: Women’s Writing in the British Isles from the Beginnings to the Present (review)”. The Scriblerian, 44: 2, 45: 1 (Spring and Autumn 2012), 87-9.

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