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.

23 September 1644

Lady Eleanor Douglas published Her Blessing to her Beloved Daughter . . ..
23 September 1734

Fidelia of Lincoln (known only by her Gentleman’s Magazine poems) had her first signed piece printed there, about the magazine’s offer of a prize for a poem on the Four Last Things.
23 September 1766

The Gentleman’s Magazine reported on the serious food riots that were following a bad harvest, high bread prices, an increase in enclosure, and the perception of profiteering by landlords.
The riots were widespread, from Scotland to southern and south-western England.
23 September 1775

Drury Lane Theatre re-opened after being totally re-designed as a far larger auditorium by Robert and James Adam .
This, with other theatre enlargements which followed in 1782, led to broader acting styles and greater emphasis on spectacle, to compensate for less visibility of facial expression.
23 September 1777

Samuel Johnson dictated to Boswell his legal opinion in the case of Joseph Knight, a slave suing in Scotland for his liberty: he concluded, “No man is by nature the property of another: The defendant is, therefore, by nature free.”
23 September 1782

Covent Garden Theatre re-opened after a three-month reconstruction, enlargement, and renovation.
Covent Garden chose The Busy Body by Susanna Centlivre for its relaunch. During this season Drury Lane, the Haymarket, and the Opera House also underwent extensive redecorating. In fact, the Opera House was so ambitiously enlarged and altered that its manager went bankrupt.
23 September 1783

Jane Taylor was born in Red Lion Street, Holborn, London.
23 September 1784

The American Loyalists Claims Commission rejected Maria Barrell’s application for aid. She went on, however, to try again more than once.
23 September 1790

French painter Adélaide Labille-Guiard, in “a very well reasoned speech,” demanded unrestricted admission of women artists to the Académie Royale de Peinture et Sculpture in Paris.
There had previously been a quota of four women. The motion was carried by a majority. But restrictions were placed on the women’s activities, and Labille-Guiard was later blamed for reforming too far, too fast.
23 September 1807

Samuel Greig, first husband of Mary Greig (later Mary Somerville), died after only three years of marriage.
23 September 1812

Georgiana Charlotte Leveson-Gower (later Georgiana Fullerton) was born at Tixall Hall at Tixall in Staffordshire.
23 September 1846

The planet Neptune was discovered as a result of work by English and French astronomers (the latter using a telescope in Berlin).
This discovery was enabled in the first instance by Alexis Bouvard’s 1821 tables, which “demonstrated that the orbit of Uranus, discovered in 1781, showed unexpected deviations from calculations.” According to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography the French discoverer, U. J. J. Le Verrier, relied on work done by a young English scientist, John Couch Adams, whose calculated prediction was not followed up because he was so junior at the time.
23 September 1861

Novelist and poet Mary Elizabeth Coleridge was born at Hyde Park Square in London, the elder child in her family.
23 September 1865

Emma, Baroness Orczy, was born at her grandparents’ home, the huge, rambling, square, commodious and ugly family country house of Tarnaörs on the Hungarian puszta, seventy-five or so kilometres west of Budapest.
23 September 1870

Prosper Mérimée, novelist and short story writer, died in Cannes, France.
23 September 1871

Dora Greenwell’s mother, Dorothy (Smales) Greenwell, died.
23 September 1880

Captain Charles Cunningham Boycott, land agent of Lord Erne in Mayo, Ireland, became the target of social ostracism, or boycotting, when he attempted to serve eviction notices to tenants with arrears of rent.
While efforts were made in parliament to introduce a Land Bill to protect the interests of Irish tenant farmers, the people themselves began to take direct local action against unjust landlords. Angry tenants of Lord Erne successfully isolated Boycott’s family on their estate. His servants, and others providing services to his home and farm, were persuaded to leave his employ.
23 September 1880

Geraldine Jewsbury died of cancer at a “nursing home for invalid ladies,” at Burwood Place in London.
23 September 1882

After a trip to Egypt with her husband, Augusta Gregory published an article in the Times, Arabi and His Household, supporting the Egyptian nationalist Arabi Bey.
23 September 1889

Wilkie Collins died in his home at 82 Wimpole Street, London, from an attack of bronchitis.
23 September 1889

Eliza Cook died at her home at Beech House, 23 Thornton Hill, Wimbledon, Surrey.
23 September 1907

Katherine Mansfield heard that a Melbourne journal, Native Companion, had accepted three of her short prose pieces, Vignettes.
23 September 1919

George Bernard Shaw published Heartbreak House (with two other plays), a Chekhovian drama about the corruption of British society on the eve of the First World War.
23 September 1926

Freya Stark’s sister, Vera (Stark) di Roascio, died from septicaemia following a miscarriage. Freya had nursed her for two months and was deeply affected by her death.
23 September 1943

Elinor Glyn died at 39 Royal Avenue, Chelsea, after a week in hospital, from an undetermined illness.
23 September 1971

Anita Brookner published an ambitious art-critical work: The Genius of the Future: Studies in French Art Criticism: Diderot, Stendhal, Baudelaire, Zola, The Brothers Goncourt, Huysmans.
23 September 1985

Carol Ann Duffy published her first mature, full-length volume of poems, Standing Female Nude, with Anvil Press Poetry.
By late September 1993

Michèle Roberts published her first solo short-story volume, entitled During Mother’s Absence.
23 September 1993

Only a week after the appearance of one of her finest novels, The Black Prince, Iris Murdoch noted in her diary: “Find difficulty in thinking and writing.” This was a faint, early trace of Alzheimer’s disease.
23 September 1996

Muriel Spark published Reality and Dreams, her twentieth novel, which explores the life of the imagination.
23 September 2000

A conference at the University of Warwick commemorated the two hundredth anniversary of Mary Robinson’s death; Stuart Curran gave a plenary address and Jacqueline M. Labbe spoke about Robinson on the BBC’s Woman’s Hour.
23 September 2005

A commission from The Guardian to established poets to write a contemporary nursery rhyme produced mostly little pieces about doom and gloom.
U. A. Fanthorpe wrote about the relaxation of licensing laws (“Boys and girls come out to play / The pubs are opening night and day . . . . The government says we can all get pissed”); Carol Ann Duffy wrote about world leaders who “looked for weapons. None were there”; Andrew Motion wrote about a suicide bomber and Brian Patten about laws weighted in favour of the rich. Among the more light-hearted was Wendy Cope, who wrote about cricket.
23 September 2014

In the aftermath of the Scottish referendum on leaving the UK (in which the heartfelt separatist campaign was outvoted) Carol Ann Duffy, Scottish-born, English-raised Poet Laureate of Britain, marked the occasion with a poem published in The Guardian.

Reviews of Orlando

James L. Harner in Literary Research Guide

Because of the ways in which the extensive data can be mined or formulated, Orlando offers the best access to information on British women writers and serves as a model for similar databases that will supplant printed literary dictionaries, encyclopedias, and handbooks (187).

James L. Harner. Literary Research Guide: An Annotated Listing of Reference Sources in English Literary Studies, 5th ed. New York: MLA, 2008.
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