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.

10 February 1559

Queen Elizabeth I delivered a speech to Parliament in which she declined their petitions that she should marry.
10 February 1609

Elizabeth Shirley was one of two movers in the founding of St Monica’s Convent at Louvain, of the Order of the English Augustinian Canonesses, where the seven nuns who came from St Ursula’s moved in on this day.
10 February 1663

Katherine Philips’s Pompey, a tragedy translated from Pierre Corneille, was performed at the Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin (a purpose-built theatre finer than London could offer at this date).
10 February 1690

Susanna Wesley bore her eldest child, Samuel Wesley the younger, at her parents’ home; her husband was away at the time serving as a navy chaplain.
10 February 1721

Sarah Fielding’s grandmother, Lady Gould, defeated her son-in-law in an ugly legal battle and won legal custody of her grandchildren.
10 February 1726

Eliza Haywood published The Mercenary Lover; or, The Unfortunate Heiresses, which advertises its shared authorship with “a Certain Island Adjacent to the Kingdom of Utopia,” that is Memoirs of a Certain Island.
10 February 1743

The anonymous Memoirs of an Unfortunate Young Nobleman appeared; it was first ascribed to Eliza Haywood by her bibliographer Patrick Spedding. Dealing with the notorious Annesley case, it became one of her great hits.
10 February 1748

Catherine Payton (later Catherine Phillips) prayed, “in our little meeting at Dudley,” that she might become a Quaker minister.
10 February 1749

Henry Fielding published Tom Jones, his comic epic poem in prose, in six volumes containing three books each. It reached a (revised) fourth edition by 11 December.
Like Joseph Andrews before it, it has been called picaresque. Arguably, though, Tom’s ups and downs of fortune are so arranged as to teach him maturity. Whether or not he can be said to learn prudence (a quality which through most of the story is equated with self-interest) he learns sexual fidelity—he turns down propositions from three desirable women late in the book. He certainly learns to think before acting, while retaining the impulse to do good which he has had from the beginning. By the end of the novel he is capable of reforming a highwayman (perceiving that his projected criminality results from destitution and despair), declining an advantageous marriage proposal from an attractive woman he does not love, and persuading his friend Nightingale that it is better morality to marry than to reject the loving woman he has seduced. Gender relations, indeed, make most of the difference between the moral code that Tom now subscribes to and the one which is current among his (and his author’s) social group.
10 February 1763

The Peace of Paris ended the Seven Years’ War (known in North America as the French and Indian War), which had firmly established Britain’s pre-eminence as a maritime power.
Preliminaries had been signed on 3 November 1762. New France had surrendered to Britain in September 1760, following the victory of Wolfe at Quebec in 1759.
The war was fought in Europe, North America, India, the West Indies, and West Africa. By the peace treaty the UK got Canada, Florida, Minorca, Grenada, Dominica, St Vincent and Tobago, and territories in India, but ceded its conquests in Cuba to Spain. France got Goree in Africa, Guadeloupe, Martinique, St Lucia, and territories in India.
10 February 1775

Charles Lamb, poet and essayist, much younger brother of the writer Mary Lamb, was born in Crown Office Row, the Inner Temple, London.
10 February 1778

Mary Jones, writer and postmistress of Oxford, died there at 16 Fish Street (now St Aldate’s).
10 February 1786

For her benefit night at Covent Garden Theatre, Frances Abington chose to play the comic male part of the servant Scrub in Farquhar’s Beaux’ Stratagem.
It was rumoured that she took on the male role as a bet. Reactions ranged from amused praise (“well conceived, and executed with a sprightliness and degree of humour”) to harsh criticism (“disgusting and absurd.”)
10 February 1787

Such Things Are, a comedy by Elizabeth Inchbald, opened at Covent Garden.
10 February 1793

The president of the Dijon women’s club published a reasoned argument for the freedom and equality of women.
This drew a parallel between class and gender oppression, and argued that men cannot achieve liberty if women do not have it too.
10 February 1809

Hannah Kilham heard the educationalist Joseph Lancaster speak at the first of several meetings in Sheffield which resulted in the setting up of two Lancastrian Free Schools in the city, one for boys and one for girls.
10 February 1822

Eliza Lynn, later Linton, was born at Crosthwaite Vicarage near Keswick in Cumberland, the youngest of twelve children.
10 February 1828

Frances Trollope arrived in Cincinnati, known at that time as the “metropolis of the West.”
10 February 1838

Following the rebellions of the previous year, the Constitution of Lower Canada was suspended .
The act suspending the Constitution came into effect on 27 March 1838 and meetings of the legislative assembly were prohibited.
6 a.m. on 10 February 1840

Jane Porter, after sitting half an hour in the rain in Pall Mall waiting to see Queen Victoria’s wedding procession pass, marked the occasion with a poem.
10 February 1840

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg were married in the Chapel Royal, St James’s Palace.
10 February 1840

Harriet Eleanor Baillie Hamilton, later King, was born in Edinburgh.
10 February 1842

Agnes Mary Clerke was born at Skibbereen in Ireland, the middle one of three children.
10 February 1845

Edward Lear’s first publication, A Book of Nonsense, appeared, containing short, deliberately inconsequential poems (not yet known as limericks) illustrated with his own line drawings.
10 February 1846

Harriet Taylor and John Stuart Mill published an article in the Morning Chronicle on the trial of Captain George Johnstone for an incident in naval warfare.
10 February 1847

Isabella Lickbarrow died at her home in Kendal, of tuberculosis.
10 February 1887

Ellen Wood died of heart failure, caused in part by her spine pressing against her vital organs and exacerbated by a bronchial cold caught the previous Christmas.
10 February 1894

Violet Fane (or Mary Montgomerie Currie as she was during her second marriage) arrived to live at Pera (a suburb of Constantinople) with her new husband, the British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire.
10 February 1897

The Victorian Order of Nurses was founded to commemorate the Queen’s diamond jubilee.
Ishbel, Lady Aberdeen, who was instrumental in getting the organization off the ground, was chosen as its first president.
10 February 1910

Recruited to the plot at a late moment, Virginia Stephen (later Virginia Woolf) participated in the Dreadnought Hoax organized by Adrian Stephen and Horace Cole.
10 February 1914

Sixteen months after his first wife’s death, Thomas Hardy married the much younger Florence Emily Dugdale, with great secresy, at Enfield, where she lived.
10 February 1930

Ada Leverson dated a note which prefaces Letters to the Sphinx from Oscar Wilde, published that year in a limited edition of 275 copies, with her reminiscences of Wilde.
10 February 1932

Gallimard published Léo Lack’s and Una Troubridge’s French translation of Radclyffe Hall’s novel The Well of Loneliness, as Le puits de solitude.
10 February 1934

Kareen Fleur Adcock was born at Papakura (near Auckland), New Zealand, the elder of two sisters.
10 February 1943

Storm Jameson’s youngest sister, Dorothy Pateman, was killed by a German bomb that hit the People’s Pantry at Reading, where Pateman had been working with the Women’s Voluntary Service (WVS).
10 February 1944

Elspeth Huxley’s only child, Charles, was born in a London nursing home.
10 February 1946

The first session of the United Nations General Assembly opened in London (preceded by the first meeting of the Security Council).
At this session a first human-rights resolution was passed, against forcibly repatriation of Displaced Persons in the aftermath of the second world war. Also at this session delegates decided on a permanent home for the UN in New York City (which had issued an invitation to this effect in December 1945). After some time on a temporary site, the UN moved to a splendid purpose-built complex on land donated by John D. Rockefeller, Jr, completed in 1952.
10 February 1949

Arthur Miller’s tragedy Death of a Salesman, directed by Elia Kazan, opened on Broadway to great enthusiasm from critics.
The play traces the downfall of Willy Loman, a salesman bewitched by the American dream of capitalist success. It brought Miller the Pulitzer Prize.
The best-known of his later plays include The Crucible, 1953, about the Salem witch trials of 1692 (with contemporary reference to the activities of Joseph McCarthy), and After the Fall, 1964, about his short-lived marriage to Marilyn Monroe. Miller died on 10 February 2005.
10 February 1966

Mary Agnes Hamilton died at a little past eighty, at 28 Kenilworth Road, Ealing, in West London.
10 February 1998

Extensible Markup Language (XML) (an application of SGML) was introduced for more flexibility in encoding written texts on the World Wide Web. The standard web language, Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), was specialized for hypertext links and simple documents but insufficient for many more complex purposes.

Reviews of Orlando

Melanie Bigold in ABO

Like most scholars today, I make frequent use of digital databases . . . . Most of these sessions have left me jaded about the motivations (grant capture before research questions) and limitations (potential obsolescence) of such initiatives. Orlando is, and hopefully will remain, one of the exceptions in this landscape. . . . the term textbase rather than database signal[s] the myriad ways the text and electronic structure can provide qualitative responses to complex research questions. This is not digitisation with extras but literary scholarship and history that is searchable and adaptable to the needs of individual researchers.

Melanie Bigold. ABO. Interactive Journal for Women in the Arts, 3:1 (April 2013).

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