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.

17 November 680

Saint Hilda, Abbess of Whitby, died after a lifetime of religious leadership whose high points included establishing a double monastery at Whitby in 657 and hosting the Synod of Whitby in 664.
The Synod took the decision that the Church in Northumbria should throw in its lot with the Roman rather than the Celtic church. Hilda was a notable patron (of the poet Caedmon among others) and teacher, several of whose pupils went on to significant ecclesiastical careers.
17 November 1558

Queen Mary I died, and Elizabeth I assumed the throne of England and Wales.
17 November 1711

The Duke of Marlborough landed in England after what proved to be his last military campaign.
17 November 1714

In This Day Ought Never to be Forgotten, being the Proclamation Day for Queen Elizabeth, Elinor James presented a role-model to the new King George.
17 November 1740

The young Mary Latter placed “a ludicrous advertisement, in verse” in the Reading Mercury (owned by the London publisher John Newbery) to deny that she was the author of lampoons on the “persons and characters” of local ladies.
17 November 1750

Westminster Bridge was opened: only the second bridge over the Thames in London.
The bridge opened at midnight on a Saturday. Elizabeth Tollet, in a poem on the prospect from the bridge which she dated March 1750, must either have been looking from the unfinished bridge, or using Old Style for her date: she concludes the poem with a reference to the coming calendar change.
17 November 1789

Sarah Gardner presented in New York “an entertainment rhetorical and oratorical,” which sounds more like a lecture-related variety show than a play as such.
Later November 1792

John Reeves set up the Association for Preserving Liberty and Property against Republicans and Levellers (which was called for short simply the Association).
Its large output of tracts included Hannah More’s Village Politics, published at the end of the year.
17 November 1794

George Grote, historian, was born at Clay Hill near Beckenham, in Kent.
17 November 1794

Elizabeth Strickland was born, the eldest among two brothers and six sisters (of whom all the sisters but one became published writers).
17 November 1801

The Morning Post published Ode to Peace by Helen Maria Williams, who was living in Paris at the time, in premature celebration of the signing of preliminaries for the Peace of Amiens.
17 November 1809

Elizabeth Rigby was born at Norwich.
17 November 1820

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s first known publication, The Battle of Lovell’s Pond, appeared in the Portland Gazette.
Published under the name Henry, the poem describes the scene of an encounter between white settlers and Indians (native North Americans) during the Franco-Indian War.
17 November 1838-February 1840

Hostile Boer engagements in Natal ended in the defeat of the Zulus under their leader Dingaan; he was then replaced by a rival who accepted Boer rule.
17 November 1855

Robert Browning published his poetry collection Men and Women.
17 November 1858

Robert Owen, socialist, died at Newtown in Montgomeryshire.
17 November 1858

The death of her elder brother, James Stamford Caldwell, brought Anne Marsh the paternal estate of Linley Wood at Talke in Staffordshire, as her home.
17 November 1861

Charlotte Godley’s husband, John, died of consumption (tuberculosis) at their home, 11 Gloucester Place, London, less than a decade after their return to England from New Zealand.
17 November 1871

The National Union for the Education of Girls of all Classes above the Elementary was founded by Maria Grey, with her sister Emily Shirreff and others.
A provisional committee was formed, and the proposed National Union was christened at the Social Science Association Congress in Leeds in October 1871. The inaugural meeting was held at the Royal Society of Arts on 17 November. In addition to Maria Grey and Emily Shirreff, other founding members were Henrietta the Dowager Lady Stanley of Alderley, and Mary Gurney.
The Union offered scholarships to successful candidates in University Local Examinations, set up branches in provincial cities, and formed the Girls’ Public Day School Company to open schools for girls whose educational needs were not covered by the Education Act of 1870. The Union was later known as the Women’s Education Union or the National Union. It dissolved in 1882, seeing its work as completed.
17 November 1871

With the assistance of her sister Emily Shirreff, Maria Grey founded the National Union for the Improvement of the Education of Women of All Classes.
17 November 1881

Professor David Ferrier was unsuccessfuly tried for unlicensed vivisection under the recent Cruelty to Animals Act.
The act of 1876 required that physiologists be licenced, which Ferrier, a prominent professor of forensics at King’s College Hospital and Medical School, was not; yet he was reported to have exhibited vivisected animals and possibly demonstrated vivisection—the dissection of the brain of a living monkey—at a meeting of the International Medical Congress. His defence was that a licensed colleague, Gerald F. Yeo, had actually performed the operation. The prominent trial intensified the already fierce debate in the press over vivisection. The failure of this prosecution on behalf of “the victims of science” undertaken by Frances Power Cobbe and other anti-vivisectionists revealed the essential toothlessness of the new law.
17 November 1913

Eunice Guthrie Murray (who this year became president in Scotland of the Women’s Freedom League) was arrested for speaking at a meeting outside the Prime Minister’s house in Downing Street, London.
17 November 1914

Thomas Hardy published another volume of poetry: Satires of Circumstance, Lyrics and Reveries with Miscellaneous Pieces, which famously contains his poems on the death of his first wife.
17-19 November 1917

Virginia Woolf visited Garsington Manor, home of Lady Ottoline and Philip Morrell, for the first time.
17 November 1917

W. B. Yeats published a collection of verse, The Wild Swans at Coole, whose title poem was inspired by the swans at the estate of his friend and patron, Lady Gregory.
17 November 1920

Virginia Woolf read a paper about her early memories, probably 22 Hyde Park Gate, to the Memoir Club.
17 November 1921

Clemence Dane’s experimental play Will Shakespeare was first performed at the Shaftesbury Theatre, London.
17 November 1922

Feminist and suffragist Helena Normanton (1882-1957) became the the second woman called to the English bar; she was the first woman to practise as a barrister in the High Court of Justice.
She had made her second application to be admitted to the Middle Temple (the first was rejected) the day after the passing of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Bill on 23 December 1919 (in part at least owing to her efforts). She became the first British married woman to be issued with a passport in her birth name, the first woman to conduct a legal case in the USA, and one of the first two women KCs. (The other was Rose Heilbron.)
Helena Normanton was hounded by the legal profession on the charge that the unwelcome publicity attending her as a female legal pioneer was deliberate self-advertisement.
She continued to work both for better civil treatment of married women and for divorce reform. She was a published author in several genres, including a pamphlet entitled Sex Differentiation in Salary, 1914, a book entitled Everyday Law for Women, a romantic detective novel, accounts of famous trials, and Encyclopaedia Britannica articles. Her papers (including literary but no personal papers) are held by the Women’s Library.
17 November 1922

Antonia White, aged twenty-four, delusional and violent during the process of annulment of her first marriage, and was committed to Bethlem Royal Hospital, where she was put in a padded cell.
17 November 1923

Virginia Woolf published in the Literary Review of the New York Evening Post the first printed version of her influential essay (another work claimed as her “literary manifesto”) Mr. Bennett and Mrs. Brown.
17 November 1955

The first live television programme from Northern Ireland was broadcast.
17 November 1958

The sale began at Sotheby’s of the collection of first editions built up by the bibliographer Michael Sadleir, who had recently died.
The brief Times report began with the fact that £145 had been given for a first edition (rebound) of Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, although this was not the highest price realised. First editions of Ouida went for between eight and thirty-one pounds.
17 November 1980

The New Yorker printed Ruth Prawer Jhabvala’s short story Grandmother.
17 November 1982

H. D.’s The Gift was posthumously published. It dates from after her other autobiographical volumes, between 1941 and 1943, almost a decade after her “crucial and transforming analysis” with Freud).
17 November 1988

Helen Dunmore published The Raw Garden, “a collection of closely-related poems, which are intended to speak to, through, and even over each other.”
17 November 1989

Peaceful mass protests and strikes produced the resignation of the Czech Communist Party, which had held power in what was then Czechoslovakia since 1948.
Next month Alexander Dubcek (leader of the failed liberalisation programme of 1968, the Prague Spring) was elected chairman of Federal Assembly and Vaclav Havel elected president. These events were later dubbed the velvet revolution.
17 November 2013

Doris Lessing died at her London home at the age of ninety-four, three weeks after the death of her younger son, Peter, who lived with her.

Reviews of Orlando

In Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies

The Orlando textbase is one of those online resources that can swallow hours of your life in pleasurable, work-related browsing. This seductive capacity to devour time may or may not be a good thing, depending on whether you should actually be planning a lecture or marking essays, but it is certainly enjoyable and, joking apart, Orlando is also undoubtedly useful. Those working in the long eighteenth century will find it an informative and in some respects unique research tool, with much of interest for scholars of the period.” (277).

Bibliographic citation links allow you to see where just about everything has come from, and also mean that anyone coming fresh to a particular writer has a useful starting-point for building up a bibliography. This is one of the many ways in which Orlando provides something very different from the various printed dictionaries, encyclopaedias and guides to women’s writing available (277).

Gillian Skinner, “Orlando: Women’s Writing in the British Isles from the Beginnings to the Present (review).” Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies 22:2 (March 2010), 277-78. (Available from Project MUSE).
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