emma_in_dream: (Corellia)
Oliver Heywood, a nonconformist minister who was imprisoned in the 1680s certainly knew how to party…

After dinner, Mr. Whitaker [another imprisoned Nonconformist minister] and I read in turn for an hour in Fox'es Acts and Monuments of Martyrs, Latin edition. Then went to my chamber; if my
wife were absent, I spent an hour in secret prayer, and God helped usually. After supper, we read in the book of Martyrs, studied, went to prayer, read in Baxter's paraphrase of the New Testament.
emma_in_dream: (CaptainAmerica)
I am charmed by Lucie Cobbe Heaton Armstrong’s social column, originally appearing in the issue of * Women’s Suffrage Journal* for 1 May 1884.

It begins “Mrs. Frank Morrison gave a highly-successful ‘At Home’ the other day, at the South Kensington Hotel, for the principal supporters of women’s suffrage. There was quite a brilliant company assembled. I noticed Lady Harberton and Lady Wilde amongst the guests. The meeting was held in a charming room, with cream-coloured panels picked out with a narrow line of pale pink and pale blue,”

I for one applaud the combination of feminism and fashion, bread and roses too.
emma_in_dream: (Default)
I want to shout out to Frederick Enoch, a very perceptive reader, who in 1846 bought a copy of the collected poems of the Brontes (published as Acton, Currer and Ellis Bell).

He was one of two – count them, two – people to buy copies of the book that year. Rather embarrassing for the authors, but their readership made up in quality for what it lacked in quantity. Mr Enoch wrote to them, praising the poems and asking for their autographs. He got what turned out to be the only document in the world with the ‘signatures’ of the three Bell brothers on it.

After the publication of *Jane Eyre*, the poetry sold like hot cakes, but Mr Enoch was ahead of his time.
emma_in_dream: (bucky)
By the 1870s Henry Ward Beecher was embroiled in public accusations that he preached weekly to 7 or 8 of his lovers, a court case for criminal conversation, and was reduced to denouncing as mad his sister Isabella Beecher Hooker (who took the ladies' side).

Interestingly, he was publicly opposed by Victoria Woodhull, the first woman to run for President of America and free love advocate. She was a fascinating woman, who used her contacts in the demi-monde to get information from prominent business men which she then used to play the stock market and to convince Vanderbilt she was a business psychic. I totally think this would be a viable business model today - a high class escort could use the information dropped by Wall Street players to invest.
emma_in_dream: (bobby)
In 1830 while at university, Henry Beecher was the centre of a whirl of dissipation. He played flute for the school band, was a leading member of the Temperance union, *and* enjoyed the rough and tumble of the theological debate society.
emma_in_dream: (steve)
Having said that Mrs Molesworth began her life nursed by Dorothy Wordsworth’s servant, she ended her writing career living next to young Leonard Woolf. From romanticism to modernism in one lifetime.
emma_in_dream: (Default)
I am reading her biography and she apparently had a childhood nurse who had previously worked for Dorothy Wordsworth.

You know what I would like? Some kind of three dimensional computer program that you could use to show the relationships between writers in the nineteenth century.
emma_in_dream: (Leia)
The London School Board gave away 2,000 of Mrs Molesworth's books as prizes in 1877 alone.

Perhaps they did not know that – scandalously – she was separated from her husband. He does seem to have had an explosive temper, whether as a result of temperament or the head wounds sustained in the Afghan campaign or PTSD from his work putting down what was at the time called the Indian mutiny. Even her husband’s family were totally supportive of her leaving him.
emma_in_dream: (Default)
I see that Frances Hodgson Burnett sold every word she ever wrote, from her first story at eighteen, to her last work fifty four years later. All of them were accepted on the first offer.

I had no idea writing was so easy. Falls about laughing.

I'm sure all my writer friends can confirm that this is their experience as well, especially the bit where various editors wrote to her voluntarily offering her more money than was in her contracts.


May. 20th, 2015 06:16 pm
emma_in_dream: (bobby)
OK, after not making full use of some documents for the past nearly 20 years, I have started transcribing my hand written notes into an Excel document with the intention of doing some kind of basic statistical analysis of some 14th century criminal records. (In my defence, I did do the research I planned to from them - but no more. Luckily they don't get *more* out of date no matter how much time passes.)

Most of the accusations about crimes are easily recognised - theft, assault, murder, perversion of the course of justice. But I just found a *hilarious* one which I will transcribe for you here. It's from the Michaelmas sitting of the King's Bench in 16 Richard II (1392) at Nottingham and York.

John Derwald the younger and others made an English rhyme ['quanda m[]riman in Anglicis v[er]bis'] and publicly proclaimed it in Beverley and Hull and other places in Yorkshire.

In ye contre herd was we
yat in oure token schrewes shuld be - with al thr to bake

Among yis thrers it is so
And other ordres manyme - whether yei slepe or wake

And yet wil ilkan hel up other
And meyriten him als his brother - bothe in wrong and right

And so wil we in sond and soutre
Meynten our negheboure - with al oure myght

Ilk man may come and goo
Among us both to and froo - I say yow sikerly

[??] heythyng wilwe suffrenon
[No] [??] of Hobbe ne John - With what man he be

Her unkynd ne ware
Yif we suffird of lesse or mare - Any vilans hethyng

But it wore quit double agayn
And a corale and be ful fayne - To byde our dressyng

And on yat purpos zet we surand
Who so do us any wrong - in what plas it fall

Yet he might als wel
Als have I hap and sel - Do agayn us al.

It's a bit hard to read this but is definitely about the peasants sticking together which was pretty close to sedition this close to the Peasants revolt. See the bit about ilkan (each one) helping the other up and maintaining their 'neighbours'. Fighting words.
emma_in_dream: (Default)
And more 19th Century Gossip

I have just finished a biography of Mrs Humphrey Ward, the author of *Robert Elsemere*, and her achievements are vast but puzzling.

On the plus side, she helped set up the first women’s college at Oxford and suggested naming it Somerville after the great mathematician. She was very good at working committees.

Also, she (sort of accidentally) set up a massive network of kindergartens, day care centres and schools for children with special needs in London.

She was a sort of atheist – believed that Jesus was an actual person but rejected the supernatural and miraculous elements and wrote several excellent intellectual novels on this theme. One of her daughters married into the Huxley family because apparently atheistic families were just that few on the ground in the 19th century.

At the same time, she was a prominent anti-suffragette who opposed women getting the vote. She spearheaded the anti-suffragette movement, arguing that most women were put off by the violent actions of the extremist suffragettes, did not want the vote and were content to influence events from behind the scenes. She got her son into Parliament so he could argue this in person. BTW: the suffragettes loathed him and every time he spoke on the issue they sent him postcards saying ‘Mother will be proud’.

I find this kind of argument hard to fathom. It’s not like anyone was *forcing* her to vote. They were just proposing that it become an option for others. It reminds me of the opponents of gay marriage. It’s not like it will be compulsory, which is the only way it could possibly affect the validity of anyone else’s marriage.

As an aside, my first (terrible) boyfriend’s (terrible) mother had exactly this kind of doublethink. She was the chair of Women Against Women Priests* and her argument was essentially that women could always do what she had done, which was to marry a priest and then run the social aspects of the church in an ostentatiously modest way and to make endless comments about what ‘my husband, the Minister’ thought.

So, Mrs Humphrey Ward, a very clever woman who believed that she could influence people without the vote. Which in her case was probably true, given that she was sufficiently respected as an author that former President Roosevelt requested that she write puff pieces designed to bring America into the war. The British High Command agreed and she was given special tours of munitions factories, war ships, troop ships and even taken to France to review the conditions as she produced pro-war propaganda for Britain.

Perhaps it was this combination of extremely conservative views and the popularity of her writing which peeved the modernists so much. Eg. HG Wells and Elizabeth von Arnim responded to an article of her deploring modern sexual morality by making love on top of the newspaper and afterwards burning it.

· Pronounced WARP, not a good acronym. Also, the losers, so nyeeeeer.
emma_in_dream: (Default)
Did you know that the son of Mrs Humphrey Ward, the famous novelist, was such a dud that the army did not want him during WWI? Like he was literally a trained member of the militia, had been for years, volunteered for active duty, was sent to Egypt and managed to annoy his superiors so much that they sent him back. Then the same again in a different company. This was quite an achievement, given that junior officers were lasting an average of 6 weeks at the time. You’d have thought the ability to stand up and point at the front was pretty much all that was required at that point, and yet Arnold Ward was so annoying on a personal level that he got rejected.

Failed journalist, failed lawyer, failed parliamentarian, failed anti-suffragette, failed soldier, gambling addict.


emma_in_dream: (Default)

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