Orlando: Women's Writing
Title of Contents

Writers with Entries

New: July 2011

Entries Enhanced

As usual, a number of women writers have been the subject of events or ceremonies which have ranked a mention in their entries: for instance, Aphra Behn (for the appearance of the journal Aphra Behn Online, which covers other writers from the long eighteenth century as well), Wendy Cope (not only for one of the many new books mentioned in this update, but for the British Library's purchase of her electronic archive, a hard-drive containing her correspondence), Nawal El Saadawi (for participation and also comment on recent events in Egypt), Elizabeth Montagu, and Marie Stopes. Others have published new titles (including Beryl Bainbridge's posthumous The Girl in the Polka Dot Dress) or had significant new titles published about them.
  • Penelope Aubin. New information from the continuing research of Debbie Welham, Chris Mounsey, and others.
  • W. H. Auden. Nicholas Jenkins of Stanford University has a database which sets out the evidence for Auden's being related by blood or marriage to an astonishing number of women writers going back to Marguerite of Navarre and Mary Sidney, Countess of Pembroke.
  • Anna Brassey. Interesting details about the publication of A Voyage of the Sunbeam, from Asa Briggs's history of Longman's publishing house.
  • Sarah Butler. Here, sad to say, new scholarship leaves us with less information instead of more. The new edition of Butler's Irish Tales, 1716, by Ian Campbell Ross, Aileen Douglas and Anne Markey, erases several details of her life and even casts doubt on her existence.
  • Eliza Fenwick. Knowledge about her continues to expand. Lissa Paul, in The Children's Book Business, 2011, and in research unpublished but generously shared, has led to Orlando additions about Fenwick and several of her contemporaries.
  • Sarah Fielding. Her three hundredth anniversary came and went without challenge to the often-stated belief that her Familiar Letters between the Principal Characters in David Simple, 1747, was only the second novel that a woman published in English by subscription. (The first was The Reform'd Coquet, 1724, by Mary Davys, who went on to issue her Works by subscription.) By chance a chronological search of Orlando revealed that Elizabeth Boyd has a better claim than Fielding to second place: she published The Happy-Unfortunate by subscription in 1732. The Sarah Fielding entry has been rephrased.
  • Pam Gems. Some updating followed her death on 13 May 2011.
  • James Joyce. Orlando could not resist adding the story of how scientists wanted to include in the "first synthetic life form" (a bacterium with computer-composed DNA) the words from Portrait of the Artist about recreating life out of life. The entry now records how the Joyce estate put paid to this.
  • Fanny Kemble. Information about the extraordinary photos taken in 1915 by Amelia M. Watson for a projected, but never published, illustrated edition of Kemble's slave-plantation journal (from the research of Laura Engel).
  • Liz Lochhead has been appointed national poet of Scotland: her title is not Laureate but Makar (that is, in the Scots language maker, that is creator, that is poet). This glorious and suggestive title prodded us to change the former situation whereby a free-text search in Orlando on the word "makar" used to turn up just one result: Priscilla Bawcutt's Dunbar the Makar (Oxford: Clarendon, 1992). Now the free-text function, primed on this detail of the Scots language, allows a free-text search on "maker" to find Orlando's mentions both of William Dunbar's well-known poem beginning "I that in heill wes and gladness", written about 1505 and later known as "The Lament for the Makaris", and of Anne Stevenson's tribute series entitled A Lament for the Makers, June 2006.
  • Mary Shelley has continued to be the cause of creativity in other writers, this time through Nick Dear's hard-hitting new stage adaptation entitled Frankenstein.