Orlando: Women's Writing
Title of Contents

Writers with Entries

New: July 2015

New Author Entries

  • Lady Hester Pulter, 1605 - 1678: major poet who has remained unknown until fairly recently because she seems not to have circulated her work, even in manuscript.
  • Margaret Calderwood, 1715 - 1774: Scotswoman whose journal of travelling to Continental Europe includes trenchant observations about England. She also wrote an unpublished novel and a manual about estate management.
  • Sarah, Lady Pennington, c. 1720 - 83: rejected by her husband after years of marriage and at least seven children, she performed the remarkable feat of writing a best-selling conduct book about exemplary behaviour.
  • Maria Susanna Cooper, 1737-1807: published novelist and poet, whose works for children (also printed) are lost. Didactic and conservative in fiction, she was said by her grandson to have been too submissive as a wife.
  • Isabella Hamilton Robinson, 1813 - 1887: diarist who wrote freely of her unsatisfying marriage and in breathless terms of erotic encounters with other men. Divorce court arguments remained inconclusive as to whether the diary was fact or fantasy.
  • Julia Ward Howe, 1819-1910: American woman of letters, popular lecturer (on the status of women among other topics), and author of "Battle Hymn of the Republic".
  • Charlotte Eliza Humphry, 1851 - 1925: journalist credited with inventing the chatty women's gossip column. She published a highly successful series of advice books, on household management and society etiquette.
  • Anna Akhmatova, 1889 - 1966: major Russian poet and translator whose chequered career was marked at several stages by state persecution.
  • Gillian Slovo, born 1952: South-African-born novelist, memoirist, and playwright. Even her early thrillers deal in political machination and oppression: she has written both fact and fiction about South Africa's racial conflict and rapprochement, and broken new ground in docu-drama.
  • Malorie Blackman, born 1962: Black British writer for children and young people, whose teen fiction makes page-turning stories out of such serious issues as organ transplant, race hatred, and terrorism.

Entries Enhanced

There are the usual exciting new publications: Virago's new edition of Stevie Smith's Novel on Yellow Paper and the appearance of Mary Kingsley and others in Penguin's Little Black Classics series, as well as new writing like Antonia Fraser's My History; Toni Morrison's God Help the Child; Dervla Murphy's Between River and Sea. Encounters in Israel and Palestine; J. K. Rowling's brilliant Very Good Lives (her Harvard commencement speech of 2008); and Marina Warner's scintillatingly angry analyses of the situation in British universities. We also had advance notice of new books soon to come from two splendid elders: Diana Athill and Edna O'Brien.
Again, a sad loss to report. Ruth Rendell died on 2 May (but there is still another book, Dark Corners, to wait for: due in October).
  • Anna Atkins: had her birthday honoured with a Google Doodle.
  • Joan Aiken: a stage adaptation of The Wolves of Willoughby Chase opened at the Watermill Theatre, Newbury.
  • Lady Charlotte Bury: revision in light of Edward Copeland's The Silver Fork Novel; note that her novel The Divorced, 1837, which professes to quote Pope on its title-page, is actually quoting Matthew Prior.
  • A revival of Caryl Churchill's play about popular resistance, Light Shining in Buckinghamshire, was timed to coincide with the British general election.
  • Gillian Clarke contributed to the Observer's pre-election survey "Britain Uncovered".
  • Anne Damer's posthumous Journal of the Heart, 1830, reclaimed for her on evidence presented in Edward Copeland's The Silver Fork Novel, though library catalogues, ignoring what is clearly stated in the preface, wrongly assign it to Damer's cousin Lady Charlotte Bury.
  • Anne Katharine Elwood: Kirstyn Leuner's paper at Digital Diversity 2015 let us know about the extraordinary 4-volume extra-illustrated set of her Memoirs of the Literary Ladies of England, 1843, which is now at the University of Colorado Boulder.
  • Anne Finch. Mention of the Anne Finch Digital Archive.
  • Bryony Lavery: her gender-bending adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island played at the National Theatre at Christmas 2014, and she took part in debate on verbatim theatre and its effects — an issue relevant to Orlando's new Gillian Slovo entry.
  • Doris Lessing: her 1959 play Each His Own Wilderness was revived at the Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond, Surrey.
  • Lady Mary Wortley Montagu: Jacqui Grainger's welcome plan to digitize and make available her commonplace-book. And some details added on her two poems about an alleged attempted rape.
  • Arbella Stuart. Hardwick Hall is commemorating her in this four-hundredth centenary of her death.
  • Mary Tighe: her beautifully illustrated "Verses Transcribed for H. T.", now edited online by Harriet Kramer Linkin, enlarge our sense of her poetic achievement; the introduction helps to explain why she was, she said, "a great coward as to publication".
  • Joanna Trollope generously donated her literary manuscripts to the Bodleian Library.

Free-standing events

Even more than usual have been added. All the names suggested by Orlando's Facebook friends for entries have been covered in at least one free-standing event — apart from those who, like Malorie Blackman and Gillian Slovo, have now acquired an entry. Other new events supply more on the nineteenth-century drive for scientific education, on transgender issues, the US movement for woman suffrage, the history of humanities computing, the East India Company, and the history of South Africa.

Summary of Content

10 entries (8 British women writers and 2 other women writer); 44 new free-standing chronology entries; 272 new bibliographical listings; 62,903 new tags; 155,113 new words (exclusive of tags).
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