Isa Blagden

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IB is the author of five fairly sentimental yet often outspokenly feminist novels, a small volume of poetry, and a number of essays and short stories—almost all of which were published in London during the 1860s. She lived primarily in Florence, and much of her work deals with Italian settings, characters, and politics. Her writing also frequently addresses the issues of women's occupations and independence, of female artistic genius, of mesmerism and spiritualism, and of moral as opposed to physical beauty.
Black and white photograph of Isa Blagden, seated with a book in her lap. She wears a dress with wide skirt, puff sleeves, a high collar, a pattern of stitched swirls going up the torso, and a tightly laced waist covering like a corset. Her dark hair is pinned at the back of her head.
"Isa Blagden" Retrieved from https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/5/58/Isa_Blagden.jpg/772px-Isa_Blagden.jpg. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication license. This work is in the public domain.

Milestones

30 June, either 1816 or 1817
IB was born, possibly as an illegitimate child.
Different information is given as to the date of her birth by two sources: her death certificate and her tombstone, which reads 1816-1873.
Matthew, Henry Colin Gray, Brian Harrison, and Lawrence Goldman, editors. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
Browning, Robert, and Isa Blagden. “Introduction”. Dearest Isa: Robert Browning’s Letters to Isabella Blagden, edited by Edward C. McAleer, Greenwood Press, 1970, p. xix - xxxiii.
xxxii
Matthew, Henry Colin Gray, Brian Harrison, and Lawrence Goldman, editors. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
By March 1861
Isa Blagden published her first, and most successful, novel: Agnes Tremorne.
Athenæum. J. Lection.
1744 (1861): 430
Blain, Virginia, Patricia Clements, and Isobel Grundy, editors. The Feminist Companion to Literature in English: Women Writers from the Middle Ages to the Present. Yale University Press; Batsford, 1990.
30 March 1861
The Athenæum published a favourable review of IB 's Agnes Tremorne, which considered it the work of a true artist, who has found her vocation.
Athenæum. J. Lection.
1744 (1861): 430
20 January 1873
After a brief illness, IB died at her villa near Florence; she was buried in the English cemetery in Florence.
Raymond, William O. “Our Lady of Bellosguardo: A Pastel Portrait”. University of Toronto Quarterly, pp. 446 - 63.
458
Browning, Robert, and Isa Blagden. “Introduction”. Dearest Isa: Robert Browning’s Letters to Isabella Blagden, edited by Edward C. McAleer, Greenwood Press, 1970, p. xix - xxxiii.
xxvi

Biography

30 June, either 1816 or 1817
IB was born, possibly as an illegitimate child.
Different information is given as to the date of her birth by two sources: her death certificate and her tombstone, which reads 1816-1873.
Matthew, Henry Colin Gray, Brian Harrison, and Lawrence Goldman, editors. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
Browning, Robert, and Isa Blagden. “Introduction”. Dearest Isa: Robert Browning’s Letters to Isabella Blagden, edited by Edward C. McAleer, Greenwood Press, 1970, p. xix - xxxiii.
xxxii
Matthew, Henry Colin Gray, Brian Harrison, and Lawrence Goldman, editors. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
Little is known of IB 's early life or parentage. Unsubstantiated rumours suggested that she was the illegitimate daughter of a white English father and an Indian mother.
Sutherland, John. The Stanford Companion to Victorian Fiction. Stanford University Press, 1989.
69
The register of her burial, however, said her father was called Thomas and was Swiss.
Boase, Frederic. Modern English Biography. F. Cass, 1965.
Henry James described IB as an eager little lady who has gentle, gay black eyes and whose type gives, visibly enough, the hint of East-Indian blood.
Browning, Robert, and Isa Blagden. “Introduction”. Dearest Isa: Robert Browning’s Letters to Isabella Blagden, edited by Edward C. McAleer, Greenwood Press, 1970, p. xix - xxxiii.
xxi
Alfred Austin claims she was a Christian in every sense of the word.
Austin, Alfred, and Isa Blagden. “Memoir”. Poems, William Blackwood and Sons, 1873.
xii