Harriet Martineau

Standard Name: Martineau, Harriet
Birth Name: Harriet Martineau
Pseudonym: Discipulus
Pseudonym: A Lady
Pseudonym: H. M.
Pseudonym: From the Mountain
Pseudonym: An Invalid
Pseudonym: An Englishwoman
HM began her career as a professional writer, which spanned more than four decades in the mid nineteenth century, with writing from a Unitarian perspective on religious matters. She made her name with her multi-volume series (initially twenty-five volumes, followed by further series) of narrative expositions of political economy. One of the founders of sociology, who believed that social affairs proceed according to great general laws, no less than natural phenomena,
Martineau, Harriet, and Gaby Weiner. Harriet Martineau’s Autobiography. Virago, 1983.
2: 245
she produced several major contributions to this emerging field. She wrote broadly in periodicals and regularly for a newspaper on social and political issues, and produced three books of observations emerging from her foreign travels. Although her two three-volume novels were not particularly successful, her work had a great impact on later Victorian fiction. She also wrote history, biography, and household manuals. Her advocacy of mesmerism and her atheism made some of her later writings controversial. In her eminently readable autobiography and other writings she presents a cogent analysis of conditions shaping the lives of Victorian women. Although she became hugely influential—one of the most prominent women writers of her day—HM eschewed notions of genius. Her crucial contribution to Victorian feminist thought has frequently been overlooked.
Chapman, Maria Weston, and Harriet Martineau. “Memorials of Harriet Martineau”. Harriet Martineau’s Autobiography, James R. Osgood, 1877, pp. 2: 131 - 596.
Photograph of the painting of Harriet Martineau by Richard Evans, 1833-4. She is seated on a small settee upholstered in red, with red drapery behind. She has one hand outstretched to rest on papers which sit atop a table with patterned tablecloth. She is wearing a low-necked long dress in dark blue satin, with huge puff sleeves and a gauzy white collar with a pearl pin in the centre, and a very long fur stole. Her shiny dark hair is centre-parted and piled on top of her head. National Portrait Gallery.
"Harriet Martineau" Retrieved from https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/9a/Harriet_Martineau_by_Richard_Evans.jpg/822px-Harriet_Martineau_by_Richard_Evans.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.


Connections Sort descending Author name Excerpt
Anthologization Mary Ann Browne
Mary Anne Jevons included three poems by MAB in her little Liverpool publication The Sacred Offering. A Poetical Annual, 1834.
Jevons had launched this venture in 1831, and for the first two numbers all...
Cultural formation Julia Wedgwood
JW was born into that section of the English professional class which functioned as an intellectual and cultural elite. She was connected through her family with other Victorians strongly committed to spiritual and moral inquiry...
Education Frances Power Cobbe
Her continuing studies, particularly of theology, benefitted from access to Archbishop Marsh's Library in Dublin (though it was ostensibly open only to gentlemen and graduates). Her reading at this period may have included Marian Evans, later George Eliot
Education Sarah Flower Adams
In Harriet Martineau 's fictional account Sarah and her sister received an erratic
Stephenson, Harold William. The Author of Nearer, My God, to Thee (Sarah Flower Adams). Lindsey Press, 1922.
education from Harlow village teachers and their father. As she described it, they were given bible lessons, and travelled frequently as...
Education Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon
Her aunt Julia was a great influence on BLSB , who through her met Harriet Martineau , Mary Somerville , and Amelia Opie .
Education Jessie Boucherett
JB 's reading included Harriet Martineau 's The Industrial Position of Women in England, which prompted her interest in the feminist movement.
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.
Education Marie Belloc Lowndes
MBL 's formal schooling was minimal. Mrs Shiel, who ran a class she attended which catered mostly to children of Canons of Westminster, claimed to be a follower of Pestalozzi , yet mocked Marie for...
Education Matilda Betham-Edwards
Because of her mother's early death, MBE , she said later, was largely self-educated, her teachers being plenty of the best books.
Black, Helen C. Notable Women Authors of the Day. D. Bryce, 1893.
Apart from the family library, a half-guinea annual subscription to the Ipswich Mechanics' Institution
Family and Intimate relationships Sarah Flower Adams
Harriet Martineau supposedly based the Ibbotson girls in Deerbrook, on the lives of Sarah and Eliza Flower.
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.
Stephenson, Harold William. The Author of Nearer, My God, to Thee (Sarah Flower Adams). Lindsey Press, 1922.
Eliza Bridell-Fox (W. J. Fox's daughter and a particularly close friend of Sarah's sister Eliza Flower)...
Family and Intimate relationships Sarah Austin
Harriet Martineau and SA were fairly distantly related: Martineau's mother was John Taylor's first cousin, so Harriet and Sarah were second cousins.
Ross, Janet. Three Generations of Englishwomen. John Murray, 1888.
The Taylor and Martineau families gathered together from time to time.
Ross, Janet. Three Generations of Englishwomen. John Murray, 1888.
Family and Intimate relationships Mary Augusta Ward
MAW 's eldest child, Dorothy , was born; Harriet Martineau sent the baby a cot-blanket she had made.
Sutherland, John. Mrs. Humphry Ward. Clarendon Press, 1990.
59, 410
Ward, Mary Augusta. A Writer’s Recollections. Harper and Brothers, 1918.
Family and Intimate relationships Mary Augusta Ward
From the time of her arrival in England, a major influence on the young Mary Arnold (later MAW ) was her aunt and godmother Jane Arnold or Aunt K., a cultivated woman and friend...
Friends, Associates Annie Keary
For years AK 's dearest wish was to become a friend of Harriet Martineau , whose writing she immensely admired. Later, however, she began to feel there was something in Martineau's character or imagination that...
Friends, Associates Frances Power Cobbe
Friends, Associates Caroline Norton
Before her marriage CN had formed a friendship with the Irish poet Tom Moore , once a crony of her famous grandfather; this friendship endured into her middle age. It was also as Richard Brinsley...


February 1778
Franz Anton Mesmer , inventor of animal magnetism, arrived in Paris to promote his theory.
22 August 1791
Thousands of blacks rebelled in Hispaniola: in the French-speaking part of the island (now called Haiti while the other part is called the Dominican Republic). This (also known as Sainte-Domingue or Santo Domingo)...
January 1806
The Monthly Repository, a Dissenting magazine, began publication in London, edited by Robert Aspland .
Auguste Comte published Cours de philosophie positive in six volumes.
January 1833
The first issues appeared of two Irish monthly periodicals: the successful Dublin University Magazine and the short-lived Dublin University Review, and Quarterly Magazine.
1 August 1834
The Slavery Abolition Act or Emancipation Bill came into effect in the British Empire.
6 July 1839
In A Diary in America, Frederick Marryat promoted the stereotype that middle-class Americans adhered to a more strict paradigm of prudishness than their British counterparts, and apparently gave rise to the myth that Victorians...
3 May 1841
The London Library , established by Thomas Carlyle with Harriet Martineau , Dickens , Thackeray , and others, first opened its doors.
Pentonville Prison , based on the American model of convict isolation, opened.
At Harriet Martineau 's urging, the English Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge issued an anthology of writings by American women millworkers, Mind Among the Spindles, written by employees at the Merrimack Manufacturing Corporation
By 6 November 1852
William Makepeace Thackeray published his historical novel, set at the time of the Jacobite uprising, The History of Henry Esmond, Esq., A Colonel in the Service of Her Majesty Queen Anne.
The Mémoires du Général Toussaint L'Ouverture, the black leader who emerged from the rebellion in St Dominique (now Haiti), were published in Paris.
December 1855
Barbara Leigh Smith , later Bodichon, founded the Married Women's Property Committee (sometimes called the Women's Committee) to draw up a petition for a married women's property bill.
14 March 1856
A petitionfor Reform of the Married Women's Property Law, organized by the Married Women's Property Committee and signed by many prominent women, was presented to both Houses of Parliament.
2 May 1857
A grand dome designed by Panizzi was opened in what had been the central courtyard of the British Museum .