Cover image for Nineteenth-century British women writers : a bio-bibliographical critical sourcebook
Nineteenth-century British women writers : a bio-bibliographical critical sourcebook
Bloom, Abigail Burnham.
Publication Information:
Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 2000.
Physical Description:
x, 456 pages ; 25 cm
Format :


Call Number
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PR115 .N55 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Reference

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British women writers of the 19th century were a remarkably talented, diverse, and prolific group. Some, such as Jane Austen and George Eliot, significantly contributed to the evolution of the English novel, while others, such as Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Christina Rossetti, are known for their poetry. And some, such as Marie Corelli, were enormously popular during their lifetimes but are now known primarily by scholars. This reference book is a guide to the lives and achievements of women writers of the period.

Included are alphabetically arranged entries for more than 90 British women writers of the 19th century, ranging from the famous to the obscure. Each entry is written by an expert contributor and provides a brief biography, a discussion of major works and themes, an overview of the critical response to the writer's works, and a bibliography of primary and secondary sources, including web sites. The volume closes with a selected bibliography of anthologies and critical works.

Author Notes

ABIGAIL BURNHAM BLOOM is Managing Editor of the journal Victorian Literature and Culture . She is the coeditor of Anne Thackeray Ritchie: Journals and Letters (1994) and author of the forthcoming article Transcending through Incongruity: The Background of Humor in Carlife's Sartor Resartus in The Victorian Comic Spirit . She has written and lectured on the Carlyles and the BrontËs.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

This multifaceted text is intended to serve as a teaching tool and curriculum resource guide for professors of English literature and as a biographical, bibliographical, and critical reference source for their students. Covering the full gamut of literary genres, both prominent and lesser known, but not obscure, authors of the period are featured. Among the 93 writers profiled, there are a few not generally thought of as writers (Queen Victoria, Florence Nightingale) along with the more expected names, such as the Brontesisters, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, George Eliot, and Mary Shelley. Arrangement is alphabetical, and each author is given her own chapter. The format of each signed entry is identical, with the length ranging from three pages to almost ten pages for Jane Austen. A biographical sketch, usually no longer than one or two pages, highlights major influences and philosophical development in the author's life. The background discussion is carried into the second section, "Major Works and Themes." It is here that themes, personal politics, passions, and influences are woven together and characters, settings, and other elements of each author's work are examined. In an attempt to educate the reader, lesser-known works often are accorded more attention than the familiar ones. The third and usually briefest portion of each entry, "Critical Reception," explains how the author's works were viewed by her peers and literary commentators of her day. A very brief statement about her legacy and modern critical reception closes the discussion. The bibliography includes her works and recent (within the last 20 to 30 years) commentaries and critical studies. Information about many of these writers can be found in other sources. For example, more than 70 of the same women are treated in An Encyclopedia of British Woman Writers (Rev. ed., Rutgers, 1998). The title under review is recommended for academic and large public libraries serving serious students of Victorian literature.

Choice Review

Among the biobibliographical dictionaries of British women writers now available, this one is unique in its timespan, its broad definition of writers (not just novelists and poets but also letter writers, diarists, journalists, travel writers, etc.), and the length and content of its entries. The 93 signed, alphabetically arranged entries each contain four sections: "Biography," "Major Works and Themes," "Critical Reception," and "Bibliography." The bibliographies indicate current availability (or lack of it) of each writer's publications and include lists of works by and studies of (both selective in the case of prolific authors). Entries vary in length and detail. The credentials of contributors, listed in a roster at the end, vary from full professors to PhD students. A selected bibliography of collections of poetry and prose that include writings of 19th-century women, a general bibliography of monographs on women's writing of the period, and a brief list of relevant Web sites round out the volume. Indexes cite names (with cross-references to pseudonyms, married names, etc.) and titles of works. The introduction attempts to categorize the authors as novelists, poets, journalists, etc. A useful handbook for large public libraries and college and university collections. S. Van Sant; University of Maryland College Park

Table of Contents

Abigail Burnham BloomEmily AuerbachSandra L. SpencerCarol Hanbery MacKayJackie Dees DomingueLila M. HarperAndrea L. BroomfieldAnn R. HawkinsJames DiedrickLori WilliamsonAndrew MaunderMaria H. FrawleyMaggie BergJoAnna Stephens MinkAnne M. WindholzMary S. PollockLeonie RutherfordSamuel J. RogalAnn HeilmannCatherine J. GoldenJean WaskoCarol Huebscher RhoadesLisa LeslieSally MitchellSimon AveryMichael A. TorokDenise P. QuirkAnnette R. FedericoKathleen HickokBrian McCuskeyAnita RoseDuangrudi SuksangCarol Huebscher RhoadesEric SterlingHeidi ThomsonKimberly VanHoosier-CareyJoan M. LescinskiRichard A. CurrieMiles A. KimballEd MaddenJune FoleyK. L. ThomasJoAnna Stephens MinkKelly StephensKevin EubanksMargaret A. LooseHeidi JohnsonRenee V. OverholserElisabeth Anne LeonardMelisa SummyFlorence S. BoosBarbara Penny KannerShelly SkinnerLucy MorrisonDennis DenisoffAudrey Horton ShifflettLaurel Meredith EricksonPatricia Lorimer LundbergPamela Corpron ParkerJanna KnittelJo Ellen JacobsLauren McKinneyEmily R. AndersonMargaret Elizabeth StricklandSandra J. PeacockNikki Lee ManosDeirdre d'AlbertisSandra HannafordChristine SwiridoffChristine SwiridoffCheri Lin Larsen HoeckleyChristine PullenAndrew MaunderCarol Hanbery MacKayA. I. Parejo VadilloAlan S. WeberElizabeth J. DeisRobert DingleyElizabeth C. DenlingerRhonda Brock-ServaisConstance M. FulmerKathryn A. NeeleyRobert C. PetersenJuliette Berning SchaeferMary LenardAnn-Barbara GraffSusan SchreibmanAdrienne MunichGisela ArgyleDeborah Epstein NordChristine SutphinDejan KuzmanovicJanet L. GroseMarylu Hill
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Introductionp. 1
Jane Austen (1775-1817)p. 10
Isabella Mary Beeton (1836-1865)p. 20
Annie Wood Besant (1847-1933)p. 23
Louisa Sarah Bevington (1845-1895)p. 27
Isabella Lucy Bird (Bishop) (1831-1904)p. 32
Clementina Black (1853-1922)p. 35
Countess of Blessington, Marguerite Power Farmer Gardiner (1789-1849)p. 38
Mathilde Blind (1841-1896)p. 41
Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon (1827-1891)p. 45
Mary Elizabeth Braddon (1835-1915)p. 49
Anne Bronte (1820-1849)p. 53
Charlotte Bronte (1816-1855)p. 58
Emily Jane Bronte (1818-1848)p. 67
Rhoda Broughton (1840-1920)p. 76
Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861)p. 80
Frances Hodgson Burnett (1849-1924)p. 89
Lady Isabel Arundell Burton (1831-1896)p. 92
Josephine Butler (1828-1906)p. 95
Alice Mona Caird (1854-1932)p. 99
Jane Welsh Carlyle (1801-1866)p. 104
Mary Cholmondeley (1859-1925)p. 108
"Claire" (Clara Mary Jane) Clairmont (1798-1879)p. 112
Frances Power Cobbe (1822-1904)p. 116
Mary Elizabeth Coleridge (1861-1907)p. 120
Sara Coleridge Coleridge (1802-1852)p. 124
Eliza Cook (1818-1889)p. 128
"Marie Corelli" (Mary Mackay) (1855-1924)p. 132
Dinah Maria Mulock Craik (1826-1887)p. 136
Hannah Cullwick (1833-1909)p. 140
Emily Davies (1830-1921)p. 143
Lady Florence Caroline Douglas Dixie (1857-1905)p. 146
Lady Elizabeth Eastlake (1809-1893)p. 150
Emily Eden (1797-1869)p. 154
Maria Edgeworth (1768-1849)p. 157
"George Egerton" (Mary Chavelita Dunne Bright) (1859-1945)p. 161
"George Eliot" (Mary Anne Evans) (1819-1880)p. 165
Sarah Stickney Ellis (1799-1872)p. 174
Susan Edmonstone Ferrier (1782-1854)p. 178
"Michael Field" (Katherine Harris Bradley and Edith Emma Cooper) (1846-1914) and (1862-1913)p. 181
Elizabeth Gaskell (1810-1865)p. 185
Lady Lucie Duff Gordon (1821-1869)p. 194
"Sarah Grand" (Frances Elizabeth Clarke McFall)(1854-1943)p. 198
Dora Greenwell (1821-1882)p. 202
Felicia Dorothea Hemans (1793-1835)p. 207
Mary Howitt (1799-1888)p. 211
Jean Ingelow (1820-1897)p. 215
Anna Brownell Murphy Jameson (1794-1860)p. 218
Geraldine Jewsbury (1812-1880)p. 222
Maria Jane Jewsbury (1800-1833)p. 227
Ellen Johnston (ca. 1835-1873)p. 231
Fanny (Frances Anne) Kemble (1809-1893)p. 235
Mary Henrietta Kingsley (1862-1900)p. 241
Letitia Elizabeth Landon (L.E.L.) (1802-1838)p. 245
"Vernon Lee" (Violet Paget) (1856-1935)p. 249
Amy Levy (1861-1889)p. 252
Eliza Lynn Linton (1822-1898)p. 256
"Lucas Malet" (Mary St. Leger Kingsley Harrison) (1852-1931)p. 260
Harriet Martineau (1802-1876)p. 264
Alice Meynell (1847-1922)p. 272
Harriet Taylor Mill (1807-1858)p. 276
Mary Russell Mitford (1787-1855)p. 280
Constance Naden (1858-1889)p. 283
Edith Nesbit (1858-1924)p. 287
Florence Nightingale (1820-1910)p. 291
Caroline Norton (1808-1877)p. 296
Margaret Oliphant Wilson Oliphant (1828-1897)p. 300
"Ouida" (Marie Louise de la Ramee) (1839-1908)p. 307
Bessie Rayner Parkes (Belloc) (1829-1925)p. 310
May Probyn (ca. 1856?-1909?)p. 313
Adelaide Anne Procter (1825-1864)p. 316
"Dollie" Radford (1858-1920)p. 319
Charlotte Eliza Lawson Riddell (1832-1906)p. 323
Anne Isabella Thackeray Ritchie (1837-1919)p. 328
A. Mary F. Robinson (Darmesteter Duclaux) (1857-1944)p. 336
Christina Georgina Rossetti (1830-1894)p. 340
Olive Schreiner (1855-1920)p. 348
Anna Sewell (1820-1878)p. 353
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (1797-1851)p. 356
Elizabeth Eleanor Siddal (1829-1862)p. 363
Edith J. Simcox (1844-1901)p. 367
Mary Fairfax Greig Somerville (1780-1872)p. 370
Agnes Strickland (1796-1874)p. 373
Helen Taylor (1831-1907)p. 376
Charlotte Elizabeth Tonna (1790-1846)p. 380
Frances Trollope (1779-1863)p. 384
Katharine Tynan (1859-1931)p. 389
Victoria, Queen of Britain (1819-1901)p. 393
Mary Augusta Arnold Ward (Mrs. Humphry Ward) (1851-1920)p. 396
Beatrice Webb (1858-1943)p. 400
Augusta Webster (1837-1894)p. 404
Lady Jane Francesca Wilde (1821?-1896)p. 408
Ellen Price Wood (Mrs. Henry Wood) (1814-1887)p. 411
Charlotte Mary Yonge (1823-1901)p. 415
Selected Bibliographyp. 421
Indexp. 427
About the Editor and Contributorsp. 445