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WOMEN, EMANCIPATION AND LITERATURE
The Papers of Harriet Martineau, 1802-1876, from Birmingham University Library

"One of the Victorian era's primary cultural influences. ... its premier woman reformist writer."
Deborah Logan

The Hour & the Woman: Harriet Martineau's 'Somewhat Remarkable Life.' (2002)

Author, journalist, social commentator and leading feminist intellectual, the full range of Harriet Martineau's many achievements is documented in this project.

  • Nineteenth Century Literature - in addition to her own manuscript prose and poetry, there are letters to and from Charlotte Brontë, Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Gaskell, Harriet Beecher Stowe and others.
  • The campaign for the abolition of slavery was one of her major concerns and there is correspondence with John Anderson, a fugitive slave from Missouri, Henry Brougham and William Lloyd Garrison.
  • Travels in America - these are described both in her correspondence with Daniel Webster, Andrew Jackson, Margaret Fuller and others and in her manuscript Autobiography.
  • Journalism and Publishing - this is a wonderful source for those wishing to understand the machinations of 19th journalism.  There are long correspondence sequences with editors and proprietors discussing the culture and commerce of publishing.
  • Victorian Poverty and Philanthropy - this was also one of her life-long concerns and she did much to draw attention to the poorer members of society.  The collection includes her correspondence with Anthony Ashley Cooper and others.

William Lloyd Garrison praised her "intellectual strength, solid understanding, conscientious integrity, fearless independence of thought and expression, courageous 'heretical' non-conformity, far-reaching humanity, intuitional grasp, varied knowledge and literary fertility" - this project enables us to better understand her capabilities, achievements and influence.

Harriet Martineau

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