Cassandra: And Other Selections from Suggestions for Thought

Front Cover
Pickering & Chatto, 1991 - Biography & Autobiography - 244 pages
0 Reviews
The world knows Florence Nightingale as "the lady with the lamp"-the revered founder of nursing as a respectable profession for women. But few people are aware that Nightingale's career began only after years of struggle to free herself from her suffocating Victorian family. In this surprisingly passionate feminist essay (a "brilliant polemic," states Martha Vicinus), Nightingale denounces the lives of idleness she and other women of her class were forced to lead.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


Part III

8 other sections not shown

Common terms and phrases

About the author (1991)

Born in Florence, Italy, of wealthy parents, Florence Nightingale was a British nurse who is regarded as the founder of modern nursing practice. She was a strong proponent of hospital reform and has been the subject of more than 100 biographies and many magazine pieces. As a young woman in the early nineteenth century, she had limited opportunity for a career. But Nightingale was very intelligent, and had extraordinary organizational capacities. She probably chose to become a nurse because of her great need to serve humanity. She was trained in Germany at the Institute of Protestant Deaconesses in Kaiserswerth, which had a program for patient care training and for hospital administration. Nightingale excelled at both. As a nurse and then administrator of a barracks hospital during the Crimean War, she introduced sweeping changes in sanitary methods and discipline that dramatically reduced mortality rates. Her efforts changed British military nursing during the late nineteenth century. Following her military career, she was asked to form a training program for nurses at King's College and St. Thomas Hospital in London. The remainder of her career was devoted to nurse education and to the documentation of the first code for nursing. Her 1859 book, Notes on Nursing: What It Is and What It Is Not has been described as "one of the seminal works of the modern world." The work went through many editions and remains in print today. Using a commonsense approach and a clear basic writing style, she proposed a thorough regimen for nursing care in hospitals and homes. She also provided advice on foods for various illnesses, cleanliness, personal grooming, ventilation, and special notes about the care of children and pregnant women.

Mary Poovey is Professor of English at Johns Hopkins University and the author of "The Proper Lady and the Woman Writer: Ideology and Style in the Works of Mary Wollstonecraft, Jane Austen, and Mary Shelley" and "Uneven Developments: The Ideological Works of Gender in Mid-Victorian England".

Bibliographic information