Frances Power Cobbe: Victorian Feminist, Journalist, Reformer

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University of Virginia Press, 2004 - Biography & Autobiography - 463 pages
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Frances Power Cobbe (1822-1904) is the most important nineteenth-century British writer and activist not heretofore treated in a full-length biography. An independent professional woman, she worked to improve conditions for delinquent girls and for the sick poor, promoted university degrees for women, roused support for the Union during the American Civil War, advocated for victims of marital violence, campaigned for women's suffrage, and engaged in a long-running battle with leading physicians decrying the use of animals in medical experiments. She was centrally located among the circle of London intellectuals who engaged the era's significant debates and was a respected religious and moral thinker as well. Bridging the gap between "high" and "low" journalism, she published in prestigious journals as well as in popular monthly magazines. At long last, Sally Mitchell gives this remarkable woman her due.

The only source of information about Cobbe's life has been her 1894 autobiography--and even that is considered by many scholars to be less than forthcoming. Over the past several years, Mitchell has unearthed extensive material by or related to Cobbe, dramatically increasing and updating the information now available about this major figure in social and literary history. She has transcribed hundreds of Cobbe's unpublished letters, drawn on archival papers and records for information about Cobbe's family and places where she lived and worked, and supplemented all the newly available material with instructive selections from Cobbe's anonymous journalism as well as other publications. Further, through the cooperation of Cobbe's heirs, Mitchell has been able to use significant materials that remain in private hands, including family letters and account books, a diary Cobbe's father kept during her first thirty-four years, a manuscript account of her 1858 journey to Egypt and Palestine, and a number of Cobbe's sketchbooks and photograph albums.

An accessible narrative biography, Frances Power Cobbe traces the details of Cobbe's life and work, analyzes her writing, and sets both in the context of the social and intellectual debates of her time.

 

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Contents

A Child Well Born II
11
Childhood Girlhood School 18271838
28
Young Lady in Training 18391845
47
The Family Heretic 18451857
63
Travel Alone 18571858
84
From Winter into Summer 18591864
101
Mary Lloyd
139
Working Woman Scribbler 18691874
186
Parliamentary Politics 18751878
229
Copyright

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About the author (2004)

Sally Mitchell, Professor of Women's Studies at Temple University, is the author of Daily Life in Victorian England and the Choice award-winning The New Girl: Girls' Culture in England, 1880-1915, among other works.

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