"Tell me of some booklings": Mary Russell Mitford's female literary networks



Halsey K (2011) "Tell me of some booklings": Mary Russell Mitford's female literary networks. Women's Writing, 18 (1), pp. 121-136.

In this article, the author discusses the ways in which nineteenth-century female literary networks were created, maintained, expanded and perpetuated through a study of the popular English writer Mary Russell Mitford. Though largely forgotten today, in her own time, Mary Mitford was considered by her contemporaries to be a woman of not only considerable talent, but also significant influence. She positioned herself at the heart of a network of literary people, and dedicated much of her time to forming and keeping up literary friendships. In the first part of this essay, the author describes Mitford's literary network, and discusses how it came into being. The author then turns to the ways in which members of the network supported each other, describes some of the economic functions of the network, and analyses the integral part played by books and shared reading in the development of their literary relationships. Mitford's literary networks were extensive, and included both men and women, but the network focused on for the purposes of this article is a female one, containing the poets Eleanor Anne Porden (later Franklin), Felicia Hemans and Elizabeth Barrett; novelists Fanny Trollope, Barbara Hofland, Mary Howitt and Amelia Opie; playwright and poet Joanna Baillie; and the writers in various genres, Anna Maria (Mrs S.C.) Hall, Caroline Clive (better known as Mrs Archer Clive), Barbarina Brand (Lady Dacre), Harriet Martineau, Susanna Strickland (later Moodie) and the American poet Catharine M. Sedgwick.

Women's Writing: Volume 18, Issue 1

Publication date28/02/2011
PublisherTaylor and Francis

People (1)


Professor Katherine Halsey

Professor Katherine Halsey

Professor, English Studies