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The Collected Letters of Harriet Martineau


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Throughout her fifty-year career, Harriet Martineau's prolific literary output was matched only by her exchanges with a range of high-profile British, American and European correspondents. The Collected Letters of Harriet Martineau provides a long-awaited, timely and scholarly edition of the extant letters of this prolific Victorian writer.

Scattered throughout the United States and United Kingdom, almost all of the 2,000 letters that appear in this collection have never before been published. Newly transcribed in five volumes, the set focuses on the letters Martineau wrote herself, contextualizing the correspondence through annotation of the highest standard.

As in her literary work, in her correspondence Martineau comments freely on such topics as the Reform Bill controversy, the Poor Law reform, The American Civil War, American abolitionism and slavery. Besides giving a unique insight into Martineau's domestic relationships, Martineau's correspondence with Florence Nightingale on issues such as health reform uniquely blends personal and professional matters. Throughout her life, as this edition shows, Martineau managed to exert her influence on political and social circles, even from her distant Lake District home.

This is essential reading for every scholar of Victorian biography. Yet given the broad content of Martineau's correspondence, it is also relevant to research in the wider disciplines of nineteenth-century studies, women's studies, literature, empire studies, slavery and cultural studies.


- The material draws on source material held in the USA, UK and Australia, including the University of Birmingham (UK), University of California at Berkeley, the British Library, National Library of Scotland, the Women's Library (Guildhall, London), and Harris-Manchester College, Oxford

- Most of this newly transcribed material has never been published before

- Extensive annotation provides biographical, social, political, and historical context, including a biographical directory in Volume 1

- General introduction

- Consolidated index

Bibliographical information:

Martineau, Harriet. The Collected Letters of Harriet Martineau. General editor, Deborah Anna Logan. Advisory editor, Valerie Sanders. 5 vols. London: Pickering & Chatto, 2007.

- Vol. 1. Early Years

- Vol. 2. 1830s and 1840s

- Vols. 3-4. 1850s and early 1860s

- Vol. 5. Late 1860s and 1870s

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