Harriet Martineau

Harriet Martineau (mär´tĬnō), 1802–76, English author. A journalist rather than a writer of literature, she was an enormously popular author. Her success is the more remarkable since she was deaf from childhood and the victim of various other illnesses throughout her life. The sister of the Unitarian minister James Martineau, she began her career writing articles on religious subjects. Her fame spread with Illustrations of Political Economy (9 vol., 1832–34) and Illustrations of Taxation (1834), two series of stories interpreting classical economics to the layman. After a visit to the United States in 1834, she became an advocate for the abolition of slavery and wrote several unflattering works on the American way of life, including Society in America (1837) and Retrospect of Western Travel (1838). Her later writings include Deerbrook (1839), a novel; The Playfellow (4 vol., 1841), tales for children; Letters on Mesmerism (1845); The Positive Philosophy of Auguste Comte (1853); and a very candid autobiography (1877), containing commentaries on the literary figures of her day.

See biography by V. Wheatley (1957); study by R. K. Webb (1960).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2013, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

FREE! Harriet Martineau's Autobiography and Memorials of Harriet Martineau
Harriet Martineau; Maria Weston Chapman.
James R. Osgood, 1877
Harriet Martineau, a Radical Victorian
R. K. Webb.
Columbia University Press, 1960
Readings in the History of Economic Thought
S. Howard Patterson.
McGraw-Hill, 1932
Librarian’s tip: Selections from "Illustrations of Political Economy" by Harriet Martineau begin on p. 738
Revolution and Counterrevolution: Change and Persistence in Social Structures
Seymour Lipset Martin.
Basic Books, Inc., 1968
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 10 "Harriet Martineau: A Pioneer Comparative Sociologist"
FREE! Lectures on the Relation between Law & Public Opinion in England: During the Nineteenth Century
A. V. Dicey.
Macmillan and Co., Limited, 1905
Leaving the Cave: Evolutionary Naturalism in Social-Scientific Thought
Pat Duffy Hutcheon.
Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 1996
Librarian’s tip: Chap. Five "Harriet Martineau and the Quiet Revolution"
Individualism and Conformity in the American Character: Problems in American Civilization
Richard L. Rapson.
D. C. Heath, 1967
Librarian’s tip: "Conformity in the East And Individualism in the West" an excerpt from "Society in America" by Harriet Martineau begins on p. 20
Medical Body and Lived Experience: The Case of Harriet Martineau
Ryall, Anka.
Mosaic (Winnipeg), Vol. 33, No. 4, December 2000
Gendered Authorship, Literary Lionism and the Virtues of Domesticity: Contesting Wordsworth's Fame in the Life Writings of Harriet Martineau and Thomas Carlyle
Amigoni, David.
Critical Survey, Vol. 13, No. 2, May 2001
Victorian Writing about Risk: Imagining a Safe England in a Dangerous World
Elaine Freedgood.
Cambridge University Press, 2000
Librarian’s tip: Chap. One "Banishing Panic: J. R. McCulloch, Harriet Martineau and the Popularization of Political Economy"
Slavery, Empathy, and Pornography
Marcus Wood.
Oxford University Press, 2002
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 5 "'Born to Be a Destroyer of Slavery': Harriet Martineau Fixing Slavery and Slavery as a Fix"
FREE! Little Journeys to the Homes of Famous Women
Elbert Hubbard.
G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1897
Librarian’s tip: "Harriet Martineau" begins on p. 79
Distinguished Women Economists
James Cicarelli; Julianne Cicarelli.
Greenwood Press, 2004
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