Florence Nightingale: An Introduction to Her Life and Family - Vol. 1

Florence Nightingale: An Introduction to Her Life and Family - Vol. 1

Florence Nightingale: An Introduction to Her Life and Family - Vol. 1

Florence Nightingale: An Introduction to Her Life and Family - Vol. 1

Synopsis

Florence Nightingale: An Introduction to Her Life and Family introduces the Collected Works by giving an overview of Nightingale's life and the faith that guided it and by outlining the main social reform concerns on which she worked from her 'call to service' at age sixteen to old age. This volume reports correspondence (selected from the thousands of surviving letters) with her mother, father and sister and a wide extended family. There is material on Nightingale's 'domestic arrangements', from recipes, cat care and relations with servants to her contributions to charities, church and social reform causes. Much new and original material comes to light, and a remarkably different portrait of Nightingale, one with a more nuanced view of her family relationships, emerges.

Excerpt

It is an astonishing fact that there has been up to now no Collected Works of such an important thinker and influential social reformer as Florence Nightingale. Yet she was a legend in her own time (1820–1910), described as the second most famous woman in Britain after Queen Victoria. She remains known as the heroine of the Crimean War (1854–56), the most eminent founder of the modern profession of nursing and a major hospital reformer. Her signal contribution to public health in India is still recognized there. There are Nightingale streets, schools, hospitals and pubs around the world—after the Crimean War even a racehorse was named after her. Her portrait was on the British ten-pound note in the 1970s. There have been feature films, an opera and many fictional books using Nightingale as a heroine.

In the late twentieth century Nightingale's contribution to the development of the social sciences, the subject that prompted my interest in her, received much attention. In May 1997 Oxford University inaugurated its Florence Nightingale Lectures on Statistics. There is a new interest in her spirituality, prompted likely by the new interest in spirituality outside the bounds of organized religion. The recent more holistic approach to public health and greater emphasis on environmental factors accounts for another surge of interest in Nightingale, a community health pioneer par excellence.

The late twentieth century saw the publication of many Nightingale works, especially on her spirituality, comparative religion and theology, some for the first time, some republication or at least facsimile reproduction. There are new biographies in process, and children's books on her life have never been lacking. Nightingale papers are plentiful at history of nursing conferences. Critical, analytical work has been produced that is of high quality and much interest. Clearly there is a modest Nightingale industry in the scholarly world. Yet . . .

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