Collective Biographies of WomenAn Annotated Bibliography
James, G[eorge] P[ayne] R[ainsford], ed. Memoirs of Celebrated Women. 2 vols. London: Bentley, 1836; 1837. 1 vol., Philadelphia: Carey & Hart, 1839. London: Routledge, 1876.
Riches. G.P.R. James was a prolific historical novelist. Anna Comnena was the daughter of Alexius I (Comnenus) emperor of Constantinople, b. 1081/83; she wrote her father's life; Queen Elizabeth [longest bio]; Donna Maria Pacheco was the wife of Padilla of Toledo, a Castilian leader of the rebellion against Charles V; after his execution, she led pageantry to oppose the king and defended her city under siege, finally fleeing to Portugal in disguise. Queen Elizabeth's biography is the longest in the volume. British Library stamp 15 OC 75. Illustrations consist of 1) Frontis: Ghoulish George Cruikshank engraving of “The Execution of Jane”: hatchet raised over the head of a bug-eyed, masked executioner, blindfolded woman kneeling, neck exposed, in mid-Victorian dress, as Elizabethan soldiers watch ; 2) “Execution of Joan of Arc” (58); 3) “Margaret of Anjou and the Robber” (124); 4) “Elizabeth's Childhood” [popular image of child Elizabeth reading with two ladies] (272). “That a female warrior, even inspired by enthusiastic love for her country, should perform deeds, of which the most celebrated generals of the age might have been proud, appears more like the fiction of the poet than a transaction of real life; yet such was the case with Joan of Arc”( 7; opening line of text).
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