Joan of Arc as Victorian heroine: as if
praying before battle with cross-like sword, crinoline and corset beneath
Queen Elizabeth I tends to get better or worse
press in comparison to her Catholic sister Mary or her captive, Mary Queen
of Scots; Victorians begin to praise a great monarch who inspired a golden
Lady Jane Grey, queen regnant of England for
less than two weeks, too little time to become a blameworthy ruling
Pocahontas alone represents Native Americans
in these books but she joins others as a leader's daughter, a Christian
convert, and a rescuer of a man.
Lady Rachel Russell, now admired for letters
and memoirs, served as clerk in her husband's trial for treason against
Charles II; Victorians admired her wifely heroism.
Hannah More, bluestocking and eminent
conservative educator, by any lights was a model for nineteenth-century
Caroline Herschel, astronomer, in some ways
shares features with Mary Somerville.
Madame Roland in hopeful times; a heroine of
the French Revolution admired in England for her sufferings in prison and
the respect she earned from learned men.
Madame de Staël, preeminent woman writer,
heroine of the French Revolution.
Frances Trollope, prolific novelist and travel
writer, was the venturesome provider for her husband and sons, including
Anthony, also a novelist.
Mary Somerville, mathematician, astronomer,
and renowned science writer, one of the first women elected to the Royal
Elizabeth Fry, Quaker minister and prison
reformer, defined the role of female philanthropist in the early nineteenth
Ann Hasseltine Judson, the most famous of the
first American women missionaries to the "East," an eloquent writer and
Grace Darling, lighthouse keeper's daughter,
became a celebrity for rescuing survivors of a shipwreck.
Charlotte Brontë, the famous novelist, became
a Victorian ideal of self-sacrificing yet triumphant feminine genius, in
contrast with sister Emily.
Queen Victoria reigns over Victorian
collections of women's lives much as she represented an empire and an
Florence Nightingale defined the nursing
profession and captured the public imagination.
Jenny Lind, world-famous as "the Swedish
Nightingale," opera singer who rose from the people.
Frances Power Cobbe, incisive social critic,
forerunner of lesbian feminist animal-rights activists today.
Adelaide Procter, renowned Victorian poet,
daughter of the writer "Barry Cornwall"; a Catholic convert who died
Sister Dora emulated Florence Nightingale as a
nurse-administrator but in an industrial hospital near Birmingham.