Martineau, Harriet

Martineau, Harriet
born June 12, 1802, Norwich, Norfolk, Eng.
died June 27, 1876, near Ambleside, Westmorland

English essayist, novelist, and economic and historical writer.

She became prominent among English intellectuals of her time despite deafness and other disabilities. She first gained a large reading public with a series popularizing classical economics, published in several collections (1832–34). Her chief historical work was The History of the Thirty Years' Peace, A.D. 1816–1846 (1849), a widely read popular treatment. Her most scholarly work is a condensed translation of The Positive Philosophy of Auguste Comte (1853). Her best-regarded novel is Deerbrook (1839).

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▪ British author
born June 12, 1802, Norwich, Norfolk, England
died June 27, 1876, near Ambleside, Westmorland
 essayist, novelist, journalist, and economic and historical writer who was prominent among English intellectuals of her time. Perhaps her most scholarly work is The Positive Philosophy of Auguste Comte, Freely Translated and Condensed, 2 vol. (1853), her version of Comte (Comte, Auguste)'s Cours de philosophie positive, 6 vol. (1830–42).

      Martineau first gained a large reading public with a series of stories popularizing classical economics, especially the ideas of Thomas Robert Malthus (Malthus, Thomas Robert) and David Ricardo (Ricardo, David): Illustrations of Political Economy, 25 vol. (1832–34), Poor Laws and Paupers Illustrated, 10 vol. (1833–34), and Illustrations of Taxation, 5 vol. (1834). After a visit to the United States (1834–36), concerning which she wrote the incisively sociological Society in America (1837) and the more anecdotal Retrospect of Western Travel (1838), she espoused the then unpopular abolition movement (abolitionism). Her best-known novels, including Deerbrook (1839) and The Hour and the Man (1841), were also written during this period. She helped to found the popular genre of the school story with The Crofton Boys (1841) and pioneered “back to the land” journalism with her writings about her garden in England's Lake District.

      A trip to the Middle East (1846) led Martineau to study the evolution of religions. She became increasingly skeptical of religious beliefs, including her own liberal Unitarianism, and her avowal of atheism in the Letters on the Laws of Man's Nature and Development (1851, with H.G. Atkinson) caused widespread shock. Her chief historical work, The History of the Thirty Years' Peace, A.D. 1816–1846 (1849), was a widely read popular treatment. She also contributed voluminously to periodicals, writing some 1,600 leading articles for the Daily News between 1852 and 1866. Her Biographical Sketches (1869, enlarged 1877) was a collection of articles written for the Daily News on various well-known contemporaries, including Charlotte Brontë (Brontë, Charlotte). Martineau lost her hearing early in life and later had heart disease and other illnesses. Her candid Autobiography, edited by Maria Weston Chapman (Chapman, Maria Weston), was published posthumously (3 vol., 1877).

Additional Reading
Studies of her life and works include Vera Wheatley, The Life and Work of Harriet Martineau (1957); R.K. Webb, Harriet Martineau: A Radical Victorian (1960); Valerie Sanders, Reason Over Passion: Harriet Martineau and the Victorian Novel (1986); Valerie Kossew Pichanick, Harriet Martineau (1980); Gillian Thomas, Harriet Martineau (1985); Susan Hoecker-Drysdale, Harriet Martineau, First Woman Sociologist (1992); and Caroline Roberts, The Woman and the Hour: Harriet Martineau and Victorian Ideologies (2002).

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Martineau, Harriet — (1802 76) Harriet Martineau was effectively the first woman sociologist. Martineau, who was English, wrote the first systematic treatise in sociology, carried out numerous cross national comparative studies of social institutions, and was the… …   Dictionary of sociology

  • Martineau,Harriet — Mar·ti·neau (märʹtn ō), Harriet. 1802 1876. British writer whose Illustrations of Political Economy (1832 1834) explained the theories of Thomas Robert Malthus, John Stuart Mill, and David Ricardo. * * * …   Universalium

  • Martineau, Harriet — (12 jun. 1802, Norwich, Norfolk, Inglaterra–27 jun. 1876, cerca de Ambleside, Westmorland). Ensayista inglesa, novelista y escritora sobre temas económicos e históricos. Se transformó en una figura prominente entre los intelectuales ingleses de… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • MARTINEAU, HARRIET —    English authoress, born at Norwich; a lady with little or no genius but with considerable intellectual ability, and not without an honest zeal for the progress of the species ; she was what is called an advanced thinker, and was a disciple of… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Martineau, Harriet — (1802 1876)    Novelist and economist, b. at Norwich, where her f., descended from a French family, was a manufacturer. From her earliest years she was delicate and very deaf, and took to literary pursuits as an amusement. Afterwards, when her f …   Short biographical dictionary of English literature

  • Martineau — Martineau, Harriet …   Dictionary of sociology

  • Harriet Martineau — (* 12. Juni 1802 in Norwich, Norfolkshire; † 27. Juni 1876 bei Ambleside, Westmoreland, Grafschaft Cumbria) war eine britische Schriftstellerin, die vor allem in gemeinverständlicher Art die reformbewußten politischen und naturwissens …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Harriet Martineau — en 1834 …   Wikipedia Español

  • Harriet Martineau — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Martineau. Harriet Martineau …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Harriet — (as used in expressions) Martineau, Harriet Monroe, Harriet Stowe, Harriet Beecher Harriet Elizabeth Beecher Tubman, Harriet Wilson, Harriet E. Harriet E. Adams …   Enciclopedia Universal

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