Elgar original reference
Edited by Robert W. Dimand, Mary Ann Dimand and Evelyn L. Forget
Harriet Martineau (1802–76) Harriet Martineau was born at Norwich on 12 June 1802, the sixth of eight children of Thomas Martineau, a textile manufacturer, and Elizabeth Rankin Martineau. The family was Unitarian and belonged to the literary society of which William Taylor was head. Harriet was educated at home, learning Latin from her eldest brother, until 1813 when she was sent to a school run by the Reverend Isaac Perry where she studied French, Latin and English composition. When Perry left town in 1815, she left school but continued her classical study at home. Her health was never good. As a young child she suffered from indigestion and nervous weakness. Her deafness, which would later increase signiﬁcantly, began to show itself at school. She claims never to have possessed the senses of taste or smell. Beginning in 1817, she spent 15 months at her maternal uncle’s home in Bristol where she had been sent, for her health, by her parents. There she became a disciple of the Unitarian minister Lant Carpenter and, through his inﬂuence, began to read philosophy, including especially Joseph Priestley and David Hartley. From these, she adopted the materialist and determinist doctrine of ‘philosophical necessity’ which substantially modiﬁed her religious beliefs. Her ﬁrst literary effort was an article on ‘Female Writers on Practical Divinity’ which she submitted to the Monthly Repository. The praise that followed that effort induced her to begin writing Devotional Exercises and to attempt a theological novel. After the ﬁnancial...
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