Edited by Robert W. Dimand, Mary Ann Dimand and Evelyn L. Forget
Harriet Hardy Taylor Mill
307 Harriet Hardy Taylor Mill (1807–58) Harriet Hardy was the daughter of Thomas Hardy, an austere surgeon whose relative wealth must have meant access to education for his children. She married John Taylor at 18 and became part of the Unitarian Radical group of William J. Fox. She contributed poetry and essays to the Monthly Repository which he edited. Harriet Taylor and John Stuart Mill met in 1830. They developed an intense friendship characterized by intellectual collaboration and a presumably platonic romantic attachment until their marriage in 1851, two years after John Taylor’s death. Their union was short-lived and plagued by Taylor’s ill-health. She died in 1858 while travelling in the south of France. Harriet Taylor’s life and contributions have traditionally been eclipsed by those of John Stuart Mill. Her ideas, when and if mentioned, have been discussed as reﬂections of or inﬂuences on Mill’s rather than in their own right.1 Yet a comparative analysis of Taylor’s and Mill’s writings and a survey of their published correspondence and of the variations in Mill’s published works reveal Taylor as an independent thinker who often held the more radical and insightful views. There are few writings from Harriet Taylor’s hand, and these have not been the object of a ‘collected works’ edition to date. Hayek reprinted a short essay on the tyranny of conformism and public opinion, from the Monthly Repository (Hayek, 1951, pp. 271–9). Her early essay on marriage and divorce, part of an 1832 dialogue with...
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