By Angela V. John
Called the "King of Correspondents" Henry W. Nevinson (1856-1941) captured the political zeitgeist of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Covering conflicts across the globe, the British war correspondent commented on war in Greece, the Siege of Ladysmith, the aftermath of revolution in Russia in 1905-6 and the tragedy at Gallipoli, helping to shape understanding of world affairs at the time. He also campaigned for rights in Angola, Ireland and India. At home he was a strenuous advocate of women's suffrage. Nevinson was the first to report sympathetically on Germany's devastation after the First World War. In the 1920s he accompanied Ramsay MacDonald on the first visit of a British Prime Minister to an American President. Although courting the establishment, Nevinson cultivated controversy as a rebel. Yet he remained a highly admired journalist and was a vivid and acute observer who wrote exquisite prose. Drawing on Nevinson's private diaries which span nearly 50 years, Angela V. John captures, for the first time, the story of a figure whose perspectives whether on the Balkans, the Caucasus, the Middle East or the United States, illuminate many of the conflicts which resonate in today's uncertain world.
Angela V. John is Honorary Professor of History at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth. For many years she was Professor of History at the University of Greenwich in London. She has published extensively on women's employment in nineteenth and early twentieth century Britain and was one of the founders of the International Journal Gender & History. Her previous books include a biography of the American-born actress, novelist and suffragette Elizabeth Robins.
"This is a fascinating account of a forgotten feminist. Evelyn Sharp was an 1890s ‘new woman' who became a militant suffragette before 1914 and became renowned both as a journalist and children's writer. Angela V. John's lucid and scholarly biography brings her back into view, illuminating the social and political history of her era while skilfully weaving into the story Sharp's long, secret love affair with the Guardian journalist she eventually married - Henry Nevinson. "
Professor Shelia Rowbotham
This is the first biography of a remarkable writer and incorrigible rebel.
Evelyn Sharp's story encapsulates the shifts in opportunities for talented
Victorian women who survived into the mid-twentieth century.
She was born into a privileged family in 1869 and became a very popular writer of schoolgirl fiction. Extremely versatile, she also produced fairy tales alongside stories for the infamous ‘Yellow Book'. A Manchester Guardian journalist for over four decades, Evelyn Sharp became the first regular contributor to its iconic Women's Page. Before and during the First World War she was a leading suffragette, editing the newspaper, ‘Votes for Women'. Imprisoned twice, she was the last British Woman to refuse to pay taxes because she lacked the vote. Increasingly committed to pacifism and international humanitarianism, the 1920s saw her working with Quakers in Weimar Germany. After a long and volatile relationship with the radical war correspondent, Henry V. Nevinson, the couple married when she was sixty-three.
This biography draws on Evelyn Sharp's publications, as well as letter and diaries vividly describing experiences such as famine relief in Soviet Russia and daily life in wartime Kensington for an elderly woman. It will be of particular interest to historians and those interested in children's and women's literature as well as to anybody who enjoys biography and social history.
To read a sample chapter from the book, click here.
List of Illustrations
Evelyn Sharp's Life
Introducing the Rebel Woman
1 From Evie to Becky Sharp
2 Writing for the young
3 Fellow traveller: meeting Henry Nevinson
4 Words in Deed: women's suffrage
5 Working with war
6 The relief of peace: in Weimar Germany
7 Irish Rebels
8 Somewhere in Russia: fiction and famine
9 Still rebelling: women, writing and politics in the 1920s
10 The Child Grows Up: configuring childhood in the inter-war years
11 Defying time and the times
12 War and widowhood: Chipping Campden and Kensington
Appendix 1 Evelyn Sharp's major publications
Appendix 2 The Cheap Holiday. A short story by Evelyn Sharp.
Angela V. John is Honorary Professor of History at Aberystwyth University
01 May 2009
hb 9780719080142 £60.00
pb 9780719080159 £16.99
16 b&w illuistrations
Cloth | 2008 | $27.95 / £19.95
368 pp. | 6 x 9 | 27 halftones
Despite his protests, Anne Gilchrist, distinguished woman of letters, moved her entire household from London to Philadelphia in an effort to marry him. John Addington Symonds, historian and theorist of sexual inversion, sent him avid fan mail for twenty years. And volunteer assistant Horace Traubel kept a record of their daily conversations, producing a nine-volume compilation. Who could inspire so much devotion? Worshipping Walt is the first book on the Whitman disciples--the fascinating, eclectic group of nineteenth-century men and women who regarded Walt Whitman not simply as a poet but as a religious prophet.
Long before Whitman was established in the canon of American poetry, feminists, socialists, spiritual seekers, and supporters of same-sex passion saw him as an enlightened figure who fulfilled their religious, political, and erotic yearnings. To his disciples Whitman was variously an ideal husband, radical lover, socialist icon, or bohemian saint. In this transatlantic group biography, Michael Robertson explores the highly charged connections between Whitman and his followers, including Canadian psychiatrist R. M. Bucke, American nature writer John Burroughs, British activist Edward Carpenter, and the notorious Oscar Wilde. Despite their particular needs, they all viewed Whitman as the author of a new poetic scripture and prophet of a modern liberal spirituality.
Worshipping Walt presents a colorful portrait of an era of intense religious, political, and sexual passions, shedding new light on why Whitman's work continues to appeal to so many.
Michael Robertson is professor of English at the College of New Jersey. He is the author of the award-winning Stephen Crane, Journalism, and the Making of Modern American Literature and the coeditor of Walt Whitman, Where the Future Becomes Present. A former freelance journalist, he has written for the Village Voice, the New York Times, Columbia Journalism Review, and numerous scholarly journals.
"For some devoted readers in the late nineteenth century, Walt Whitman was a 'man magnified to the dimensions of a god,' and Leaves of Grass a divinely inspired gospel. In a series of entertaining and acutely observed biographies of the 'Whitman disciples,' Robertson situates their fervor in a complex religions landscape."--New Yorker
"Michael Robertson has written a fascinating book on those who thought of themselves as nearest and dearest to Walt Whitman--incontestably 'America's greatest poet'. We've seen quite a few substantial biographies of Whitman, and they score the various points their authors intended to score, but Mr. Robertson's book takes a new and altogether refreshing direction by introducing us, in some depth, to Whitman's true-blue disciples. Mr. Robertson illuminates...the poet's enduring appeal over the generations [and] has written a rich, memorable book. He wears his considerable erudition lightly, and he writes like a dream."--Michael Redmond, Princeton Packet
"Michael Robertson's Worshipping Walt...introduces us to a handful of the 'hot little prophets' who made a cult of Whitman, and also reminds us of the religious purpose of his poetry--with Leaves of Grass as gospel."--Adam Begley, New York Observer
"Robertson's collection of reflective biographies brilliantly illuminates Whitman's life and the wider life of his poetry. It is a book of the physical, intellectual and spiritual adventures, and the author's own adventures with Whitman are not the least of its pleasures."--Michael Schmidt, Financial Times
Walt Whitman and His Principal Disciples xi
Chapter One: William O'Connor and John Burroughs: Reading Whitman's New Bible 14
Chapter Two: Anne Gilchrist: Infatuation and Discipleship 51
Chapter Three: R. M. Bucke: Whitman and Cosmic Consciousness 97
Chapter Four: John Addington Symonds, Edward Carpenter, Oscar Wilde: Whitman and Same-Sex Passion 139
Chapter Five: J. W. Wallace and the Eagle Street College: "Blazing More Fervidly Than Any" 198
Chapter Six: Horace Traubel and the Walt Whitman Fellowship: The Gospel according to Horace 232