Hannah More was an English religious writer and philanthropist. She wrote about many topics and was part of the so-called “Bluestocking groups.” These were women who were involved in intellectual and social groups, as well as roundtable discussions. They discussed popular topics like women’s role in society, the progression of civilization, and “natural laws.” She and her sister worked as school teachers and wanted to educate the children. This made many people angry with them, including the farmers, who thought that education would harm agriculture. and the clergy, who thought she was going against the church.
More played three roles during her life— a writer of poems, a writer of moral and religious subjects, and a philanthropist. Firstly, her writing began when she started writing plays for her students to perform. Eventually, she traveled to London and became involved with the Covent Garden Theatre. She befriended actor-manager, David Garrick and his wife Eva. After Garrick died and one of her plays (The Fatal Falsehood) failed, she began to write in a non-theatre context. Secondly, during the period 1785-1787, Hannah More turned over a new leaf in her life. She was converted to Christianity and became involved with Evangelicalism. This is the point where she begins to write about moral and religious subjects. One of the most important of these subjects was slavery. Lastly, Hannah More is remembered as a philanthropist. More and many of her evangelical friends helped to fund Sunday schools, which were aimed at children, as well as adults. She planned activities and instructional time for the Sunday schools. She traveled to poor villages and towns, helping them. She spent time and money to help try to establish religion and encourage education. Her philanthropic work is a very important part of who Hannah More is.
Overall, Hannah More impacted on society because of her strong convictions and beliefs. She was one of the first women to become involved in writing for a living. She was not only intelligent and important to the educated sector, but she is also important in the Christian community. She was praised for her work with Sunday schools and her religious writings were also quite significant. Although she is usually not studied extensively, Hannah More made an impact on society because of her works and intellect.
Burke, Tim. “Criticism: In Praise of Poverty: Hannah More Counters Thomas Paine and the Radical Threat.”
St. Mary's College (2004) <http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2220/is_3_45/ai_n5991474>
(22 December 2005).
This article is a criticism of the book In Praise of Poverty: Hannah More Counters Thomas Paine and the Radical Threat. Burke discusses why he believes the book is historically inaccurate. In doing so, he presents an argument about Hannah More that examines not only her writing, but also her political views. Burke believes that the book downplays More’s complexity and reduces her to a "pure," unwavering conservative. The article is would be helpful in writing a paper about how Hannah More was not just a conservative; rather she was a complex and intriguing individual.
Carey, Brycchan. “Hannah More.” British Abolitionists Page. (8 April 2005). <http://www.brycchancarey.com/abolition/more.htm>
(22 December 2005).
This source discusses Hannah More’s role in the abolition of slavery and the slave trade. This is an aspect of More’s life that sometimes may be overlooked in biographical information. More was a member of the Society for Effecting the Abolition of the African Slave Trade. She lived in a town where the slave trade was prominent. She wrote a play about it called “The Inflexible Captive.” This source, although short, provides a list of the author’s sources, as well as external links to other web sites. Most of the them are useful; however, some are not active. Overall, this site is helpful in providing insight into More’s abolitionist attitude.
Carey, Brycchan. “Hannah More: Slavery, a poem.” (3 October 2002). <http://www.brycchancarey.com/slavery/morepoems.htm>
(22 December 2005).
This site provides the full text of Hannah More’s poem “Slavery.” Since it is a primary source and one of More’s influential works, it would be extremely useful in scholarly research. The reader can see first-hand some of More’s opinions about slavery. The full text of the poem is 20 pages long, so it is an extensive document. Although somewhat lengthy, this source provides the reader with a firsthand account of More’s poetry and her opinions.
DeMers, Patricia. The World of Hannah More. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky,
DeMers believes that history has not been kind to Hannah More. She believes that she has been traditionally thought of as a moral woman who believed in separate spheres for men and women. Modern-day feminists do not like the “separate spheres” idea so More is sometimes forgotten when studying women’s history. However, DeMers tries to, by the use of primary sources, break down that belief about More. DeMers discusses her public writings, philanthropic activities, and correspondence. The book is a “balanced” biography of Hannah More and DeMers succeeds in presenting a non-traditional view of Hannah More.
Egerton, Elizabeth C., Charlotte Grant, Penny Warburton, and Cliona O’Gallchoir, eds.
Women, and Writing the Public Sphere 1700-1830. New York: Cambridge University Press,
This source is an excellent guide to women and the public sphere in the 18th and early 19th centuries. The book provides information about cultural trends of women. In focusing on women's relation to the public sphere, this source aims to demonstrate the more radical potential. Between 1700 and 1830, ideas of political representation and national identity were transformed, and the powers and scope of public authority redefined. Hannah More is mentioned several times in the book, although it does not go into great detail about her. This source is an extensive 332 page account of women in public life and could be used for scholarly research.
Hole, Robert ed. “Selected Writings of Hannah More.” Pickering and Chatto Publishers <http://www.pickeringchatto.com/more.htm>
(22 December 2005).
This source gives a synopsis of an actual book, Selected Writings of Hannah More, which includes many works of Hannah More. This cite is run by the publishers of the book and includes the table of contents of the book. Since the book is an edited work, it includes primary sources, especially the text of some of Hannah More’s most influential writings. The book can be purchased from the publishing company from this website.
Jones, Kathleen. A Passionate Sisterhood: Women of the Wordsworth Circle.
New York: Palgrave, 2000.
This book focuses on women who were involved in the lives of poets William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Robert Southey. Although Hannah More is only mentioned briefly, this book is an excellent source for those looking to study Romantic literature. It provides excellent sources, especially correspondence. It also brings the reader back to 18th century English and shows cultural and intellectual trends of the time.
More, Hannah. “On the Danger of Sentimental or Romantic Connexions” The Dictionary of
Sensibility. Brady, Corey, Virginia Cope, Mike Millner, Anna Mitric, Kent Puckett, and Danny Siegel, eds. <http://www.engl.virginia.edu/enec981/dictionary/18moreC1.html>
(22 December 2005).
This primary source provides the reader not only with the text of More’s writing, but also with commentary from the author of the website. In this essay, More is concerned with warning women not to enter “sentimental connexions.” This means that she doesn’t want women to enter into superficial relationships. She says this by using the euphemism of “sentimental connexions.” She also describes how she rejects men and their attempt to seduce sentimental women. If women were won over by this seduction, in her opinion, it would lead to an unhappy marriage. This source really shows how More feels about sentiment, as she distinguishes it from principle. It is an excellent primary source to use in studying More.
More, Hannah. “Sensibility: An Epistle to the Honourable Mrs.Boscawen.”
English Department, University of Pennsylvania <http://www.english.upenn.edu/~mgamer/Etexts/more.html>
(22 December 2005).
This source is a primary document. It contains the full text of the poem. It is a poem of analysis and a critique of those whose “sensibility” is put on for effect. The distinction between sincere and insincere is a main theme of this poem. This also relates to her work about sentimental women. She also talks about the “sentimental self awareness.” This work could be used in analyzing More’s ideas about sincerity and morality; however, it is at a very high reading level and some of the wording is a difficult to comprehend.
More, Hannah. The Works of Hannah More Part One. New York: Harper & Brothers,
This source is the first of two volumes of the works of Hannah More. She includes such works as Sacred Dramas, Bas Bleu, and Practical Piety. It also includes many hymns, ballads, tales, tragedies, poems, and even epitaphs. It is an abundance of primary sources, all compiled together in one book. It would be an excellent tool to use in research because of its extensive variety of primary documents.
Scheuermann, Mona. In Praise of Poverty: Hannah More Counters Thomas Paine and the Radical
Threat. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2002.
This source seeks to uproot the belief that Hannah More was genuinely sympathetic to the poor. The author argues that Hannah More only wrote for the poor people to keep them from rising up against middle-class and wealthy people. Since she was one of these upper class members, she wrote to them to keep them from turning against the rich. This source also states that her writings were in direct response to Thomas Paine’s “Rights of Man.” More wanted to downplay the radical thinkers of the 1790s who wanted to give the poor inspiration. The book is very well-written, but some believe that there is not enough evidence to support this argument. (See Tim Burke article).
“September 7, 1883: Grand Old Hannah More Died.” Christian History Institute (2004) <http://chi.gospelcom.net/DAILYF/2001/09/daily-09-07-2001.shtml>
This article is an overview of Hannah More’s life through the eyes of the Christian community, as it is presented by Christians, for Christians. It talks about Hannah’s involvement with the Sunday school and education. It is more of interest to those who want to read about More for leisure. It should not be used for scholarly research; rather, to gain an understanding of More’s life as a Christian.
Smith, M. K. (2002) "Hannah More: Sunday schools, education and youth
work," the encyclopedia of informal education (2002, January 30, Last update: 2005)
Good article detailing her work and why it was controversial.
Stott, Anne. “Hannah More: Biography.” Victorian Web, Open University ( UK ) (26 October 2002) <http://www.victorianweb.org/authors/more/bio.html>
This site provides a well-written biography of Hannah More. It focused on her years of writing but there is a section about her childhood and her retirement. It provides links to people and events that occurred during More’s time, including the French Revolution, William Ewart Gladstone and Thomas Babington Macaulay. The external links provide the reader with historical essays and articles. The author presents basically biographical information; therefore, this would be a good source to use for background about Hannah More.
Stott, Anne. Hannah More: the First Victorian. New York: Oxford University Press,
This book presents Hannah More in a more human way. The author tries to get the audience to relate to More. She discusses many aspects of More’s life including her career as a playwright and Evangelical educator. She also talks about her anti-slavery feelings, her role as a bluestocking and political writer. The author makes use of primary sources, including unpublished correspondence. She calls More the “First Victorian.” This means that she relates More to the “Victorians” who created innovation and change. This included ideas about democracy, feminism, unionization of workers, socialism, Marxism, and other modern movements.
Original written by Asheley Grove
Last Revision: 22 December 2005
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