Skip to main content
×
×
Home

HARRIET MARTINEAU'S MATERIAL REBIRTH

  • Shalyn Claggett (a1)
Extract

In 1840, the Phrenological Journal published an anonymous personal testimony of phrenological salvation titled “Remarkable Case of Change of Character and Pursuits.” The article appears in the “Cases and Facts” section of the periodical, commonly reserved for correspondents who provided personal accounts of the truth of phrenology. The correspondent in this “Case” makes use of the conventional structure of the conversion narrative: youthful deviance, a moment of illumination, and rebirth into a new life of virtue, peace, and joy. Beginning with a description of his former life, he explains that being “Born in the lap of luxury – bred in the tainted atmosphere of opinion” led to the “best years of [his] existence [being] passed in idle, if not in sinful pursuits.” After becoming a military officer, his dissolute behavior increases until he finally decides to correct his character, and “the great instrument employed was phrenology” (342). After adopting a disciplined regimen of moral and intellectual mental exercises, he triumphantly emerges as a man who better knows himself and his capabilities. With his “new” character comes a new life more suited to his cultivated faculties: realizing that a soldier's advancement depends on the “number of victims” sacrificed for the country's cause, he “selected the more humble profession of the Civil Engineer, for which [he] believed, phrenologically, nature had made a fair provision.” He concludes by noting that his life has since been prosperous, and that he hopes now to “aid the cause of that science” through the phrenological education of his own children and his public confession in the journal (343).

Copyright
References
Hide All
Abrams, M. H. Natural Supernaturalism. New York: W.W. Norton, 1971.
Arnold, Matthew. “The Bishop and the Philosopher.” Macmillan's Magazine 7 (1863): 241.
Atkinson, Henry George, and Martineau, Harriet. Letters on the Laws of Man's Nature and Development. London: John Chapman, 1851.
Augustine. Confessions. Trans. Chadwick, Henry. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1998.
Austin, J. L. How to Do Things with Words. 2nd ed. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1975.
The Bible. New International Version.
Brooks, Peter. Troubling Confessions. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2000.
Bunyan, John. The Pilgrim's Progress. London: Penguin Books, 1987.
Combe, George. The Constitution of Man Considered in Relation to External Objects. 6th ed. Edinburgh: Maclachlan, Stewart, 1847.
Cooter, Roger. The Cultural Meaning of Popular Science: Phrenology and the Organization of Consent in Nineteenth-Century Britain. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1984.
Foucault, Michel. The History of Sexuality. Vol. 1. Trans. Hurley, Robert. New York: Random House, 1978. 3 vols.
Frawley, Maria H. A Wider Range: Travel Writing by Women in Victorian England. Rutherford: Fairleigh Dickinson UP, 1994.
Froude, James Anthony. “Materialism.—Miss Martineau and Mr. Atkinson.” Fraser's 43 (April 1851): 418–34.
Gaskell, Elizabeth. The Life of Charlotte Brontë. London: Penguin Books, 1985.
Hall, Spencer. Introduction. The Phreno-Magnet, and Mirror of Nature 1.1 (1843): 13.
Harcourt, A. V. Letter to Harriet Martineau. 4 Jan. 1856. MS. Harriet Martineau Collection. U of Birmingham Library, Birmingham, England.
Hoecker-Drysdale, Susan. “The Enigma of Harriet Martineau's Letters on Science.” Women's Writing 2.2 (1995): 155–65.
Hunter, Shelagh. Harriet Martineau: The Poetics of Moralism. Aldershot: Scholar, 1995.
Kerr, Philip. A Philosophical Investigation. New York: Penguin Books, 1994.
Lodge, David. Thinks. New York: Penguin Books, 2001.
Logan, Deborah. The Hour and the Woman: Harriet Martineau's ‘Somewhat Remarkable’ Life. DeKalb: Northern Illinois UP, 2002.
Martineau, Harriet. Biographical Sketches by Harriet Martineau. New York: Leypoldt and Holt, 1869.
Martineau, Harriet. Eastern Life, Present and Past. Philadelphia: Lea and Blanchard: 1848.
Martineau, Harriet. Harriet Martineau's Autobiography. Vol. 2. 3rd ed. London: Smith, Elder, 1877. 2 vols.
Martineau, Harriet. Letter to Patrick Brontë. 5 Nov. 1857. Harriet Martineau Collection. MS. U of Birmingham Library, Birmingham, England.
Martineau, Harriet. Letter to George Combe. 14 May 1846. MS. The Combe Papers. National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh.
Martineau, Harriet. Letter to John Elliotson. 19 Dec. 1861. MS. Harriet Martineau Collection. U of Birmingham Library, Birmingham, England.
Martineau, Harriet. Letter to G. J. Holyoake. 15 Feb. 1855. MS. Harriet Martineau Collection. U of Birmingham Library, Birmingham, England.
Martineau, Harriet. Letter to Helen Martineau. 11 July 1851. MS. Harriet Martineau Collection. U of Birmingham Library, Birmingham, England.
Martineau, Harriet. Letter to Helen Martineau. 14 July 1851. MS. Harriet Martineau Collection. U of Birmingham Library, Birmingham, England.
Martineau, Harriet. Letter to Arthur Nicholls. 10 Feb. 1857. MS. Harriet Martineau Collection. U of Birmingham Library, Birmingham, England.
Martineau, Harriet. Letters on Mesmerism. London: Edward Moxon, 1845.
Martineau, Harriet. Selected Letters. Ed. Sanders, Valerie. Oxford: Clarendon, 1990.
Martineau, James. “Mesmeric Atheism.” Prospective Review 7 (May 1851): 224–62.
“Materialism and the Phrenological Association.” Phrenological Journal and Magazine of Moral Science 16.74 (1843): 41–59.
Monod, Jean-Claude. La querelle de la secularization de Hegel à Blumenberg. Paris: Librairie Philosophique J. Vrin, 2002.
“Mr. Atkinson on Mesmero-Phrenology.” Phrenological Journal and Magazine of Moral Science 16.74 (1843): 326–28.
Parssinen, Terry M.Professional Deviants and the History of Medicine: Medical Mesmerists in Victorian Britain.” On the Margins of Science: The Social Construction of Rejected Knowledge. Ed. Roy Wallis. Sociological Review Monograph 27 (1979): 103–20.
Pecora, Vincent P. Secularization and Cultural Criticism: Religion, Nation, and Modernity. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2006.
Peterson, Linda H. Traditions of Victorian Women's Autobiography: The Poetics and Politics of Life Writing. Charlottesville: UP of Virginia, 1999.
Pichanick, Valerie Kossew. Harriet Martineau: The Woman and Her Work. Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P, 1980.
Postlethwaite, Diana. Making It Whole: A Victorian Circle and the Shape of Their World. Columbus: Ohio State UP, 1984.
Powers, Richard. Plowing the Dark. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2000.
“Remarkable Case of Change of Character and Pursuits, with Corresponding Change in the Form of the Head.” Phrenological Journal 13.65 (1840): 341–44.
“Report of the Proceedings of the Phrenological Association.” Phrenological Journal 15.73 (1842): 291–318.
Ryall, Anka. “Medical Body and Lived Experience: The Case of Harriet Martineau.” Mosaic 33.4 (2000): 3553.
Rylance, Rick. Victorian Psychology and British Culture, 1850–1880. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2000.
Shuttleworth, Sally, and Taylor, Jenny Bourne, eds. Embodied Selves: An Anthology of Psychological Texts, 1830–1890. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1998.
Taylor, Charles. A Secular Age. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 2007.
Webb, R. K. Harriet Martineau: A Radical Victorian. New York: Columbia UP, 1960.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Victorian Literature and Culture
  • ISSN: 1060-1503
  • EISSN: 1470-1553
  • URL: /core/journals/victorian-literature-and-culture
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed