Unmasking Mrs Markham: the most successful historian of Austen's age

5 October 2017 1.00pm 1.45pm


Lecture Theatre, Weston Library (Map)


Professor Matthew Grenby, Newcastle University


Janet Walwyn | 01865 287156 | Janet Walwyn | janet.walwyn@bodleian.ox.ac.uk


Born around 1779, Elizabeth Cartwright had a famous name. Her father Edmund invented the steam power loom and her uncle John was a prominent political reformer. But it was not as a Cartwright, nor under her married name Penrose, that she achieved fame, but as Mrs Markham author of a series of best-selling history textbooks.

The most successful book was A History of England from the First Invasion by the Romans to the End of the Reign of George III (1823), in print throughout the nineteenth century, and still so well-known in the twentieth that (just as Jane Austen satirised Oliver Goldsmith’s History of England in 1771) in 1926 it was Mrs Markham’s book that Hilaire Belloc chose to parody.

This talk will explore who  Mrs Markham was and assess her writing to explore what made it so popular. It will also draw on her correspondence with John Murray to investigate the extent to which women writers were able to negotiate with their publishers and steer their own literary careers.


This event is free but places are limited so please complete our booking form to reserve tickets in advance.

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This event is listed under: Lectures and talks; Free events
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