Women in the victorian times in cassandra by florence nightingale

Early life Embley Park in Hampshire, now a school, was one of the family homes of William Nightingale. Florence Nightingale was born on 12 May into a rich, upper-class, well-connected British family at the Villa Colombaia, [7] in FlorenceTuscanyItaly, and was named after the city of her birth.

Women in the victorian times in cassandra by florence nightingale

Share via Email The manuscript, in its firm, clear hand, twists and weaves a path around a large proportion of passages that are heavily scored through and cancelled. Many other paragraphs are littered with minor excisions and interpolations, altering pronouns and changing the tenses of verbs.

Preserved in the British Library, in a green leather binding, its outwardly sedate appearance seems to belie the fierce expression of its contents. To Nightingale, frustration at her own plight was mirrored in the experience of other women of her class in midth century Britain.

These women, she wrote, could find no outlet in "a cold and oppressive conventional atmosphere" to satisfy their "Passion, intellect" and "moral activity". They are "never supposed to have any occupation of sufficient importance not to be interrupted", and so fritter away their days in looking at prints, doing worsted work, reading out loud, and taking drives in the carriage.

Women in the victorian times in cassandra by florence nightingale

At night they pay the price for their inactivity: Virginia Woolf, reading Cassandra on first publication at the end of the s, thought it more like screaming than writing. JS Mill, sent a privately printed edition of the essay nearly 70 years earlier, had been less interested in its emotional temperature than in its application to his own theories on the condition of women.

He was especially drawn by its depiction of family as an instrument of tyranny. Nightingale had provided valuable first-hand testimony to back up his own indict ment of the family in the book he was then working on, The Subjection of Women.

Yet its complex evolution is relatively unknown. The different manuscripts in the British Library reveal how Cassandra survives in various guises: The alterations that Nightingale made to the text reflect the changes to her own life and circumstances, as well as to her personal image of herself.

The mysteriously exotic setting of the novel version, with its accent on phantoms and enchantment, are a by-product of the world of dreaming - once described by Nightingale as "like gin-drinking" - which provided the younger Florence with an important escape from the humdrum concerns of family routine.

We can be fairly certain therefore that Florence Nightingale would not have welcomed any publication of the different versions of Cassandra. Indeed, when Benjamin Jowett, Master of Balliol College, Oxford - and a man who may have been briefly a suitor - guessed at the close autobiographical inspiration that lay behind the piece, and suggested that she herself was Cassandra, the cursed prophetess of Greek myth, Nightingale baulked at the identification.

I have gone about crying all these many years, Wo to the people! And no one has listened or believed. And now I cry, Wo to myself! For upon me the destruction has come.

Her final words welcome the freedom that only death can provide. She still wanted to publish it, as part of her monumental philosophical work Suggestions for Thoughtthough as an anonymously narrated commentary on the lives of women everywhere, rather than as an account of the personal suffering from which she had managed to liberate herself.

To this end she eliminated the imaginative elements, all the compensatory fantasy, and refashioned Cassandra as something that might prove more palatable to a general audience, of male as well as female readers. But, unexpectedly, the removal of the fictional devices served only to emphasise the autobiographical origins of the piece.

Without the distancing mechanism of fiction, the author was left exposed.

Katie Koth’s Key Passage Analysis on Florence Nightingale’s “Cassandra” |

Immersed in countless other projects, Nightingale put the essay to one side. What impact would Cassandra have made had it been published at this point?During the Victorian period men and women’s roles became more sharply defined than at any time in history.

In earlier centuries it had been usual for women to work alongside husbands and brothers in the family business. Florence Nightingale, as were some follow-up articles published in The Guardian and the Sunday Times. Nightingale scholar Lynn McDonald has dismissed these criticisms achievements are all the more impressive when they are considered against the background of social restraints on women in Victorian England.

Her father, William . Florence Nightingale was so much more than a lady with a lamp. The legend of the saintly nurse has long obscured the truth – that her mathematical genius was what really saved so many lives.


In Florence Nightingale's correspondence a series of letters to and from J.S. Mill treat a different subject than her usual correspondence with government officials, health and sanitation reformers, and hospital administrators in many parts of the world. Florence Nightingale was born on 12 May at the Villa La Columbaia in Florence; she was named after the city of her birth.

Her father, William Edward Nightingale (), was son of William Shore, a Sheffield banker. For Florence Nightingale's Cassandra, written in the period immediately preceding her departure for the Crimean War, in , is a ferocious attack on that most sacred of Victorian institutions: the family.

Florence Nightingale: Famous Nurse's Biography and Great Work