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Harriet Martineau

(1802—1876) writer and journalist


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(1802–76),

was a devout Unitarian in youth. Her first published work was Devotional Exercises (1823). Between 1832 and 1834 she published a series of stories, Illustrations of Political Economy, revealing both her passion for social reform and the influence of Bentham and J. S. Mill. In 1834 she travelled in America, and supported the abolitionists at some personal risk. Society in America appeared in 1837, and her first novel, Deerbrook, in 1839. The Hour and the Man (1840) was a biography of Toussaint L'Ouverture; The Playfellow (1841), a volume of children's stories. In 1845 she settled in the Lake District and became a friend of the Wordsworths. She had by now repudiated all religious belief. Her radical History of the Thirty Years' Peace was published in 1849, and her anti‐theological Laws of Man's Social Nature in 1851. Her translation and condensation of Comte, The Philosophy of Comte, appeared in 1853. An Autobiographical Memoir published posthumously contained many observations on public and literary figures of her day.

Subjects: Literature


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Works by Harriet Martineau