Margaret Harkness

Writing social engagement 1880-1921

Edited by Flore Janssen and Lisa C. Robertson

Margaret Harkness


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-2350-3
  • Pages: 264
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £90.00
  • Published Date: November 2018
  • BIC Category: Literature & literary studies / Literary studies: c 1800 to c 1900, Literature, Literary studies: c 1900 to c 2000, LITERARY CRITICISM / European / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, LITERARY CRITICISM / Modern / 19th Century, LITERARY CRITICISM / Modern / 20th Century, Literature & literary studies / General, Literature & literary studies / Literary studies: fiction, novelists & prose writers
  • Series: Interventions: Rethinking the Nineteenth Century


Margaret Harkness is the first book to bring together research on the life and work of a writer, activist and traveller at the forefront of literary innovation and social change at the turn of the twentieth century. Its multidisciplinary approach combines recently uncovered biographical information with rich contextual information to illuminate the extensive career of a writer committed to exposing the exploitation of individuals and the plight of marginalised communities worldwide. The critical essays range from new considerations of Harkness's well-known novels to examinations of lesser-known periodical fiction and journalism, her relationship with contemporaries such as Olive Schreiner and W. T. Stead, and her life and work abroad in Australia and India. The book gives substance to women's social engagement and political involvement in a period prior to their formal enfranchisement and enriches understanding of the complex and dynamic world of the long nineteenth century.


Chronology of Margaret Harkness's life
Margaret Harkness's connections
Selected works by Margaret Harkness
Note on texts cited

Introduction: Rethinking Margaret Harkness's Significance in Political and Literary History
Lisa C. Robertson and Flore Janssen
Part I: Harkness's Life and Work
1. A Law unto Herself: the Solitary Odyssey of M. E. Harkness
Terry Elkiss
2. Absent Character: from Margaret Harkness to John Law
Tabitha Sparks
Part II: In Harkness's London
3. Walking Harkness's London
Nadia Valman
4. 'The Problem of Leisure/What to do for Pleasure': Women and Leisure Time in A City Girl (1887) and In Darkest London (1891)
Eliza Cubitt
5. The Vicissitudes of Victory: Margaret Harkness, George Eastmont, Wanderer (1905), and the 1889 Dockworkers' Strike
David Glover
Part III: Harkness and Genre: Rethinking Slum Fiction
6. Soundscapes of the City in Margaret Harkness, A City Girl (1887), Henry James, The Princess Casamassima (1885-86), and Katharine Buildings, Whitechapel
Ruth Livesey
7. Margaret Harkness, Novelist: Social Semantics and Experiments in Fiction
Lynne Hapgood
8. 'Connie': Melodrama and Tory-Socialism
Deborah Mutch
Part IV: Personal Influences: Harkness and her Contemporaries
9. Socialism, Suffering, and Religious Mystery: Margaret Harkness and Olive Schreiner
Angharad Eyre
10. Margaret Harkness, W. T. Stead, and the Transatlantic Social Gospel Network
Helena Goodwyn
Part V: After London: Harkness's Life and Work in the Twentieth Century
11. Through the Mill: Margaret Harkness on Conjectural History and Utilitarian Philosophy
Lisa C. Robertson
12. Lasting Ties: Margaret Harkness, the Salvation Army, and A Curate's Promise (1921)
Flore Janssen



Flore Janssen is a PhD candidate at Birkbeck, University of London

Lisa C. Robertson is a Post-Doctoral Associate at the University of Warwick

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