Hannah More

Hannah More

Hannah More (February 2, 1745September 7, 1833) was an English religious writer and philanthropist. She can be said to have made three reputations in the course of her long life: as a clever verse-writer and witty talker in the circle of Johnson, Reynolds and Garrick, as a writer on moral and religious subjects on the Puritanic side, and as a practical philanthropist.


Born in 1745 at Fishponds in the parish of Stapleton, near Bristol, she was the fourth of five daughters of Jacob More, who, though from a Presbyterian family in Norfolk, had become a member of the English Church, a strong Tory and a schoolmaster at Stapleton in Gloucestershire. In 1756 Hannah More's eldest sister, Mary, established a boarding school at 6 Trinity Street in Bristol which after a few years moved to Park Street. Hannah More became a pupil when she was twelve years old, and taught there in her early adulthood. Her first literary efforts were pastoral plays, suitable for young ladies to act, the first being written in 1762 under the title of "The Search after Happiness"; by the mid-1780s over 10,000 copies had been sold. [S. J. Skedd, 'More, Hannah (1745–1833)', "Oxford Dictionary of National Biography", (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004)] Metastasio was one of her literary models; on his opera of "Attilio Regulo" she based a drama, "The Inflexible Captive". In 1767 More gave up her share in the school after becoming engaged to William Turner, of Wraxall, Somerset. The wedding never took place, however, and after much reluctance, Hannah More was induced to accept a £200 annuity from Turner. This set her free for literary pursuits, and in the winter of 1773–74 she went to London. Some verses that she had written on David Garrick's version of "Lear" led to an acquaintance with the celebrated actor and playwright; soon More had also met Elizabeth Montagu and Joshua Reynolds. Within a short time More had associated herself with Samuel Johnson, Edmund Burke and London's literary elite. Garrick wrote the prologue and epilogue for her tragedy "Percy", which was acted with great success at Covent Garden in December 1777.

Another drama, "The Fatal Falsehood", produced in 1779 after Garrick's death, was less successful. In 1781 she made the acquaintance of Horace Walpole, and corresponded with him from that time. At Bristol she discovered Ann Yearsley (1753–1806), a milkwoman and poet, and raised a considerable sum of money for her benefit. Lactilia, as Yearsley was called, published "Poems, on Several Occasions" in 1785, earning about £600. More and Montagu held the profits in trust to protect them from Yearsley's husband: Anne Yearsley wished to receive the capital, and made insinuations of stealing against More, forcing her to release the money. These literary and social failures caused More's withdrawal from London's intellectual circles.

Hannah More published "Sacred Dramas" in 1782 and it rapidly ran through nineteen editions. These and the poems "Bas-Bleu" and "Florio" (1786) mark her gradual transition to more serious views of life, which were fully expressed in prose, in her "Thoughts on the Importance of the Manners of the Great to General Society" (1788), and "An Estimate of the Religion of the Fashionable World" (1790). By this point she was intimate with William Wilberforce and Zachary Macaulay, with whose evangelical views she was in sympathy. She published a poem on "Slavery" in 1788, and was for many years a friend of Beilby Porteus, Bishop of London and a leading abolitionist.

In 1785 she bought a house, at Cowslip Green, near Wrington, in northern Somerset, where she settled down to country life with her sister Martha, and wrote many ethical books and tracts: "Strictures on Female Education" (1799), Hints towards forming the "Character of a Young Princess" (1805), "Coelebs in Search of a Wife" (only nominally a story, 1809), "Practical Piety" (1811), "Christian Morals" (1813), "Character of St Paul" (1815), "Moral Sketches" (1819). She was a rapid writer, and her work is consequently discursive, animated and formless. The originality and force of More's writings perhaps explains her extraordinary popularity. She also wrote many spirited rhymes and prose tales, the earliest of which was "Village Politics, by Will Chip" (1792), to counteract the doctrines of Tom Paine and the influence of the French Revolution.

The success of "Village Politics" induced More to begin the series of "Cheap Repository Tracts", which from 1795 to 1797 were produced by Hannah and her sisters at the rate of three a month. Perhaps the most famous of these is "The Shepherd of Salisbury Plain", describing a family of phenomenal frugality and contentment. This was translated into several languages. Two million copies of these rapid and telling sketches were circulated, in one year, teaching the poor in rhetoric of most ingenious homeliness to rely upon the virtues of content, sobriety, humility, industry, reverence for the British Constitution, hatred of the French, trust in God and in the kindness of the gentry. In the late-1780s Hannah and Martha More conducted philanthropic work in the Mendip area, following encouragement by William Wilberforce who saw the poor conditions of the locals when he visited Cheddar in 1789. [cite book |last=Coysh |first=A.W. |authorlink= |coauthors= E.J. Mason & V. Waite |title=The Mendips |year=1977 |publisher=Robert Hale Ltd |location=London |isbn=0709164262 ] She was instrumental in setting up twelve schools by 1800 where reading, the Bible and the catechism — but not writing — were taught to local children. The More sisters met with a good deal of opposition in their works: the farmers thought that education, even to the limited extent of learning to read, would be fatal to agriculture, and the clergy, whose neglect she was making good, accused her of Methodist tendencies. In her old age, philanthropists from all parts made pilgrimages to see the bright and amiable old lady, and she retained all her faculties until within two years of her death. She spent the last five years of her life in Clifton, and died on September 7, 1833. She is buried at All Saints' church, Wrington.




Primary sources

*More, Hannah. "Works of Hannah More". 2 vols. New York: Harper, 1840.


*Collingwood, Jeremy and Margaret. "Hannah More". Oxford: Lion Publishing, 1990.
*Demers, Patricia. "The World of Hannah More". Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1996.
*Ford, Charles Howard. "Hannah More: A Critical Biography". New York: Peter Lang, 1996.
*Harland, Marion. "Hannah More". New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1900.
*Hopkins, Mary Alden. "Hannah More and Her Circle". London: Longmans, 1947.
*Jones, M. G. "Hannah More" Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1952.
*Knight, Helen C. "Hannah More; or, Life in Hall and Cottage". New York: M. W. Dodd, 1851.
*Kowaleski-Wallace, Elizabeth. "Their Fathers’ Daughters: Hannah More, Maria Edgeworth, and Patriarchal Complicity". New York: Oxford University Press, 1991.
*Stott, Anne. "Hannah More: The First Victorian". Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.
*Taylor, Thomas. "Memoir of Mrs. Hannah More". London: Joseph Rickerby, 1838.
*Thompson, Henry. "The Life of Hannah More With Notices of Her Sisters". London: T. Cadell, 1838.
*Yonge, Charlotte. "Hannah More". Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1888.

Other secondary sources

*Elliott, Dorice Williams. "The Care of the Poor Is Her Profession: Hannah More and Women's Philanthropic Work." "Nineteenth-Century Contexts" 19 (1995): 179–204.
*Kelly, Gary. "Revolution, Reaction, and the Expropriation of Popular Culture: Hannah More's "Cheap Repository"." "Man and Nature" 6 (1987): 147–59.
*Myers, Mitzi. "Hannah More's Tracts for the Times: Social Fiction and Female Ideology." "Fetter'd or Free? British Women Novelists, 1670–1815". Eds. Mary Anne Schofield and Cecilia Macheski. Athens: Ohio University Press, 1986.
*Myers, Mitzi. "Reform or Ruin: 'A Revolution in Female Manners.'" "Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture" 11 (1982): 199–216.
*Nardin, Jane. "Hannah More and the Rhetoric of Educational Reform." "Women's History Review" 10 (2001): 211–27.
*Nardin, Jane. "Hannah More and the Problem of Poverty." "Texas Studies in Language and Literature" 43 (2001): 267–84.
*Pickering, Samuel. "Hannah More's "Coelebs in Search of a Wife" and the Respectability of the Novel in the Nineteenth Century." "Neuphilologische Mitteilungen" 78 (1977): 78–85.
*Roberts, William, ed. "Memoirs of Mrs Hannah More". New York: Harper & Bros., 1836.
*Scheuerman, Mona. "In Praise of Poverty: Hannah More Counters Thomas Paine and the Radical Threat". Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2002.
*Sutherland, Kathryn. "Hannah More's Counter-Revolutionary Feminism." "Revolution in Writing: British Literary Responses to the French Revolution". Ed. Kelvin Everest. Milton Keynes: Open University Press, 1991.
*Vallone, Lynne. "'A humble Spirit under Correction': Tracts, Hymns, and the Ideology of Evangelical Fiction for Children, 1780–1820." "The Lion and the Unicorn" 15 (1991) 72–95.

External links

* [http://www.brycchancarey.com/abolition/more.htm Hannah More from Brycchan Carey's listing of British abolitionists]
* [http://www.brycchancarey.com/slavery/morepoems.htm The full text of "Slavery, A Poem" available online]
* [http://www.brycchancarey.com/slavery/yamba.htm The full text of "The Sorrows of Yamba" available online]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Поможем решить контрольную работу

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Hannah More — Grabado de Hannah More por H.W. Pickersgill en la National Portrait Gallery of Illustrious and Eminent Personages of the Nineteenth Century. Hannah More (2 de febrero de 1745 – 7 de septiembre de 1833) fue una escritora y filántropa inglesa… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Hannah More — Pour les articles homonymes, voir More. Hannah More Hannah More (1745 1833) est une femme de lettres britannique. Elle devint célèbre à trois titres : comme poétesse de talent et femme d’esprit …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Hannah Cowley — (14 March 1743 – 11 March 1809) was an English dramatist and poet. Although Cowley’s plays and poetry did not enjoy wide popularity after the nineteenth century, critic Melinda Finberg rates Cowley as “one of the foremost playwrights of the late… …   Wikipedia

  • Hannah (given name) — For other uses, see Hannah (disambiguation). Hannah Gender Female Origin Word/Name Hebrew Meaning Grace , He (God) has favoured me/favours me …   Wikipedia

  • Hannah —  Pour l’article homophone, voir Hanna. Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Hannah est un nom propre qui peut désigner : Sommaire …   Wikipédia en Français

  • More, Hannah — (1745–1833)    Philanthropist and Devotional Writer.    More was born in Stapleton, near Bristol, England. Financially independent, she became part of the London literary world and was a personal friend of Samuel johnson, the artist Joshua… …   Who’s Who in Christianity

  • More, Hannah — (1745 1833)    Born at Stapleton, Gloucestershire, she was educated at home and at her sisters school in Bristol, where she acquired mathematics, Italian, Spanish, and Latin. In 1773, she published The Inflexible Captive a translation from… …   British and Irish poets

  • More — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom.  Pour les articles homophones, voir Maure, Maures, Mors et Mort. Sur les autres projets Wikimedia  …   Wikipédia en Français

  • More (surname) — Persons with the surname More, Moré or Mores include: Anthony More (16th century), Dutch painter Anthony More (musician) (born 1948), British musician Edward Rowe Mores (1731–1778), the first person to use the title actuary in relation to… …   Wikipedia

  • Hannah Swensen Mysteries — are books written by Joanne Fluke. So far in the series there are ten books, but there are still more planned. List of Works # Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder (February 2000) # Strawberry Shortcake Murder (February 2001) # Blueberry Muffin Murder… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”