An excerpt from an OUPblog article published 11 June 2017, by Valerie Sanders, editor of Harriet Martineau: Selected Letters.
"The Victorians couldn’t make up their minds about Martineau. Alternately hailed as a celebrity and vilified as an unfeminine woman who had stepped out of her proper sphere, she lived in a state of perpetual argument and debate. Even the last twenty years of her life, spent peacefully in the Lake District, brought their own household dramas, including the tragic death (from typhoid) of her devoted niece and companion (“a glorious niece of mine,—my unsurpassable nurse”), Maria Martineau (1827-64). Fully expecting to die of the heart disease misdiagnosed in 1855, and a frequent victim of sinking fits and other physical ills, Harriet Martineau proved unexpectedly resilient, firing off trenchant ‘leaders’ for the London Daily News (until 1866) and articles on tough political issues for top periodicals such as the Edinburgh, Westminster and Quarterly Reviews ..."
Image Credit: ‘Harriet Martineau, by Richard Evans, exhibited 1834’, from the National Portrait Gallery, Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.