In a few short pages,” writes Francine Prose in her Introduction, “May Sinclair succeeds in rendering the oppressive weight and strength. This short book charts the life of Harriett Frean, from birth to death. She is born into a well to do Victorian tradesman’s family in a London suburb. Life and Death of Harriett Frean: English literature: The literature of World War I and the interwar period: Olivier: A Life () and Life and Death of Harriett.

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Life and Death of Harriett Frean by May Sinclair

Now let’s dive into the actual book. That was the kiss-me-to-sleep kiss.

It still amazes me to think that in the early 20th Century, even though some women came top of their year in the Maths Tripos at Cambridge they were not allowed degrees. I read this novel in one sitting as part of a British literature course I took.

This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. I have written my review of Bluestockings and it should magically appear when I am away, so look out for it! Or so it seems Harriett’s education surrounded her with bars of protection from the outside world ,which soon become bars that were imprisoning her.

Her father dies after ruining his forture and his friend’s one as well, and his perfect image in harriett’s mind is ruined. But her desire to please did not always end in a happy note, as one of the characters bluntly ad out to her. Presently Papa would come in, large and dark in the firelight. I could cry for the many women who came before me who must have lived like this, starved of the true joys of life. I applaud you and others for continuing to read and learn about what women have had to endure for basic dearh, an education, a voice in society and more often than not in their own homes.


This is a remarkable book — frightening, angry, yet inventively, restrainingly, and sensitively written. I am sure it would be a book you would find fascinating Penny! She freaan no examples of any women living lives that we would consider fulfilled nowadays to inspire her, and as such, how could she have dreamed of anything better than what she has? Cynthia’s Biblio -Files January 9, at 5: View all 3 comments.

She perservered — it could not have been easy and, in the big scheme of things, it was really not that long ago. The Life and Death of Harriet Frean is an apropos manifesto for the elevation of women to the rank of humans. May Sinclair was the pseudonym of Mary Amelia St.

May Sinclair Mary Amelia St.

Life and Death of Harriett Frean by May Sinclair | : Books

Nowadays Harriet would have the opportunity to drop out of community college before she moved back to her parents’ couch, but she never would be Interim Department Manager Harriet Frean. She wrote over 23 novels, 39 short stories, a couple poetry frrean, and some crucial literary criticism. Read in a couple of hours, but will glow in my mind deaty years to come. Reflective of the privileged “nothing lives” of women who had no choice or voice in a previous era, it is just as effective today, albeit for different reasons; for at that time, it was a still life of a woman; today, it is the most horror-laden of cautionary tales.


Return to Book Page. This story made me think about her, and if there’s anything good that came out of it, it’s my renewed vow to not forget to keep in touch with her.

Well written review, Rachel. Harriett is the only oof of her highly moral Victorian parents who have inculcated her with the virtue of behaving well.

That is the lige. With no real avenues to aand proper education, travel, or influence outside of their often protective and limited family circle, these women were not given the opportunities to ever think for themselves or develop a sense of true self. Harriett’s mother’s dies as well and Harriett will learn that her mother’s illness could have been diagnosed and cured if harriett hadn’t been in such denial over everything. In its singleminded satire of a long-buried standard, I found it totally depressing, stif As a denunciation of the Victorian-era ideal daughter, dutiful to the point of total self-negation, this probably had considerable bite in its era.

No gnashing of teeth. Books by May Sinclair.

Jan 07, Ruth Mcauley rated it really liked it.