We have five hardback copies of Sarah Gristwood's Blood Sisters to give away to those who best answer this question:
"Who is the woman that you think History has most neglected, and why?"
Answers in the Comments section below.
Open to UK residents only.
Closing date 7th December
I'm in the US, so I can't participate, but I'd have to say Hwang Jini, the Korean poet.
She was smart, literate, and lived life very freely for a woman of her culture and time (16th century) and yet is barely known outside of Korea.
Well, until relatively recently, Cecily Neville, child of a northern noble dynasty, wife of a key royal pretender, mother of two kings, the subject of several slurs to her character and a woman with strong views who lived to a ripe old age.
I was always fascinated by Lady Jane Grey the nine days queen, how much she knew and how she was used!
I know our view is coloured by our own time and there isn't much information left from then as from the post Tudor times, the victors wrote the history.
But I do wonder about her as she was so young (compared to us) and did she know what was being done and organised round her?
Marianne North gets my vote. A Victorian artist, she lived with and looked after her father until he died in 1871, when she was 40. Then she took off around the world, often unaccompanied, to the unexplored regions of all continents. She painted the flowers she saw, from Brazil to Sarawak, India to Japan. She produced thousands of pictures, and built a gallery at Kew to house them. They're gloriously coloured, and if you look closely, you can see that they're painted on the backs of envelopes, packing paper, whatever she had.
She dined with Presidents and Maharajas, Charles Darwin and Edward Lear.
What a pioneer! What adventures! What stunning artistry!
More info here: http://www.kew.org/collections/art-images/marianne-north/index.htm
For me, Mary Seacole is the neglected woman. She was courageous, determined and generous, and the work she did with
wounded soldiers was astonishing for a nineteenth century woman. And yet . . . she had to fund her own journeys to the battlefields, and her work left her nearly destitute. As a young teacher in a girls' school I had a form named after her, and to my shame I had to quickly look her up before I met my pupils: I'd never heard of her before then. Maybe this comment will serve as some form of apology to her.
Why is she neglected? Well, she had a double strike against her in HIStory: she was a woman, and she was also mixed race. In fact, it's amazing that her name has survived at all.
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