Essays on the Pursuits of Women; also, a Paper on Female Education. By Frances Power Cobbe. (Emily Faithfull. Pp. 239.) — For power of thought, for philosophic and general culture, for sagacity and humour, as well as for courage and decided purpose, Miss Frances Power Cobbe, whose "Essay on Intuitive Morals" has been for some time before the public, and who is now editing the works of Theodore Parker, is beginning to be recognised as one of the first of our female British prose-writers. She is wellknown within a tolerably wide circle already, and Bhe is sure to be known still more widely. The present volume is a republication, under a general title, of papers that have appeared singly in periodicals. The titles of the papers separately are — "Social Science Congresses and Women's Part in them;" "Celibacy v. Marriage;" "What shall wo do with our Old Maids?" "Female Charity: Lay and Domestic;" "Women in Italy in 1862;" "Workhouse Sketches;" and "The Education of Women." There is, as may be inferred from these titles, and from the fact that the volume appears from the press of Miss Emily Faithfull, a general connexion of sentiment and purpose between these essays and that form of the so-called cause of Female Emancipation which urges the extension of the employment of women, and especially of unmarried women, in different spheres of social labours, and the abolition of those restrictions, legal or other, which at present prevent this extension. But any one who may take up the volume with the expectation of finding in it the kind of matter that will prolong the common jest of the clubs about the Woman's Rights movement will lose his pains. He will find himself in the presence of a person of wit, sense, literary ability, and rich information—quite capable of turning the tables upon him and his jest, if need were— and yet, in the best sense of the word, thoroughly feminine. "That popular ogress, the strongminded female," as she is called in one of the papers, finds no quarter in Miss Cobbe's pages. She pleads in so peculiar and persuasive a manner for an enlargement of woman's place in society, and illustrates so earnestly the ways in which many women may, without trenching on the supremacy of domestic duties where such exist, find occupation for themselves and do good service, that, even where there may remain difference from her views, she must command liking and respect. There is much of miscellaneous excellence in the volume in the way of description and anecdote, apart from the argument that runs through it.


“Notices.” The Reader. (2 May 1863): 432. London: “Published at 112, Fleet Street,” 1863. Hathi Digital Library Trust web version of a copy in the Princeton University Library. 19 July 2016.

Last modified 19 July 2016