Florence Nightingale's Cassandra
Ellisor, Sarah Paige
MetadataShow full item record
I argue that Cassandra (1860) by Florence Nightingale is a seminal text in the canon of nineteenth-century women writers. I examine the influences upon Nightingale that shaped the creation of this radical essay: the muscular Christianity movement of mid-Victorian England, Romanticism, her religious beliefs, and Charlotte Brontë’s novel Shirley (1849). These forces of influence blend to form a revolutionary essay—both in message and form—that argues for the release of women from the shackles of enforced idleness. Cassandra’s influence upon later female writers, namely Ray Strachey and Virginia Woolf, is evident in the relationships between Cassandra and Strachey’s The Cause and Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own. Noting the interrelationships of influence surrounding this essay, I maintain that Cassandra must be recognized as an integral text in studying the evolution of women’s writing.