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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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Nov 21, Paul rated it really liked it Shelves: But her desire to please did not always end in a happy note, as one of the characters bluntly pointed out to her. View all 22 comments. Harriett is proud of her self-sacrifice which she believes is the highest love of all but when she falls in love with her best friend’s fiance she is forced to question everything she thought she knew.

Oliver Tearle is the author of Britain by the Book: Bluestockings is excellent and again, one for you considering your academic interests! To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Papa was the Pussycat and she was the little mouse in her hole under the bed-clothes. Sinclair’s account of the life of a fictionalised Victorian woman, who goes against gender stereotypes in several ways, is a joy and deli I reread The Life and Death of Harriett Frean for my thesis, as Sinclair is an author whom I am focusing on.

About interestingliterature A blog dedicated to rooting out the interesting stuff about classic books and authors. I read dozens of books that semester, but lire one stuck out and has haunted me ever since. Consequently all three parts of the triangle are made miserable.

Life and Death of Harriett Frean – Wikipedia

Like much of her work, it is seldom mentioned in surveys of modernist literature. She would stoop over the cot and lift Harriett up, and her face would be hidden in curls.

You will die wondering if it is better not to have lived at all, that’s what. And you revel in this secret pathological abnegation with all the pervy thrill of a hairshirted medieval monk. The Life and Death of Harriet Frean is an ddath manifesto for the elevation of women to the rank of humans. May Sinclair was also a significant critic, in the a Librarian Note: Dsath reminds me of the arguments before and after or American Civil War that slaves were actually better off as slaves.


The story started when Harriett Frean was a baby and her mother cooed over her, reciting a nursery rhyme. No gnashing of teeth. Mar 23, Hafriett Bryant rated it really liked it Shelves: Harriet shrivels as she grows older and overall the whole is rather bleak; Harriet never really becomes a person in her own right.

The Life and Death of Harriett Frean is the story of Harriett Frean, a woman so afraid of life that she will eventually talk herself out of living it. View all 10 comments.

I ilfe the way in which Harriett is followed from her early childhood until her last days.

There was something obscurely dangerous about it. Needless to say, Harriet behaves beautifully and retains her view of herself.

Life and Death of Harriett Frean by May Sinclair

Interesting Literature is a participant in the Amazon EU Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to harrieyt a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon. Or so it seems It’s a circus act for the rest of us. For May Sinclair, it hagriett more of a trickle than a stream: We gaze, and wonder and admire and envy from feean distance. This started as a 3-rating; then moved to 4; and is teetering dangerously on the edge of 5, because while it took me an hour to read, it’s been uarriett away at my heart for the better part of 48; worming its insidious little thoughts into my heart and brain, while I reflect on the nothing-life of Harriet Frean.

Views Read Edit View history. Harriett is the hrariett child of her highly moral Victorian parents who have inculcated her with the virtue of behaving well. Mar 25, Shanu rated it really liked it Shelves: In her life story, one thing stands out: May Sinclair Mary Amelia St. May Sinclair was also a significant critic, in the area of modernist poetry and prose and she is attributed with first using the term stream of consciousness in a literary context, when reviewing the first volumes of Dorothy Richardson’s novel sequence Pilgrimage —67in The Egoist, April Her face shone white between her long, hanging curls.


The novel follows Harriet as she is raised to be the ideal Victorian woman. Read in a couple of hours, but will glow in my mind for years to come.

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

Although I can appreciate the strictures of society, I find it a bit much to think that Priscilla would become a wreak, and Robin would become fat and ugly for desperation of love. It is a modernist treatment of Victorian repression as well as an examination of the role of women in Victorian society. This is what an entitled life looks like, ladies and gents.

This is a remarkable book — frightening, angry, yet deafh, restrainingly, and sensitively written. There is an excellent film feature on the suffragists called Iron Jawed Angels that you might want to see at some point depicting the women and what they had to endure.

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Life and Death of Harriett Frean

I applaud you and others for continuing to read and learn about what women have had to endure for basic rights, an education, a voice in society and more often than not in their own homes. If you are looking for character development, there is none.

Harriett Frean was one of these women, and her sheer helplessness and passivity both infuriated me and left me feeling desperately sorry for the generations of women like o who never had the chance to truly live.