We are proud to publish  in segments and for the first time, an extensive biography of Harriet Martineau by Elisabeth Sanders Arbuckle (1928-2019), founding member of the Martineau Society, renowned Martineau scholar and previous President of the Society entitled A Nineteenth-Century Woman’s Engaging with her Times: Harriet Martineau (1802-1876).

As an introduction we provide a brief overview of Professor Arbuckle’s life and achievements below. Click here for a PDF version

Elisabeth Sanders Arbuckle (1928-2019)

Elisabeth Arbuckle was President of the Martineau Society and a much-loved scholar and colleague. Born in Pasadena, California, on 8 August 1928, Elisabeth Marie Sanders (known to her friends as Betsy) studied at the University of Edinburgh for her PhD, and taught literature at the University of Puerto Rico. She was a regular visitor to London most summers, spending much of her time in the British Library, and presenting papers at the Martineau Society’s annual conferences She is best known for her meticulous edition of Harriet Martineau’s letters to Fanny Wedgwood, published by Stanford University Press in 1983, and for Harriet Martineau in the London Daily News: Selected Contributions 1852-1866 (Garland Publishing, 1994). Both of these works have been invaluable to Martineau scholars, and were due to be supplemented by a substantial biography which Elisabeth had been working on for many years, when we were saddened to hear of her death on 3 April 2019. Her son Michael Arbuckle has made available the whole typescript to the Martineau Society, which we will be publishing in instalments on this site. We welcome discussion of this monumental work, which will be a valuable addition to the body of existing scholarship on Harriet Martineau.


The Book

We now proceed with the first five chapters of the book, preceded by a contents list and prologue.

Click here for title, contents list and copyright details

Click here for the Prologue, Huguenot Background: Gaston Martineau I; the Martineau Family in Norwich (1685-1802)

Click here for Chapter 1, Harriet Martineau Grows Up in Norwich (1802-1819)

Click here for Chapter 2, Young Adulthood (1819-1824)

Click here for Chapter 3, Hard Times: Financial Losses and Death of Thomas Martineau (1824-1826)

Click here for Chapter 4, New Challenges: Harriet’s Marriage Proposal and Elizabeth’s Quarrels with Helen, Tom’s Widow (1826-1827)

Click here for Chapter 5, The Monthly Repository: Martineau Gains Confidence and Extends the Range of Her Writings (1827-1832)

Click here for Chapter 6, Success in London: Martineau Creates a “Political Economy” Series and Becomes a Celebrity (1832-1833)

Click here for Chap 7, The Series Continues: The Poor Law Tales (1833-1834)

Click here for Chap 8, Last of the Series a Let-down, but Martineau’s Reputation Intact (1834)

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