Hilary Mantel

In Her Black Books

A Bright Remembrance: The Diaries of Julia Cartwright

By Angela Emanuel (ed)

Weidenfeld & Nicolson 307pp £16.95 order from our bookshop

Imagine a philistine England; imagine a country estate in Northamptonshire, an Eden encumbered by debt; imagine the conversation of women, dominated by ‘the three dreadful D’s of dress, domestics and disease.’ Then imagine a little girl of sixteen or eighteen who desperately wants to be good, and has the duties of her time and class: ‘Visited all the cottages in Church Lane and scolded parents about not sending children to school regularly.’ She is enjoying a genteel education at home with her sisters. Over it, one feels, hovers the unborn soul of Miss Prism: ‘Mr Philips corrected our characters of Beckett and Wolsey … both more remarkable than great.’

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Andrew Irwin examines the language and structure of Reservoir 13, a 'portrait of a whole village' by Jon McGregor ,
    • David Jacques's Garden of Court and Country: English Design 1630-1730, reviewed by Tim Richardson ,
    • Lucy Popescu () appeals on the behalf of Rashad Ramazanov, a writer and blogger imprisoned in Azerbaijan ,
    • ''the icon of restlessness for a world that never seems able to settle.'' How Hamlet went on tour ,
    • . is upon us. Look out for free copies of Literary Review for festival attendees.,
    • 'If there is a god, nature is the breath of it and art ... is its messenger.' Jan Morris contemplates Wordsworth ,
    • Weekend read 2: Take inspiration from Jonathan Meades's 'anti'-recipes and 'serve up a treat' this Sunday ,