Florence Nightingale’s Suggestions for Thought has intrigued readers from feminist-philosopher J.S. Mill (who used it in his The Subjection of Women ) to the latest generation of women’s activists. Although selections from this long work have been published, Lynn McDonald is the first editor to work through the numerous surviving drafts of Nightingale’s writing and present it as a complete volume. Suggestions for Thought contains two early attempted novels, draft sermons, and a lengthy fictional dialogue featuring St. Ignatius, founder of the Jesuits, the American evangelical Jacob Abbott, and British agnostic Harriet Martineau (with cameo appearances by Protestant reformer John Calvin and the poet Shelley) all against an unnamed “M.S.”
The most famous section of Suggestions for Thought is the essay Cassandra, famous as a rant against the family for stifling womens aspirations. Here the printed text is shown with the original novel draft alongside. McDonald’s introductions to each section provide historical context and Nightingales later views of the work.
Currently, Volumes 1 to 11 are available in e-book version by subscription or from university and college libraries through the following vendors: Canadian Electronic Library, Ebrary, MyiLibrary, and Netlibrary.
About the Author
Lynn McDonald, director of the Collected Works of Florence Nightingale , is university professor emerita at the University of Guelph. She is an environmentalist, a former member of parliament, a former president of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women, and a long-time activist on womens issues. She has an honorary doctorate from York University.