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  • Rereading Florence Henniker:Society, Romance, and Homosocial Desire in Sir George and Foiled
  • Richard Sylvia
Richard Sylvia
Eastern Illinois University


1. Sir George (London: Richard Bentley and Son, 1891), Bid Me Good-bye (London: Richard Bentley and Son, 1892), Foiled (London: Hurst and Blackett, 1893), Outlines (London: Hutchinson, 1894 short stories), In Scarlet and Grey (London: John Lane, 1896 short stories), Sowing the Sand (London: Harper and Brothers, 1898), Contrasts (London: John Lane, 1903 short stories), The Courage of Silence (1905 play), Our Fatal Shadows (London: Hurst and Blackett, 1907), Second Fiddle (London: Eveleigh Nash, 1912).

2. Sally Mitchell, "Careers for Girls: Writing Trash," Victorian Periodicals Review, 15.3 (Fall 1922), 109.

3. Evelyn Hardy and F. B. Pinion, One Rare Fair Woman: Thomas Hardy's Letters to Florence Henniker, 1893-1922 (Coral Gables, FL: University of Miami Press, 1972), xviii.

4. Raymond Blathwayt, "The Hon. Mrs. Arthur Henniker," The Woman at Home, 4 July 1895, 52. Coincidentally, Blathwayt interviewed Thomas Hardy at Max Gate three years earlier in 1892. See F. B. Pinion, Thomas Hardy: His Life and Friends (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1992), 225.

5. Justin McCarthy, Reminiscences (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1899), 60.

6. Henniker's short story "Our Neighbour, Mr. Gibson" is reprinted in Victorian Love Storeis: An Oxford Anthology, Kate Flint, ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997). The "DNB favored women who wrote nonfiction, not novels," according to Gaye Tuchman and Nina E. Fortin, Edging Women Out: Victorian Novelists, Publishers, and Social Change (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989), 18.

7. Victorian Women Writers Project [online] (19 January 2001),

8. The female writer who is committed to exploring important social and ethical issues is a "novelist of purpose," according to Vinetta Colby, The Singular Anomaly: Women Novelists of the Nineteenth Century (New York: New York University Press, 1970), 11; the phrase "woman of genius" is generally attributed to Sarah Grand's The Beth Book, the third novel in her New Woman trilogy. See Penny Broumelha, "The Woman of Genius and the Woman of Grub Street: Figures of the Female Writer in British Fin-de-SiècleFiction," ELT, 40.2 (1997), 164-80. [End Page 68]

9. A fourth man, though not a public figure, played a significant role in Henniker's life. In 1881, at twenty-six, Henniker married the third son of Lord Henniker, Arthur Henry Henniker, later Major in the Coldstream Guards. Because of her husband's military career, the couple suffered long separations on a regular basis. Military men and themes are prominent in Henniker's work throughout her career. See James Pope-Hennessy, Monckton Milnes: The Years of Promise, 1809-1851 (New York Farrar, Straus & Cudahy, 1955), 252. Henniker also attended to her widowed brother, Lord Crewe, at all public functions while he was Lord Lieutenant of Ireland; it was in Dublin in 1893, as Florence Henniker, age thirty-eight, fulfilled her domestic duty to family and state, that she met Hardy. See Blathwayt, "The Hon. Mrs. Arthur Henniker," 58. Henniker rejected Hardy's romantic advances, which began in 1893; Hardy, aged fifty-three, was still married to Emma Gifford. "The intensity of his feelings . . . led him to adopt any stratagems—from architectural lessons to literary discussions—which might help to establish an intimate relationship," according to Pamela Dalziel, Thomas Hardy: The Excluded and Collaborative Stories (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992), 260. The Henniker/Hardy collaboration was not successful; Henniker's "six accompanying stories in In Scarlet and Grey were thought decidedly superior" to the story they collaborated on, "The Spectre of the Real." See Pinion, Thomas Hardy, 238. For the latest and most interesting treatment of the Henniker/Hardy venture see Roger Ebbatson, "The Authorial Double: Hardy and Florence Henniker," English, 48 (1999), 75-90.

10. James Pope-Hennessy, Lord Crewe: The Likeness of a Liberal (London: Constable, 1955), xiii.

11. Coulson Kernahan, "A Woman Who Expected The Impossible" [review of Second Fiddle by Florence Henniker], Bookman, 42 (March 1912), 299.

12. Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Between Men: English Literature and Male Homosocial Desire (New York: Columbia University Press, 1985), 2.

13. Ibid , 1.

14. Ibid , 3.



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