Original Research

The shape of a woman's life: Lady Anne Barnard's Memoir

M. Lenta
Literator | Vol 14, No 2 | a703 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v14i2.703 | © 1993 M. Lenta | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 03 May 1993 | Published: 03 May 1993

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M. Lenta, University of Natal, Durban, South Africa

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In her old age, Lady Anne Barnard revised the diaries and letters which remained from her life in Scotland, London, and at the Cape. She shaped part of these records into a six-volume Memoir and since a man's memoir would concentrate attention on his public life and achievements, she cast it into a shape which recalls that of the female’ novel of the eighteenth century. She therefore presents her rejection of the lifestyle of her family, that of impoverished Scottish aristocrats, and her move to London, as a quest for a suitable marriage. This view of her life was not, however, entirely congenial to her: she had a strong sense of her achievements as an autonomous individual, rather than as the lesser partner in a marriage, and although the Memoir ends with her marriage, there is much evidence in it of her pride in having originated and achieved for herself a new lifestyle.


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