Florence Nightingale’s Suggestions for Thought

Collected Works of Florence Nightingale

Book 11
Wilfrid Laurier Univ. Press
1
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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.

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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.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Wilfrid Laurier Univ. Press
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Published on
Dec 11, 2008
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Pages
816
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ISBN
9781554582525
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Cultural, Ethnic & Regional / General
Biography & Autobiography / Women
History / Social History
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Although Florence Nightingale is famous as a nurse, her lifetime’s writing on nursing is scarcely known in the profession. Nursing professors tend to “look to the future, not to the past,” and often ignore her or rely on faulty secondary sources.

Nightingale’s work on nursing is now available to scholars and general readers alike through the publication of volumes 12 and 13 in the Collected Works of Florence Nightingale. Volume 12, The Nightingale School, relates the founding of her school at St Thomas’ Hospital and her guidance of its teaching for the rest of her life. Volume 13, Extending Nursing, relates the introduction of professional training and standards outside St Thomas’, beginning with London hospitals and others in Britain, followed by hospitals in Europe, America, Australia and Canada.

As medical knowledge progressed, nursing practice changed and Nightingale with it. Her evolving views on nursing, and on germ theory (typically misrepresented in the literature), are revealed.

In this volume, editor Lynn McDonald brings to light much unknown material on the early years of the school. The crisis of its near breakdown in the early 1870s is covered, followed by the measures Nightingale brought in to improve instruction, including her mentoring relationships with emerging nursing leaders. Nursing historians may be surprised to learn that Nightingale was keeping up on best operating theatre practices in 1898. Struggles with cost-conscious hospital administrators are part of the story, as is the challenge to keep nurses safe at a time when hospitals were dangerous places.

Although Florence Nightingale is famous as a nurse, her lifetime’s writing on nursing is scarcely known in the profession. Nursing professors tend to “look to the future, not to the past,” and often ignore her or rely on faulty secondary sources.

Nightingale’s work on nursing is now available to scholars and general readers alike through the publication of volumes 12 and 13 in the Collected Works of Florence Nightingale. Volume 12, The Nightingale School, relates the founding of her school at St Thomas’ Hospital and her guidance of its teaching for the rest of her life. Volume 13, Extending Nursing, relates the introduction of professional training and standards outside St Thomas’, beginning with London hospitals and others in Britain, followed by hospitals in Europe, America, Australia and Canada.

As medical knowledge progressed, nursing practice changed and Nightingale with it. Her evolving views on nursing, and on germ theory (typically misrepresented in the literature), are revealed.

In this volume, editor Lynn McDonald brings to light much unknown material on the early years of the school. The crisis of its near breakdown in the early 1870s is covered, followed by the measures Nightingale brought in to improve instruction, including her mentoring relationships with emerging nursing leaders. Nursing historians may be surprised to learn that Nightingale was keeping up on best operating theatre practices in 1898. Struggles with cost-conscious hospital administrators are part of the story, as is the challenge to keep nurses safe at a time when hospitals were dangerous places.

Praise for Small's earlier work on Nightingale: 'Hugh Small, in a masterly piece of historical detective work, convincingly demonstrates what all previous historians and biographers have missed . . . This is a compelling psychological portrait of a very eminent (and complex) Victorian.'
James Le Fanu, Daily Telegraph

Florence Nightingale (1820-1910) is best known as a reformer of hospital nursing during and after the Crimean War, but many feel that her nursing reputation has been overstated.

A Brief History of Florence Nightingale tells the story of the sanitary disaster in her wartime hospital and why the government covered it up against her wishes. After the war she worked to put the lessons of the tragedy to good use to reduce the very high mortality from epidemic disease in the civilian population at home. She did this by persuading Parliament in 1872 to pass laws which required landlords to improve sanitation in working-class homes, and to give local authorities rather than central government the power to enforce the laws. Life expectancy increased dramatically as a result, and it was this peacetime civilian public health reform rather than her wartime hospital nursing record that established Nightingale's reputation in her lifetime.

After her death the wartime image became popular again as a means of recruiting hospital nurses and her other achievements were almost forgotten. Today, with nursing's new emphasis on 'primary' care and prevention outside hospitals, Nightingale's focus on public health achievements makes her an increasingly relevant figure.

Although Florence Nightingale is famous as a nurse, her lifetime’s writing on nursing is scarcely known in the profession. Nursing professors tend to “look to the future, not to the past,” and often ignore her or rely on faulty secondary sources.

Nightingale’s work on nursing is now available to scholars and general readers alike through the publication of volumes 12 and 13 in the Collected Works of Florence Nightingale. Volume 12, The Nightingale School, relates the founding of her school at St Thomas’ Hospital and her guidance of its teaching for the rest of her life. Volume 13, Extending Nursing, relates the introduction of professional training and standards outside St Thomas’, beginning with London hospitals and others in Britain, followed by hospitals in Europe, America, Australia and Canada.

As medical knowledge progressed, nursing practice changed and Nightingale with it. Her evolving views on nursing, and on germ theory (typically misrepresented in the literature), are revealed.

In this volume, editor Lynn McDonald brings to light much unknown material on the early years of the school. The crisis of its near breakdown in the early 1870s is covered, followed by the measures Nightingale brought in to improve instruction, including her mentoring relationships with emerging nursing leaders. Nursing historians may be surprised to learn that Nightingale was keeping up on best operating theatre practices in 1898. Struggles with cost-conscious hospital administrators are part of the story, as is the challenge to keep nurses safe at a time when hospitals were dangerous places.

Florence Nightingale: An Introduction to Her Life and Family introduces the Collected Works by giving an overview of Nightingale’s life and the faith that guided it and by outlining the main social reform concerns on which she worked from her “call to service’’ at age sixteen to old age. This volume reports correspondence (selected from the thousands of surviving letters) with her mother, father and sister and a wide extended family. There is material on Nightingale’s “domestic arrangements,’’ from recipes, cat care and relations with servants to her contributions to charities, church and social reform causes. Much new and original material comes to light, and a remarkably different portrait of Nightingale, one with a more nuanced view of her family relationships, emerges.

The Series

In the Collected Works of Florence Nightingale all the surviving writing of Florence Nightingale will be published, much of it for the first time. Known as the heroine of the Crimean War and the major founder of the modern profession of nursing, Florence Nightingale (1820-1910) will be revealed also as a scholar, theorist and social reformer of enormous scope and importance.

Original material has been obtained from over 150 archives and private collections worldwide. This abundance of material will be reflected in the series, revealing a significant amount of new material on her philosophy, theology and personal spiritual journey, as well as on her vision of a public health care system, her activism to achieve the difficult early steps of nursing for the sick poor in workhouse infirmaries and her views on health promotion and women’s control over midwifery. Nightingale’s more than forty years of work for public health in India, particularly in famine prevention and for broader social reform, will be reported in detail.

The Collected Works of Florence Nightingale demonstrates Nightingale’s astute use of the political process and reports on her extensive correspondence with royalty, viceroys, cabinet ministers and international leaders, including such notables as Queen Victoria and W. E. Gladstone. Much new material on Nightingale’s family is reported, including some that will challenge her standard portrayal in the secondary literature. Sixteen printed volumes are scheduled and will record her enormous and largely unpublished correspondence, previously published books, articles and pamphlets, many of which have long been out of print.

There will be full publication in electronic form, permitting readers to easily pursue their particular interests. Extensive databases, notably a chronology and a names index, will also be published in electronic form, again permitting convenient access to persons interested not only in Nightingale but in other figures of the time.

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