- 英米文化 (ISSN:09173536)
- vol.50, pp.31-48, 2020-03-31 (Released:2020-06-10)
Eliza Meteyard (1816–79) is a significant but neglected nineteenth-century British woman writer and social reformer. She was supported by well-known contemporary writers, including Charles Darwin, Samuel Smiles (famous for his best selling Self-Help), William Lovett, the Chartist, and William Gladstone who served as the Prime Minister. Meteyard adopted the elegant pseudonym ‘Silverpen’ to advocate social reforms through her writing. The seeming mismatch symbolizes the sharp contrast between her admiration of beauty and the extremely severe subjects she wrote on such as juvenile depravity, crime, prostitution and poverty. By the 1870s, she had established herself not only as the author of The Life of Josiah Wedgwood (1865–66), but also as a writer of social problem narratives, in which beautiful flowers often appear in acute contrast with nauseating scenes of social miseries. This paper focuses on one of such stories, “The Flint and Hart Matronship” (1847), to consider how two weeds mentioned in it, “the dock and nettle,” and a profusion of flowers are presented to advocate workhouse reform. This paper sheds a small light on her stance as a social reformer associated with her views on nature and civilization.