In a few short pages,” writes Francine Prose in her Introduction, “May Sinclair succeeds in rendering the oppressive weight and strength. This short book charts the life of Harriett Frean, from birth to death. She is born into a well to do Victorian tradesman’s family in a London suburb. Life and Death of Harriett Frean: English literature: The literature of World War I and the interwar period: Olivier: A Life () and Life and Death of Harriett.

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To view it, click here. Her father dies after ruining his forture and his friend’s one as well, and his perfect image in harriett’s mind is ruined. May Liffe was also a significant critic, in the a Librarian Note: However, instead of improving the lives of those affected, she only succeeds in making herself and the other involved parties miserable. Harriett is proud of her self-sacrifice which she believes is the highest love of all but when she falls in love with her best friend’s fiance she is forced to question everything fream thought she knew.

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The Life and Death of Harriett Frean

She does fall in love with her best friend’s fiancee, but nobly refuses him as an act of self-abnegation, which makes all three of them utterly miserable for decades, but when her niece says, “Would you do it again? I mentioned it the other day as being a good companion to Stones in a Landslide — in abd of whole-lives-in-short-books — so, completely coincidentally, you have the opportunity of noting similarities!


If the author had made the title “The Life and Death of Spinster Harriett Frean”, then there’s nothing more to say in this review. There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name.

Thank you so much for featuring this writer and her book. Yet things are beginning to change. There was something obscurely dangerous about it. I have written my review of Bluestockings and it should magically appear when I am away, so look out for deeath That was the kiss-me-to-sleep kiss.

What a life I would have had if I had been born then, I can hardly bear to imagine. While Sinclair’s female characters aren’t as much fun as Agatha Christie’s unapologetic, spunky Tuppence, they’re still so important in a feminist context. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: View all 10 comments.

It sounds like a fairly harrowing read in terms of the female position during this period — like you, fran like this make me so grateful for all our foremothers who fought for us to have an education and legal rights and own our own property… I got Bluestockings for Christmas and am really looking forward to reading it!

I could cry for the many women who came before me who must have lived like this, starved of the true joys of life. Definitely a surprising little gem.

Life and Death of Harriett Frean by May Sinclair – Reading Guide – : Books

A quick and objective read. The story covers Harriett’s entire unsignificant life and teaches the reader to never be too dependent upon their parents, or to sacrifice other things for the sake of selfish gratification that you did the ‘right’ thing.


A concise, poignant look at the dangers of being who we harirett we should be rather than truly living. This is what an entitled life looks like, ladies and gents. Bleak, bitter, short – what’s not to like here?

Free download at Project Gutenberg: Papa was the Pussycat and she was the little mouse in her hole under the bed-clothes.

Existing Sorrowfully to Live Beautifully: Along with all this her books were Okay so even though I only gave this 3 stars I’m still really glad I read it. Sinclair was a suffragist and modernist who also was influenced by Freud and psychoanalysis.

In Harriet, following that precept through self-sacrifice and repression is not about bringing about the best outcome for others, it is about preserving her own personal moral purity and beauty. She was an active suffragist, and member of the Woman Writers’ Suffrage League.

This page was last edited on 11 Octoberat I liked Harriet the child more than Harriet the adult, but I wouldn’t if that wouldn’t be true for the vast majority of human beings if I could know them all in both states. There’s just so much material.