Hannah More was an English religious writer and philanthropist. She was the second youngest of five sisters, and her father, Jacob More, was a schoolmaster at Stapleton in Gloucestershire. More attended her father's school as a child and began writing plays when she was just 17 years old. Her first sold more than 10,000 copies by 1785. A failed engagement at 22 proved bittersweet--she lost a husband, but gained a £200 annuity for the inconvenience. The financial independence gave her time to write and she eventually became friends with the literary elite of her day, including figures like Elizabeth Montagu, Joshua Reynolds, Edmund Burke, and Samuel Johnson.
More continued to write plays, poetry, essays, and fiction, and published regularly. She gradually became more religious, and more socially minded in her writing, and eventually became associated with evangelicals like William Wilberforce and Zachary Macaulay.
If sheer volume is a measure of greatness, then her most successful works were a run of inexpensive Repository Tracts which she produced with her sisters in the 1790's. The most famous was titled "The Shepherd of Salisbury Plain," and more than two million copies were printed in several languages. She was famous for her commentary on society, piety, and morality, including her stand against slavery. In addition to writing, More was instrumental in setting up several schools and became a model for philanthropists all over England. She died in Clifton in 1833.
We are perpetually mistaking the qualities and dispositions of our own hearts. We elevate our failings into virtues, and qualify our vices into weaknesses: and hence arise so many false judgments respecting meekness.
Patrick Madden's New Book
Quotidiana site founder Patrick Madden has just published a book of his own personal essays, including pieces formerly published in the Best American Spiritual Writing and Best Creative Nonfiction anthologies.
If you enjoy the classical essays on this site, you'll enjoy these contemporary ruminations as well. Soon there'll be a web page here with further information, but for now, you can find out more (and perhaps purchase a copy) at Amazon.com.
"Patrick Madden is an essayist of verve, passion, wit, and dependable moral compass. Quotidiana drew me in powerfully, from page to page and from pleasure to pleasure." —Ian Frazier
Changes are happening beneath the hood of Quotidiana. Sign up for our Facebook group to stay up to date on site and essay news.
Quotidiana is an online anthology of "classical" essays, from antiquity to the early twentieth century. All essays and images are in the public domain. Commentaries are copyrighted, but may be used with proper attribution. Special thanks to the BYU College of Humanities and English Department for funding, and to Joey Franklin and Lara Burton, for tireless research assisting.