As I explain on the ‘Women Writers and Italy’ page I met and was charmed some time ago by feisty Mariana Starke (1762-1838), author of the first guide book to Italy – indeed the first guide book as we know it, to anywhere.
I have read, I think, all Mariana’s extant correspondence – the bulk held among the papers of her publisher in the John Murray Archive and in Fitzwilliam Museum, among the papers of her mentor, William Hayley. In addition I have copies of a few letters held in US manuscript collections. I have, in fact, become a Mariana Starke stalker – visiting her various homes – Hylands House in Epsom, the birthplace and home of her youth, and the two places between which she divided her time in the last 40 years or so of her life – a house on Beacon Hill at Exmouth and Cocumella, a former monastery overlooking the Bay of Naples at Sorrento. It is all been most enjoyable – and on ‘Woman and Her Sphere’ I will share something of Mariana’s life – and that of her forebears. For who knows what it is that goes to forming such a singular character?
14 September 2012: Grandfather Spurns Virginia for India
20 September 2012: Father is Worsted by Robert Clive
8 October 2012: An Epsom Education
2 November 2012: The Mystery of the Bodleian Diary
7 January 2013: Mariana Starke: First Productions
8 April 2014: Mariana Starke: ‘The Sword of Peace’, 1788
26 June 2014: Mariana Starke: Toxophilia – And Then To Italy, 1791
12 January 2015: Mariana Starke: Travels in Europe 1791-1794