Lady Granville as a Letter-Writer

Prudence Hannay introduces Lady Granville, the younger daughter of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire. She bridges the gulf between two very different social periods. Brought up among the most dashing personalities of ‘the Devonshire House set’, she died in the great age of mid-Victorian respectability.

In an essay on ‘Some Women Letter-Writers’1 Lord David Cecil names those whom he considers in the first flight—and among the six names is that of Harriet, Lady Granville. ‘Each’, he writes, ‘is marked by unusual qualities of charm, humour, sensibility, observation ... and if one desires amusement, sharpened with a little malice, then would be the time to beckon Lady Granville from the shelves, plain, clever and caustic; she was a contemporary of Jane Austen and her pages sparkle with a crisp and kindred irony: she cannot repress it...’.

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