Florence Nightingale on Social Change in India
Collected Works of Florence Nightingale, Volume 10
Social Change in India shows the shift of focus that occurred during Florence Nightingale’s more than forty years of work on public health in India. While the focus in the preceding volume, Health in India, was top-down reform, notably in the Royal Commission on the Sanitary State of the Army in India, this book documents concrete proposals for self-government, especially at the municipal level, and the encouragement of leading Indian nationals themselves. Famine and related epidemics continue to be issues, demonstrating the need for public works like irrigation and for greater self-help measures like “health missioners” and self-government.
The book includes sections on village and town sanitation, the condition and status of women, land tenure, rent reform, and education and political evolution toward self-rule. Nightingale’s publications on these subjects appeared increasingly in Indian journals.
Correspondence shows Nightingale continuing to work behind the scenes, pressing viceroys, governors, and Cabinet ministers to take up the cause of sanitary reform. Her collaboration with Lord Ripon, viceroy 1880-84, was crucial, for he was a great promoter of Indian self-government.
Social Change in India features much new material, including a substantial number of long-missing letters to Lady Dufferin, wife of the viceroy 1884-88, on the provision of medical care for women in India, health education, and the promotion of women doctors. Biographical sketches of major collaborators, a glossary of Indian terms, and a list of Indian place names are also provided.
Currently, Volumes 1 to 11 are available in e-book version by subscription or from university and college libraries through the following vendors: Canadian Electronic Library, Ebrary, MyiLibrary, and Netlibrary.
``The Collected Works of Florence Nightingale is an extremely ambitious project that is a great service to scholarship. Every general academic library should own the complete set. It pulls together material that has been hitherto diffused across more than 150 collections, some of them private ones, in places ranging from Germany to India and Japan, as well as numerous English-speaking countries. ''- Timothy Larsen, Books and Culture, November/December 2008
``The Nightingale project ranks with both the Gladstone diaries and the Disraeli letters as a major undertaking in the field of Victorian-era scholarship, and therefore is of surpassing value to historians of the period, as well as to general readers. ''- C. Brad Faught, Anglican and Episcopal History, Vol. 81 (1), March 2012
``The Collected Works will allow us to see for the first time the full complexity of this extraordinary and multifacted woman. It will be a tool of enormous value not only to Nightgale scholars and biographers, but also to historians of a wide variety of aspects of Victorian society: war, the army, public health nursing, religion, India, women's issues and so on. ''- Mark Bostridge, Times Literary Supplement, January 10, 2003
``Her influence was astounding, as was her grasp of social science methods. She put both to the best of uses, advocating improvements in issues of public health, and she also hoped for independence of her beloved India. ''- Research Book News, May 2008
``The details and explications of her views. ..are presented in carefully annotated and insightful editorial discussions. ...[These volumes] provide a more complete understanding of this complex woman, extending our appreciation of her much beyond the `The Lady with the Lamp' legend. ... The product of rigorous scholarship, of meticulous historical research--and a labour of love. ''- Canadian Bulletin of Medical History, Volume 21/1, 2004
``[I]t is clear that this is an academic project of the highest importance and integrity. It will have an impact on the work of scholars far beyond the immediate field of health history. Nightingale's interests were wide-ranging and her correspondence included some of the leading thinkers of her day. ...The editing of these volumes is exemplary. Every reference has been followed up, including the identification of minor dramatis personae. Important personalities are accorded short biographies. On every page there are biblical allusions, which are faithfully identified. Each thematic section has an introductory essay and these are amplified by a full outline of Nightingale's life and thought in volume 1. This project makes a major contribution to scholarship which will be of permanent value. ''- Helen Mathers, University of Sheffield, Ecclesiastical History