Handfasted

TitleHandfasted
Year for Search1879
AuthorsSpence, Catherine Helen(1825-1910)
Tertiary AuthorsThomson, Helen
Date Published[1879]\1984
PublisherPenguin Books of Australia
Place PublishedRingwood, VIC, Australia
KeywordsAustralian author, Female author, Scottish author
Annotation

Feminist eutopia focusing on trial marriage set in the US. The Commonwealth of Columba existing in an isolated valley has developed “handfasting” or trial marriage. The word handfasted comes from Walter Scott’s novel The Monastery, where it was a promise of fidelity for a year and a day. In Columba it can be extended to two or three years and marriage cannot take place without it. Generally an egalitarian society. See also 1884 and 1888-89 Spence.

Info Notes

Originally submitted to the Sydney Mail in 1879 and rejected. The manuscript, with the pseudonym Hugh Victor, is in the Mitchell Library in Sydney, NSW, Australia with a copy in the National Library of Australia.

Holding Institutions

A, L, M

Author Note

The female author (1825-1910) was born in Scotland and moved to Australia in 1839.

Full Text

[1879] Spence, Catherine Helen (1825-1910). Handfasted. Ed. Helen Thomson. Ringwood, VIC, Australia: Penguin Books of Australia, 1984. Originally submitted to the Sydney Mail in 1879 and rejected, with a brief “Preface” (vii-ix) and an “Afterword” (363-78) by Helen Thomson. The manuscript, with the pseudonym Hugh Victor, is in the Mitchell Library in Sydney, NSW, Australia with a copy in the National Library of Australia. A, L, M

Feminist eutopia focusing on trial marriage set in the US. The Commonwealth of Columba existing in an isolated valley has developed “handfasting” or trial marriage. The word handfasted comes from Walter Scott’s novel The Monastery, where it was a promise of fidelity for a year and a day. In Columba it can be extended to two or three years and marriage cannot take place without it. Generally an egalitarian society. See also 1884 and 1888-89 Spence. The female author was born in Scotland and moved to Australia in 1839.