Faith, Duty, and the Power of Mind: The Cloughs and their Circle, 1820-1960

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Attractively illustrated and engagingly written, this book tells the story of an English middle-class family and their fortunes. At its centre are two women: Anne Jemima Clough and her niece, Blanche Athena Clough. Their experiences show the particular vulnerability of middle-class women to economic reverse; and as first and fourth principals of Newnham College, Cambridge, their lives and work enact the revolution in women's education which allowed women too, at last to enter professional occupations and construct their own economic lifelines. Anne Jemima's brother and Blanche Athena's father was the poet, Arthur Hugh Clough, who lost his Christian faith painfully and publicly at the end of the 1840s. Yet loss of faith did not free these generations from a sense of duty. Rather it strengthened that sense, which fed in turn into the ethic and rhetoric of service which marked English professional life.