Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Could Nightingale get cancelled? The rise, endurance, and possible fall of Florence Nightingale in British historical culture since 1854

Bates, Richard; Greenwood, Anna

Could Nightingale get cancelled? The rise, endurance, and possible fall of Florence Nightingale in British historical culture since 1854 Thumbnail


Authors

ANNA GREENWOOD Anna.Greenwood@nottingham.ac.uk
Professor of Health History



Abstract

Since she exploded into the public sphere in 1854 with her mission to the Crimean War, Florence Nightingale (1820-1910) has been a revered historical heroine, with a presence in British commemorative culture that exceeds that of any other non-royal woman. This article, for the first time, delineates and analyses the contours and contents of the commemorative culture around Nightingale, examining how these have changed since the 1850s. It is, we argue, the way the Nightingale story spoke to various (changing) contemporaneous contexts in the spheres of femininity, humanitarianism, Christianity, and nursing which account for the way she was rarefied, and endured, as a female national icon. We then move on to describe the ways, since 1918, Nightingale’s reputation has increasingly been subject to criticism. This iconoclasm reached its apotheosis from the 1980s onwards, when Mary Seacole emerged as a rival for the public commemoration of nurses. We raise the possibility that –particularly in the context of Black Lives Matter and increased questioning of the celebration of individuals who operated from places of privilege and power—our current cultural moment may mark, if not the end of public enthusiasm for Nightingale, a fragmentation of her memory along political lines.

Citation

Bates, R., & Greenwood, A. (2022). Could Nightingale get cancelled? The rise, endurance, and possible fall of Florence Nightingale in British historical culture since 1854. Women's History Review, 31(7), 1080-1106. https://doi.org/10.1080/09612025.2022.2045110

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 16, 2022
Online Publication Date Feb 28, 2022
Publication Date Feb 28, 2022
Deposit Date Feb 28, 2022
Publicly Available Date Aug 29, 2023
Journal Women's History Review
Print ISSN 0961-2025
Electronic ISSN 1747-583X
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 31
Issue 7
Pages 1080-1106
DOI https://doi.org/10.1080/09612025.2022.2045110
Keywords History; Gender Studies
Public URL https://nottingham-repository.worktribe.com/output/7529271
Publisher URL https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09612025.2022.2045110
Additional Information Peer Review Statement: The publishing and review policy for this title is described in its Aims & Scope.; Aim & Scope: http://www.tandfonline.com/action/journalInformation?show=aimsScope&journalCode=rwhr20; Published: 2022-02-28

Files





You might also like



Downloadable Citations