Talk:Fanny Kemble

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Biography assessment rating comment[edit]

The article may be improved by following the WikiProject Biography 11 easy steps to producing at least a B article. --KenWalker | Talk 04:46, 6 July 2007 (UTC)

knowles' Julia[edit]

This sentence makes no sense:

She played all the principal women's parts, notably Portia, Beatrice and Lady Teazle, but not Julia in James Sheridan Knowles's The Hunchback, which was especially written for her, and was perhaps her greatest success.

But I'm not sure what an accurate edit would be! She did play Julia, right? --Lquilter 15:39, 3 December 2007 (UTC)

Who is Mariella?[edit]

I don't understand this sentence: "In 1847, Mariella returned to the stage in the United States, as she needed to make a living following her separation." Who is Mariella?--98.114.178.200 (talk) 22:24, 21 July 2012 (UTC)

New files[edit]

Recently the files below were uploaded and they appear to be relevant to this article and not currently used by it. If you're interested and think they would be a useful addition, please feel free to include any of them.

Dcoetzee 04:28, 8 April 2009 (UTC)

Criticism[edit]

I think criticism of her journal's accuracy is given undue weight, with sketchy sourcing. Compare this paragraph from the article:

However, Kemble was not necessarily what she seemed. In 1930 Julia King claimed that Kemble's allegations about her grandfather Roswell King's mistreatment of slaves were false, and that Kemble, enamored of Mr. King, intentionally lied because he declined to return her affections. (Kemble and Clinton 15-16; Julia King to ____, 24 October 1930) Historian Margaret Davis Cate maintained that Kemble had deliberately introduced deceptive content in her journal to enhance its dramatic appeal, thus undermining its credibility as a source of factual information. (Kemble and Clinton 16)

... with this paragraph from the New Georgia Encyclopedia:

White southerners vilified the book; some continued to discredit Kemble's account for more than a hundred years. Margaret Davis Cate, for example, published a scathing critique in the Georgia Historical Quarterly in 1960. Despite this campaign, the journal has become a classic and a reliable source for scholars investigating plantation life.

I'm going to attempt to rewrite the paragraph in question, but I'll wait a bit in case there are other opinions or sources. Kestenbaum (talk) 09:17, 30 July 2011 (UTC)

I've moved the "Controversy" section to the end, and removed items that I could confirm were positively not supported by the cited references. I'm tempted to remove the section entirely based on the weakness of the remaining items, to wit: (1) Nearly a century after the fact, Roswell King's granddaughter claimed that Kemble was attracted to King. This notion is unsupported by contemporary sources, so it's not much to build a controversy around. (2) Kemble's assertion that King fathered the mulattos is based on hearsay from the mulattos, some of whom did not know their parentage with certainty (beyond having white fathers). Thus, it could have been some other white man rather than Roswell King. While this is possible, I don't think it is controversial; Kemble did not claim that enslaving one's children was evil only when Roswell King did it. Rob (talk) 03:04, 6 November 2013 (UTC)

Rob, I would vote to keep the Criticism section, provided that the passages are supported. The degree to which certain statements are/are not controversial, or valid (given their distance in time from the events) should be left up to the reader. The section makes an important point about the author's reliance on rumor vs. observation, and calls into question the accuracy and validity of her writing. That adds perspective and balance to the article, I believe. Gulbenk (talk) 16:21, 6 November 2013 (UTC)
Thanks Gulbenk! I'll just note, though, that she relied on observation in stating that several of the enslaved children had white fathers. That was not rumor. The identity of the father is not especially relevant to her criticism of this practice -- that's what I mean about it not rising to the level of controversy. It would be like trying to discredit her for mis-identifying an overseer who had flogged a slave; her point was about the practice, not about a specific person. (Moreover -- I'm all for observation over rumor, but paternity testing was unavailable in 1838. Kemble provided what information she had about the incident, and she also provided her source for that information.)Rob (talk) 18:12, 6 November 2013 (UTC)

I would agree that issues of paternity are of little interest to anyone other than the granddaughter of the accused (in 1930, no less!) It can be taken as an article of faith that a white man fathered those children. The "who" is not terribly important. What I was more concerned with, was the willingness of Kemble to accept and report, uncritically, rumors and gossip about individuals and events that she had not observed (the flogging, the personality of a women she may have never met, etc.)...and that she may have been pre-disposed toward that view before arriving in Georgia. It doesn't totally discredit the writing, but it alerts the reader to the fact that parts of the text are anecdotal. That, I believe, is the value of the section. Cheers! Gulbenk (talk) 20:00, 6 November 2013 (UTC)