Florence Nightingale on Society and Politics, Philosophy, Science, Education and Literature, Volume 5 in the Collected Works of Florence Nightingale, is the main source of Nightingale’s work on the methodology of social science and her views on social reform. Here we see how she took her “call to service” into practice: by first learning how the laws of God’s world operate, one can then determine how to intervene for good. There is material on medical statistics, the census, pauperism and Poor Law reform, the need for income security measures and better housing, on crime, gender and the family. Her comments on a new edition of The Dialogues of Plato are given, with their impact on the revision of the next edition. We see Nightingale’s condemnation of Plato’s “community of wives,” with her stirring approval of love (even outside marriage!), marriage and the family. In this volume also her views on natural science, education and literature are reported.
Nightingale was an astute behind-the-scenes political activist. Society and Politics publishes (much of it for the first time) her correspondence with such leading political figures as Queen Victoria, W.E. Gladstone and J.S. Mill. There are notes and essays on public administration and personal observations on various members of royalty, prime ministers and ministers, and Indian viceroys. Nightingale’s support of the vote for women (contrary to much in the secondary literature) is here shown. Correspondence and notes on British general elections from 1834 to 1900 is reported, with letters to and for (Liberal) political candidates and fierce condemnations of Conservatives.
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.
''[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.''
''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.''
''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.''
''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.''
''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.''