Frances Brooke: The Old Maid

(864 words)
  • Laura Moss (University of British Columbia)

The Old Maid appeared weekly from 1755 to 1756 and addressed topics ranging from marriage, to politics and theatre. Although, Brooke claimed to have had the assistance of a loyal group of correspondents, including a nobleman and others who wished to remain anonymous, it is evident that most of the voices represented in the periodical belong to “Mary Singleton, Spinster,” the pseudonym under which she wrote. In the first issue, “Mary Singleton, Spinster” describes herself as an old maid (almost 50) who was once secretly engaged to a man but who had her heart broken when he chose to marry someone else. Although not a mother herself, and therefore not “fulfilling her patriotic duty”, she has looked after her niece, …

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Moss, Laura. "The Old Maid". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 08 January 2001
[, accessed 29 September 2016.]