Published genealogies and biographies: Jane Gomeldon (died 1780)


Jane Gomeldon (died 1780)

The 'Feminist Companion to English Literature' states that Jane Middleton, well-educated in languages, science and philosophy, was married at an early age to Captain Francis Gomeldon, a friend of George Bowes, the Newcastle coal magnate. She left him, however, and escaped to France in male dress, where a number of exploits are ascribed to her. She returned to England on Gomeldon's death in 1751.

Her book of 31 essays 'The Medley', published in Newcastle in 1766, raised over 53 pounds for the lying-in hospital. In the esays, Jane assumes a male persona to discuss Milton, Homer, the education of her daughter, cross-dressing and the unbroached subject of female adultery - having resolved 'not to play the prude'. She asserts that gentlemen now need improvement to render them fit companions to women. She cites Samuel Richardson and the courtesan Teresa Constantia Phillips, and creates a range of lively fictive characters. Her 'Maxims', published in Newcastle in 1779, puts traditional wisdom into irregular verse.

Feminist Companion to English Literature

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