In her study of Charlotte BrontÃ«, Harriet Martineau and George Eliot, Lesa Scholl shows how three Victorian women writers broadened their capacity for literary professionalism by participating in translation and other conventionally derivative activities such as editing and reviewing early in their careers
In the nineteenth century, a move away from translating Greek and Latin Classical texts in favour of radical French and German philosophical works took place. As England colonised the globe, Continental philosophies penetrated English shores, causing fissures of faith, understanding and cultural stability. The influence of these new texts in England was unprecedented, and Eliot, BrontÃ« and Martineau were instrumental in both literally and figuratively translating these ideas for their English audience. Each was transformed by access to foreign languages and cultures, first through the written word and then by travel to foreign locales, and the effects of this exposure manifest in their journalism, travel writing and fiction. Ultimately, Scholl argues, their study of foreign languages and their translation of foreign-language texts, nations and cultures enabled them to transgress the physical and ideological boundaries imposed by English middle-class conventions.