Sunday, June 17, 2012
More about Jenny who rather fascinates me
William and Jane Morris's eldest daughter was a bright, serious child considered more intellectual than May, and keenly interested in her father's political activities. In 1878 she began to suffer from a mysterious disease which resulted in violent seizures, and eventually in progressive physical and mental degeneration. Morris believed her condition was hereditary and blamed himself. Amidst his endless activities, he wrote her many long, affectionate, and politically detailed letters, among the best he wrote. After William's death, Jane Morris cared for her daughter for several years with the help of a nurse, then placed her under private care. A few of Jenny's letters are preserved in the Victoria and Albert Museum. Surviving documents are reticent about her condition; it was sometimes diagnosed as 'epilepsy', but it is difficult to be certain what it was.*
*There seems to be some doubt in modern reports that it was epilepsy but diagnosis was so poor at the time its hard to tell.