English Women of Letters: Biographical Sketches by Julia Kavanagh
The Irish novelist Julia Kavanagh (1824-1877) published English Women of Letters in two volumes in 1862. The work, which formed a pair with French Women of Letters (1862), traces the contribution of English women writers, from the seventeenth century to the nineteenth, to the development and formation of the modern novel. Volume 1 contains biographical sketches of five female authors followed by evaluations of their most important works: Aphra Behn (1640-1689) and Oroonoko; Sarah Fielding (1710-1768) and David Simple; Madame D'Arblay (1752-1840), also known as Fanny Burney, and Evelina and Cecilia; Charlotte Smith (1749-1806) and Emmeline, Ethelinda and The Old Manor House; and Ann Radcliff (1764-1823), and four of her gothic novels. This important work brought to attention in the Victorian mind the importance of these writers. It has served for many generations of English literature students as a biographical companion to women writers.