Mary Russell Mitford, 1787-1855

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Biographical note

Poetess and novelist, born at Alresford, Hants, daughter of a physician, without practice, selfish and extravagant, who ran through three fortunes, his own, his wife’s, and his daughter’s, and then lived on the industry of the last. After a vol. of poems which attracted little notice, she produced her powerful tragedy, Julian. In 1812, what ultimately became the first vol. of Our Village appeared in the Lady’s Magazine. To this four additional vols. were added, the last in 1832. In this work Miss Mitford may be said to have created a new branch of literature. Her novel, Belford Regis (1835), is somewhat on the same lines. She added two dramas, Rienzi (1828), and Foscari, Atherton and other Tales (1852), and Recollections of a Literary Life, and died at her cottage at Swallowfield, much beloved for her benevolent and simple character, as well as valued for her intellectual powers.

[From A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature by John W. Cousin, 1910]

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