R. D. Blackmore, 1825-1900


Biographical note

Richard Doddridge Blackmore, English novelist and poet, born at Longworth, Berks, ed. at Tiverton School and Oxford, practised for a short time as a lawyer but, owing to his health, gave this up, and took to market-gardening and literature at Teddington.

His first published was Poems by Melanter [1853], followed by Epullia [1855], The Bugle of the Black Sea [1855], etc.; but he soon found that fiction, not poetry, was his true vocation. Beginning with Clara Vaughan in 1864, he produced fifteen novels, all of more than average, and two or three of outstanding merit. Of these much the best in the opinion of the public, though not of the author, is Lorna Doone [1869], the two which rank next to it being The Maid of Sker [1872] (the author’s favourite) and Springhaven [1887]. Others are Cradock Nowell [1866], Alice Lorraine [1875], Cripps the Carrier [1876], Mary Anerley [1880], and Christowell [1882].

One of the most striking features of Blackmore’s writings is his marvellous eye for, and sympathy with, Nature. He may be said to have done for Devonshire what Scott did for the Highlands. He has been described as “proud, shy, reticent, strong-willed, sweet-tempered, and self-centred.”

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

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