Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, 1814–1873


Biographical note

Novelist, son of a Dean of the Episcopal Church of Ireland, and grand-nephew of Richard Brinsley Sheridan, was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, and became a contributor and ultimately proprietor of the Dublin University Magazine, in which many of his novels made their first appearance. Called to the Bar in 1839, he did not practise, and was first brought into notice by two ballads, Phaudrig Croohoore and Shamus O’Brien, which had extraordinary popularity. His novels, of which he wrote 12, include The Cock and Anchor [1845], Torlough O’Brien [1847], The House by the Churchyard [1863], Uncle Silas (perhaps the most popular) [1864], The Tenants of Malory [1867], In a Glass Darkly [1872], and Willing to Die (posthumously). They are generally distinguished by able construction, ingenuity of plot, and power in the presentation of the mysterious and supernatural. Among Irish novelists he is generally ranked next to Lever.

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

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