Henrietta Keddie (1827-1914) - Novelist
She was born in Cupar, Fife, Scotland, the daughter of a lawyer. Early in her childhood the family moved to the village of Elie on the Fife coast in order to be near the coal-mine in which all their finances were
invested. At the age of 16 she was sent to Edinburgh to complete her education and it was while she was there that she met the essayist John Brown, who encouraged her literary aspirations. Her early work appeared in Blackwood's Magazine and on her return to
Fife she pursued her literary interests in St Andrews, where she was an acquaintance of James Frederick ferrier, A. K. H. boyd and John Tulloch. The death of her father forced her to earn a living, and with her sisters she set up a small private school in Cupar, which they operated between 1848 and 1870.
Eventually the success of her literary career under her own name and her pseudonym, Sarah Tytler, allowed her to give up the school, and from 1884 she lived first in London and then in Oxford, where she died on 8 June 1914. Henrietta Keddie's autobiography Three
Generations of a Middle-Class Scottish Family (1911) is an entertaining account of her girlhood years and literary life and is replete with
fond memories of the people she had known in the course of a long and busy life. It also presents her as a modest, yet hard-working and persevering woman who, against all odds, became one of the most popular and successful authors of her generation. Much of her work was written quickly and with the sole object of making money: biographical sketches, travel books, advice to young girls and other journalistic pieces; but two novels from her huge output stand out. Logic Town (1887) is a well- observed portrayal of life in a small Fife town at the time of the Reform Bill of 1832. There is a a fondness for the town and its people, balanced against that knowledge of the deficiencies displayed by its society, making Logic Town one of the most satisfying portrayals of life in a Victorian small town in Scotland. St Mungo's City (1884), which traces the life and times of a self-made businessman in Glasgow, is notable for the accurate observation of the changing industrial society of the west of Scotland. The subtlety with which Henrietta Keddie viewed Scottish society, her ability to delineate aspects of character and to render Scottish speech in these two novels provide a tantalizing glimpse of what she might have achieved had she not been forced into writing pulp literature for a living.
Works: Phemie Millar, 3 vols. (1854); The Nut Brown Maids (1859); Meg of Etibank (1860); Weaving the Willow (1860); My Heart's in the Highlands (1861); A Simple Woman (1863); Heroines in Obscurity (1871); Lady Bell, 3 vols. (1873); A Douce Lass (1877); French Janet (1889); Lady Jeans's Vagaries (1894); Kincaid's Widow (1895); Honor Ormthwaite (1896); The Machinations of Janet (1903); Three Generations of a Middle-Class Scottish Family (1911) as Sarah Tytler: Papers for Thoughtful Girls (1862); Citoyenne Jacqueline (1865); Days of Yore, 2 vols. (1866); The Diamond Rose (1867); The Huguenot Family, 3 vols. (1867); Sweet Counsel (1867); Girlhood and Womanhood (1868) .Noblesse oblige (1870); Sisters ana Wives (1871); The Songstresses of Scotland (1871); Modem Painters and their Work (1873); The Old Masters (1873); A Garden of Women (1875); Musical Composers and their Work (1875); By the Elbe
(1876); Childhood a Hundred Years Ago (1877); Landseer's Dogs and their Stories (1877); What she Came Through (1877); ScoTCH Firs (1878); Summer Snows (1878); ed., Jane Austen and her Works (1880); Lord Fleur's Champion (1880); Oliver Constable, 3 vols. (1880); Footprints (1881); A Hero of a Hundred Fights (1881); Beauties and Fights (1882); The Bride's Pass (1882); SCOTCH Marriages (1882); Marie Antoinette (1883); Beauty and the Beast (1884); St Mungo's City, 3 vols. (1884); The Woman with Two Wards (1885); Buried Diamonds (1886); Comrades (1886); Her Gentle Deeds (1886); In the Fort (1886); The Life of Her Majesty the Queen (1886); Disappeared (1887); Logie Town (1887); Sukie's Boy (1887); The Blackball Ghosts (1888); Girl Neighbours (1888); Duchess France (1889); A House full of Girls (1889); Vashri Savage (IS89); Heroines in Obscurity (1890); Nobody's Girls (1890); Sapphira (1890); A Young Oxford Maid (1890); A Morning Mist (1892); A Bubble Fortune (1893); A Lonely Lassie (1893); War Times (1893); Beneath the Surface (1894); Mermaidens (1885); The Macdonald's Lass (1895); A Little Lass and Lad (1896); Rachel Langton (1896); Tudor Queens and Princesses (1896); The American Comes (1897); Lady Jean's Son (1897); The Wild Life (1897); Miss CarmichaeL's Goddesses
(1898); Six Royal Ladies of the House of Hanover (1898); A Cray Moment (1899); A Honeymoon's Eclipse (1899); Miss Nance (1899); Jean Keir of Craigneil (1900); A Loyal Little Maid (1900); Many Daughters (1900); A Young Dragon (1900); Queen Charlotte's Maidens (1901); Rival Claimants (1901); Three Men of Mark (1901); Atonement by Proxy (1902); The Courtship of Sarah (1902); Women Must
Weep (1902); At Lathan's Siege (1903); Friendly Foes (1903); In Clarinda's Day (1903); Sir David's Visitors (1903); Favours from France (1904); Four Red Roses(1904); Hearts are Trumps (1904); Major Singleton's Daughter (1904); The Poet and his Guardian Angel (1904); A Daughter of the Manse (1905); His Reverence the Rector (1905); A Stepmother (1905); The Bracebridges (1906); The Girls of Innerbams (1906); A Briar Rose (1907); The Countess OF Huntingdon (1907); Innocent Masquerades (1907); The Two Lady Lascelles (1908); A Banished Lady (1908).
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