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William Black (1841-1898) - Novelist

He was born on 9th November 1841 in Glasgow and was educated there at the School of Art. Abandoning art for journalism, he moved to London in 1864 and served as a war correspondent during the Austro-Prussian War of 1866 and the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71. Black's first novel James Merle (1864) sank without trace, but he made his name with A Daughter of Heth (1871) which established him as writer of popular Gothic romances in the Celtic revival style of his contemporary William Sharp ('Fiona Macleod'). It was followed by a succession of novels, usually set in the Highlands, which follow a stylized plot: that of the marriage of a beautiful outsider into an exotic society. Most successful of these were A Princess of Thule (1874), Macleod of Dare (187'8}. In Far Lochaber (1888) and Donald Ross of Heimra (1891). Black's novels were collected in 26 volumes during his lifetime (1894) but they have long since disappeared into literary obscurity and he is remembered mainly for his notorious, overwritten descriptions of Hebridean sunsets. He died at the height of his popularity on 10 December 1898 in Brighton.

Works: James Merle (1864); Love or Marriage? (1868); In Silk Attire (1870); A Daughter of Heth (1871); The Monarch of Mincing Lane (1871); The Strange Adventures of a Phaeton (1872); The Maid of Killeena and The Marriage of Moira Fergus (1874); A Princess of Thule (1874); Three Feathers (1875); Lady Silverdale's Sweetheart (1876); Madcap Violet (1876); Green Pastures and Piccadilly (1877); Goldsmith (1878); Macleod of Dare (1878); Sunrise (1880); White Wings (1880); The Beautiful Witch (1881); Adventures in Thule (1883); Shandon Bells (1883); Yolande (1883); Judith Shakespeare (1884); White Heather (1885); The Wise Women of Inverness (1885); Sabina Zembra (1887);
In Far Lochaber (1888); The Strange Adventures of a Houseboat (1888); The Penance of John Logan (1889); Nanciebel (1889); The New Prince Fortunatus (1890);
Donald Ross of Heimra (1891); Stand Fast Craig-Royston (1891); The Magic Wish (1892); Wolfenburg (1892); Highland Cousins (1894); Briseis (1896); Wild Eelin (1898); With The Eyes of Youth (1903).

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