Ellen Wood (author)

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Ellen Wood
Ellen Price Wood small.jpg
Portrait of Ellen Wood by Reginald Easton
BornEllen Price
(1814-01-17)17 January 1814
Worcester, England
Died10 February 1887(1887-02-10) (aged 73)
Notable works East Lynne (1861)

Signature Signature of Ellen Wood.jpg

Ellen Price (17 January 1814 – 10 February 1887), was an English novelist, better known as Mrs. Henry Wood. She is best remembered for her 1861 novel East Lynne , but many of her books became international bestsellers and widely read also in the United States. In her time, she surpassed the fame of Charles Dickens in Australia. [1]

<i>East Lynne</i> novel by Ellen Wood

East Lynne is an English sensation novel of 1861 by Ellen Wood. A Victorian best-seller, it is remembered chiefly for its elaborate and implausible plot, centring on infidelity and double identities. There have been numerous stage and film adaptations.

Charles Dickens English writer and social critic

Charles John Huffam Dickens was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world's best-known fictional characters and is regarded by many as the greatest novelist of the Victorian era. His works enjoyed unprecedented popularity during his lifetime, and by the 20th century critics and scholars had recognised him as a literary genius. His novels and short stories are still widely read today.



Ellen Price was born in Worcester in 1814. In 1836 she married Henry Wood, who worked in the banking and shipping trade in Dauphiné in the South of France, where they lived for 20 years. [2] On the failure of Wood's business, the family (including four children) returned to England and settled in Upper Norwood near London, where Ellen Wood turned to writing. This supported the family. Henry Wood died in 1866. She wrote over 30 novels, many of which (especially East Lynne) enjoyed remarkable popularity. Among the best known are Danesbury House, Oswald Cray, Mrs. Halliburton's Troubles, The Channings , Lord Oakburn's Daughters and The Shadow of Ashlydyat. Her writing tone would be described as "conservative and Christian," [3] occasionally expressing religious rhetoric. [4]

Worcester Cathedral City and non-metropolitan district in England

Worcester is a city in Worcestershire, England, 31 miles (50 km) southwest of Birmingham, 101 miles (163 km) west-northwest of London, 27 miles (43 km) north of Gloucester and 23 miles (37 km) northeast of Hereford. The population is approximately 100,000. The River Severn flanks the western side of the city centre, which is overlooked by Worcester Cathedral.

Dauphiné Place in France

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Upper Norwood area of South London within the London Boroughs of Bromley, Croydon and Lambeth

Upper Norwood is an area of south-east London within the London Boroughs of Bromley, Croydon, Lambeth and Southwark. It is north of Croydon and is synonymous with the Crystal Palace area.

In 1867, Wood purchased the English magazine Argosy, which had been founded by Alexander Strahan in 1865. [5] She wrote much of the magazine herself, but other contributors included Hesba Stretton, Julia Kavanagh, Christina Rossetti, Sarah Doudney and Rosa Nouchette Carey. Wood continued as its editor until her death in 1887, when her son Charles Wood took over. [6]

Hesba Stretton British writer

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Julia Kavanagh Irish author

Julia Kavanagh was an Irish novelist, born at Thurles in Tipperary, Ireland—then part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Her numerous contributions to literature have classified her as one of the non-canonical minor novelist of the Victorian period (1837-1901). Although she is mainly known for the novel and tales she wrote, she also published important non-fiction works that explored the theme of female political, moral and philosophical contributions to society. The appeal of her works is represented by the fact that several of her works have been translated into French, German, Italian and Swedish. Her texts also reached North America, where some of her works appeared in Littel's Living Age, an American magazine. Moreover, she was known to celebrated writers of domestic fiction such as Charles Dickens.

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Wood's works were translated into many languages, including French and Russian. [7] Leo Tolstoy, in a 9 March 1872 letter to his older brother Sergei, noted that he was "reading Mrs. Wood's wonderful novel In the Maze". [8] [9]

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Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy, usually referred to in English as Leo Tolstoy, was a Russian writer who is regarded as one of the greatest authors of all time. He received multiple nominations for Nobel Prize in Literature every year from 1902 to 1906, and nominations for Nobel Peace Prize in 1901, 1902 and 1910, and his miss of the prize is a major Nobel prize controversy.

Wood wrote several works of supernatural fiction, including "The Ghost" (1867) and the oft–anthologized "Reality or Delusion?" (1868). [10] [11]

At her death, caused by bronchitis, [12] Wood's estate was valued at over £36,000, which was then a considerable sum. She was buried in Highgate Cemetery, London. A monument to her was unveiled in Worcester Cathedral in 1916.

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Highgate Cemetery is a place of burial in north London, England. There are approximately 170,000 people buried in around 53,000 graves across the West Cemetery and the East Cemetery at Highgate Cemetery. Highgate Cemetery is notable both for some of the people buried there as well as for its de facto status as a nature reserve. The West Cemetery is designated Grade II on the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens.

Worcester Cathedral Church in Worcester , United Kingdom

Worcester Cathedral, is an Anglican cathedral in Worcester, England, situated on a bank overlooking the River Severn. It is the seat of the Bishop of Worcester. Its official name is the Cathedral Church of Christ and the Blessed Mary the Virgin of Worcester. The present cathedral church was built between 1084 and 1504, and represents every style of English architecture from Norman to Perpendicular Gothic. It is famous for its Norman crypt and unique chapter house, its unusual Transitional Gothic bays, its fine woodwork and its "exquisite" central tower, which is of particularly fine proportions.


Mrs Henry Wood's tomb, Highgate Cemetery Mrs Henry Wood tomb.jpg
Mrs Henry Wood's tomb, Highgate Cemetery

These are the first published UK editions as catalogued by the British Library, with supplementary information from a specialist booksellers' catalogue. [13]

Some translations

  • Les Channing. Traduit de l'Anglais par Mme Abric-Encontre (1864)
  • Les Filles de Lord Oakburn: Roman traduit de l'anglais par L. Bochet (1876)
  • La Gloire des Verner: Roman traduit de l'anglais par L. de L’Estrive (1878)
  • Le Serment de Lady Adelaïde: Roman traduit de l'anglais par Léon Bochet (1878)

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  1. Dinah Birch and Katy Hooper, "The Concise Oxford Companion to English Literature". Oxford University Press. p. 783.
  2. "The Literary Encyclopedia". "Mrs Henry Wood". Retrieved 22 December 2008.
  3. Dinah Birch, Katy Hooper. "The Concise Oxford Companion to English Literature". Oxford University Press. p. 783.
  4. "The Ellen Wood Website". A Biographical Sketch. Retrieved 22 December 2008.
  5. "An Index to Periodical Literature". The Argosy. Retrieved 22 December 2008.; ODNB entry: oxforddnb.com Retrieved 31 May 2011.
  6. Harper, Kenneth E., and Bradford A. Booth (1953). "Russian Translations of Nineteenth-Century English Fiction," Nineteenth-Century Fiction, Vol. 8, No. 3, pp. 188–97.
  7. Complete Works of Tolstoy, PSS, 61:276
  8. Goubert, Denis (1980). "Did Tolstoy Read 'East Lynne'?," The Slavonic and East European Review, Vol. 58, No. 1, pp. 22–39.
  9. R. A. Gilbert, Michael Cox The Oxford Book of Victorian Ghost Stories. Oxford University Press, 2003. ISBN   0-19-280447-2 p. xvi.
  10. J. L. Campbell Sr., "Mrs. Henry Wood", in E. F. Bleiler, ed., Supernatural Fiction Writers. New York: Scribner's, 1985. ISBN   0-68-417808-7 pp.279–286.
  11. "The Ellen Wood Website". Obituaries. Retrieved 22 December 2008.
  12. Women Writers R–Z (London: Jarndyce, 2012)
  13. "Shropshire-cc.gov.uk". Archived from the original on 24 October 2007.
  14. British Library Retrieved 23 March 2018.

Further reading