Women in the Literary Market 1800-1900

Charlotte Elizabeth Riddell, 1832–1906
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Charlotte Elizabeth Lawson Cowan was born in 1832 in a small town near Belfast. When her father died, she and her mother were left with limited means. Unable to survive in such reduced circum-stances, they decided to move to London, where Charlotte might earn a living as a writer.

After her mother’s death in 1857, Charlotte married Joseph Hadley Riddell, a civil engineer. When he died in 1880, leaving her with substantial debts, she increased the output of her pen to pay them off. Like many of her female writer contemporaries, Riddell–the author of more than 50 novels and stories–was the chief support for the household. She had no children.

Riddell was one of the first women to write fiction about London City life and the world of business. She also wrote children’s stories, tales of her native Ireland, and supernatural tales. In 1868 she became part owner and editor of St. James's Magazine.

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portrait of Charlotte Elizabeth Riddell
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early role models
entering the literary market
learned poets
getting into print
charlotte bronte and george eliot
sin and sensation
new women
L.T. Meade
the three volume format
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