Geraldine Jewsbury

Author: Geraldine Jewsbury

Profile: Geraldine Jewsbury was an English novelist, book reviewer and literary figure in London. She was born at Measham, Derbyshire and was one amongst six siblings. She was popularly known for his novels like Zoe: the History of Two Lives and reviews for the Athenaeum, the literary periodical. Geraldine never married. She had intimate friendships especially with Jane Carlyle, the wife of essayist Thomas Caryle. Jewsbury’s writings feature the romantic feelings for Jane and the complexity of their relationship. Geraldine was also known to encourage others like Walter Mantell, to try out new things.

 

Geraldine’s mother had literary interests and wrote for the Manchester Gazette. She suffered from cholera and died too young. Geraldine took up the responsibility of looking after her father till he died. Geraldine completed her schooling at boarding school near Tamworth, Staffordshire and then continued her studies in Italian, French and drawing in London in 1830-1831. She was affected by depression on returning back to her family home and began questioning her fate and express religious doubts. It was in Zoe: the History of Two Lives that this change in her was reflected.

Writing style: Geraldine was a novelist of moral dilemmas and ideas primarily who questioned the idealized and standard roles of mother, wife very sharply and promoted the spiritual value of work in the life of a woman. Female characters in her work were made more capable and wiser very often as compared to the male ones.

Published Texts:

1845 - Zoe: the history of Two Lives

1848 – The Half Sisters

1851 – Marian Withers

1855 – Constance Herbert

1856 – The Sorrows of Gentility

1859 – Right or Wrong

1852 – The History of an Adopted Child (novel for children)

1855 – Angelo, or, The Pine Forest in the Alps (novel for children)

1850 and 1859 – 17 short stories (commissioned by Dickens for his periodical Houshold Words

Awards and Acknowledgements:

Geraldine Jewsbury has been described by Jane Welsh Carlyle (her partner and closest friend) as one of the most interesting young women she had seen for years with a delicate, clear sense and courage looking out of her small sylph-like figure.

Annie Ireland has edited selections from Jewsbury’s letters to Jane Carlyle which define the bond between the two women which lasted for a quarter of a century.

Thomas Carlyle (husband of Jane Carlyle took Geraldine’s assistance to incorporate some of anecdotes of Jane’s childhood and early married life into his essay, ‘Jane Welsh Carlyle’. J.A. Froude used the very same notes while editing Carlyle’s Reminiscences.

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