14.9 In Stock
Margaret Oliphant (1828-97) was a Scottish novelist and historical writer of the Victorian era who usually wrote as Mrs Oliphant. Her fictional works encompass domestic realism, the historical novel, and tales of the supernatural. As a girl she constantly experimented with writing and in 1849 her first novel Passages in the Life of Mrs Margaret Maitland was published. It was followed in 1851 by Caleb Field, and in that year she met the publisher William Blackwood who invited her to contribute to Blackwood's Magazine. The association would last throughout her lifetime during which she contributed well over 100 articles. In 1852 she married her cousin Frank with whom she had six children, three of whom died in infancy. The family moved to Italy in 1859 for the sake of Frank's health but he died in Rome leaving his wife almost entirely without resources, and on her return to England she was dependent on her literary output to support her three surviving children. She soon established herself as a popular writer and worked hard to sustain this position, but her private life was dogged with sorrow as her remaining children all pre-deceased her. Oliphant wrote over 120 works, mostly novels, but also travel books, biographies, historical works and volumes of literary criticism. Some of her most popular fictional works are the six novels which make up The Chronicles of Carlingford, originally serialised in Blackwood's from 1862-5 prior to book publication. This novel was first published in book form in 1886 following serialisation in The Leisure Hour from January-December 1886. It tells the story of the two Penton families - those at the grand house and estate of Penton, and those at the much smaller country place at Penton Hook. Sir Walter Penton of Penton has lost both his sons who would have been heirs to the entailed estate, with only his daughter remaining who, though she will inherit his personal wealth, cannot inherit the estate. The heir to his estate is his distant cousin, Edward Penton of Penton Hook, who is married with eight children. The theme of wills and inheritance runs alongside the various romantic entanglements of the Penton offspring, resulting in a statisfyingly engrossing drama.