Mrs. Oliphant

Or Margaret, as we are intending to call her these days.

Oliphant was one of the most popular, long-lived, and successful lady novelists of the Victorian age, publishing almost one hundred novels across the timely wingspan of six decades. This was quite a (pocket) change from the (nominally) more tragic authors of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights.

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“The Open Door”

Margaret lost her husband to overwork and exhaustion after just seven short years of wedded bliss, with six children appearing in quick succession, three of whom died in infancy. Her surviving daughter died at ten, and both of her surviving sons died in their thirties. Mrs. Oliphant outlived them all.

Margaret survived three years after her last son was taken from her, writing steadily all the while, right up to the very end. The will to write can be stronger than the will to live. Especially when you make a lifelong habit out of it.

Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Poe waxed full of woe
He sang a song of sadness
He filled his days with minstrel rays
His nights bore down to madness

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Take this kiss upon thy brow
And in parting from me now
This much more let me avow:

You are wrong should you not deem
All my days to be a dream.

Yet if hope is flown away
In a night or in a day

In a vision or yet none
Is it thereby less the gone?

All we see or seem to see
Is a dream within a dream.

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To the glory that was Greco

And the grandeur that was Roma