Eliza Humphreys

Eliza Margaret Jane Humphreys (14 June 1850 – 1 January 1938) (born Gollan) was an English novelist.[1]

BiographyEdit

Eliza Margaret Jane Gollan was born at Gollanfield in Inverness-shire, the daughter of John Gollan, a Scottish businessman and his wife, the daughter of the manager of the Bank of Bengal.[2] Her father travelled extensively, visiting India and Australia. Eliza received little formal education, but her talent for story writing was apparent at an early age. She used her experience of Australia to write a semi-autobiographical novel Sheba in 1889, using the pen-name ‘Rita’.[2] Another novel, Episodes, was originally published using the pen-name 'E. Jayne Gilbert.'

Eliza was married twice: first to the Anglo-German musician Karl Booth, with whom she had three sons. This unhappy marriage later provided Eliza with material for 4 novels Saba Macdonald (1906) The Grandmothers (1927), The Wand’ring Darling (1928) and Jean and Jeanette (1929). The marriage to Booth ended, but the author went on to a happy union with Anglo-Irish singer William Humphreys, with whom she had a daughter. Humphreys used the stage name, Desmond Humphreys, and after their marriage Eliza was known as Mrs. W. Desmond Humphreys.[2] Eliza spent her married life in Cork, Ireland, Bournemouth and Bath, Somerset. In 1910, she was listed as one of the celebrities of Bournemouth, with books published in French, German and Italian; at the time she was undertaking a tour of America.

The dedication in the first edition of Saba Macdonald reads: To "THE EMANACIPATED WOMAN" who owes her present freedom of mind, morals, and pastimes, to such repression and tyranny as formed the discipline of youth in days such as this book commemorates.[3]

Writing as ‘Rita’, Eliza was prolific (she wrote 120 published works) and popular (Peg the Rake (1894) sold 160,000 copies). Her stories often featured aristocratic characters, and exotic settings. Eliza was a woman earning by her own success, and she helped to found the Lyceum Club Writers’ Club for Women.[4] She was critical of ideas being imported from America.

After meeting Madame Blavatsky she became interested in Theosophy and wrote Calvary: A Tragedy of Sects (1909) exploring religious themes. This was one of her books that was made into a film. After the First World War Eliza struggled financially, as her husband became an invalid and her style of writing went out of fashion. However Queen Mary liked her books and ordered a complete set.

Eliza Humphrey’s final book was an autobiography Recollections of a Literary Life (1936). She died of heart failure in Bath, England on 1 January 1938; her husband died in the following year.[2]

LiteratureEdit

A Man of no Importance is set in Salwych, which "Rita" based strongly on Droitwich Spa in Worcestershire, after visiting the town for treatment at its brine baths, in 1906.

BiographyEdit

A biography, "Rita" The Forgotten Author. has been written by Paul Jones.[4]

Novels and short storiesEdit

 
"The Iron Stair, A romance of Dartmoor" (1916)
  • Vivienne (1877) serialized as 'The Triumph of Love' (1914)
  • Like Dian's Kiss (1878)
  • Countess Daphne - A Musical Romance (1880)
  • My Lady Coquette (1881)
  • A Sinless Secret (1881)
  • She is Woman, Therefore to be Won (short story) (1881)
  • Faustine (1882)
  • Dame Durden (1883)
  • After Long Grief and Pain (1883)
  • Two Bad Blue Eyes (1884)
  • My Lord Conceit (1884)
  • Fragoletta (1885)
  • Corinna (1885)
  • Gretchen (Published elsewhere as 'Adrian Lyle') (1887)
  • The Seventh Dream (1888)
  • Darby and Joan (1888)
  • The Mystery of a Turkish Bath (1888)
  • Miss Kate; or, Confessions of a Caretaker (1889)
  • Sheba. A Study of Girlhood (1889)
  • A Vagabond Lover (1889)
  • The Doctor's Secret (1890)
  • A Society Scandal (1890)
  • The Laird o'Cockpen (1891)
  • Brought Together. A volume of stories (1892)
  • Asenath of the Ford (1892)
  • The Fate of Fenella (1892) Ch. VII - "So Near -- So Far Away"
  • The Countess Pharamond (1893)
  • The Man in Possession (1893)
  • Naughty Mrs. Gordon. A romance of society (1894)
  • A Husband of No Importance (1894)
  • The Ending of My Day. The story of a stormy life. (1894)
  • Peg the Rake (1894)
  • Master Wilberforce. A study of a boy. (1895)
  • A Woman in It. A sketch of feminine misadventure. (1895)
  • A Gender in Satin (1895)
  • Vignettes (1896)
  • Kitty the Rag (1896)
  • Joan and Mrs. Carr (1896)
  • Good Mrs Hypocrite (1897)
  • The Sinner, serialized as The Grinding Mills of God (1897)
  • Stephen Wynthorpe's Presentiment (short story) (1897)
  • Adrienne: A Romance of French Life (1898)
  • Petticoat Loose, serialized as A Daughter of the People (1898)
  • The Voice on the Stairs (short story) (1898)
  • An Old Rogue's Tragedy (1899)
  • Vanity. The confessions of a Court modiste (1900)
  • A Woman of Samaria, serialized as The Mystery of the Dark House (1900)
  • The Bohemians (short story) (1900)
  • Prince Charming. A fantastic episode in court dress (1901)
  • The Sin of Jasper Standish (1901)
  • The Ending of my Day (1901)
  • A Jilt's Journal (1901)
  • The Spell of The Yarrow (short story) 1901)
  • The Lie Circumspect (1902), serialized as A Craven Heart (1902)
  • Prince Charming, etc. (1903)
  • Souls. A Comedy of Intentions (1903)
  • The Valley of Desolation (short story) (1903)
  • The Jesters (1904)
  • The Silent Woman (1904) serialized as The Mystery of the 'Headless Woman' Inn (1904)
  • The Sin and Scandal of the 'Smart' Set (1904)
  • Vanity! (1904)
  • The Masqueraders (1904)
  • Valley of Desolation (short story) (1904)
  • Queer Lady Judas (1905)
  • The Baths of Salwych (short story) (1905)
  • Saba Macdonald (1906)
  • Personal Opinions Publicly Expressed (1907)
  • A Man of no Importance (1907)
  • The Pointing Finger (1907)
  • The Millionaire Girl and other stories (1908) comprising:
  1. The Millionaire Girl
  2. The Other Woman
  3. The Boots at No. 40
  4. The Passing of Miss Flint
  5. The Crank
  6. Riviera studies: The brave Mariana, The Tremblement at Bussana, The Haunted Bedroom, The Sealed Door
  7. The treacherous mountain
  8. The valley of desolation
  9. A Test of Endurance
  • Betty Brent, Typist (1908)
  • Calvary. A tragedy of sects. (1909)
  • That is to say--. [Tales.] (1909)
  • The Faithful Billium (short story) (1909)
  • The Story of a Soul (short story) (1910)
  • America-through English eyes (1911)
  • Only an Actress (1911)
  • Half a Truth (1911)
  • Grim Justice. The study of a conscience. (1912)
  • Edelweiss (1912)
  • Two Detrimentals (short story) (1912)
  • The Mystic and The Colonel (short story) (1912)
  • The House Opposite (1913)
  • A Grey Life. A romance of modern Bath. (1913)
  • The Young Horatius (1914)
  • The Simpleton (short story) (1914)
  • The Ink-Slinger (1915)
  • Unmasking the Hun - What the War has Revealed (Short article) (1916)
  • The Wrong End of Religion (1917)
  • The Rubbish Heap (1917)
  • Diana of the Ephesians: A Novel. (1919)
  • The Philanthropic Burglar (1919)
  • The Make-believers (1920)
  • When the Wicked Man, and other stories. (1920)
  • The Iron Stair. A romance of Dartmoor. (1921)
  • The Best Lover [and other tales]. (1921)
  • Pat the Pedlar (1922)
  • The Road to Anywhere (1922)
  • Conjugal Rights, and other stories. (1922)
  • The Man Who Understood (1923)
  • The Ungrown-Ups. (1923)
  • Episodes. By Rita. Originally published as by E. Jayne Gilbert. (1925)
  • The Farm of Melchizedek (1925)
  • The Great “Perhaps.” (1926)
  • Our Miss Acadee (1926)
  • The Grandmothers (1927)
  • The Prince Errant, and other stories. (1928)
  • The Wand'ring Darling (1928)
  • Jean and Jeannette (1929)
  • Quarrelsome Corner (1930)
  • The New Poor. A romance of to-day. (1931)
  • The Naughty Grandfather (1932)
  • Six Mistresses, etc. (1932)
  • The Ladies of Moyallo (1933)
  • The Pointing Finger (1934)
  • The Marriage Comedy (1934)
  • Recollections of a literary life (1936)

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Eliza Humphreys google.com/site/bygonelore, accessed 26 December 2018
  2. ^ a b c d "Humphreys [née Gollan], Eliza Margaret Jane [pseud. Rita; known as Mrs W. Desmond Humphreys] (1850–1938), novelist". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. 2004. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/45494. Retrieved 10 March 2021. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  3. ^ Saba Macdonald, by "Rita" 1906.
  4. ^ a b Paul Jones: "Rita" The Forgotten Author amazon.co.uk, accessed 26 December 2018

External linksEdit