[Mrs.] Dinah Craik

Life
1826-87 [née Dinah Maria Mulock]; dg. of Thomas Mulock, a nonconformist minister who spent periods in an asylum and abandoned his children after her mother’s death in 1854; established herself as an author with the oft-reprinted John Halifax, Gentleman (1857 - 36th edn. 1890), concerning the rise of an orphan through hard work; other novels incl. num. childrens’ works; issued A Woman’s Thoughts about Women (1858), a work on the stages and conditions of women’s lives repudiating helplessness and encouraging independence; her travel writings incl. An Unknown Country (1887), a study of the north of Ireland.

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Works
(Selected)
  • About Money and Other Things: A Gift-book (1886);
  • Agatha’s Husband (1890);
  • A Brave Lady (1870);
  • Christian’s Mistake (1865);
  • Cola Monti (1849, 1901);
  • Fair France: Impressions of a Traveller (1871);
  • The Fairy Book: The Best popular Fairy Stories selected and rendered anew (1920, reps. 1922, 1923, 1926);
  • Hannah (1872, [1900]);
  • The Head of the Family [1900];
  • John Halifax, Gentleman (1856, 1890 [36th edn.], 1902, 1906, 1935, 1954, 1961);
  • A Life for a Life (1859, 1870);
  • The Little Lychetts: A Piece of Autobiography (1860);
  • A Noble Life (1866, [1900], 1902);
  • Nothing New: Tales (1857 1861, 1890);
  • Olive, and The Half-caste ([1900], 1975, 1996);
  • Poems (1879);
  • Sermons out of Church (1881);
  • Studies from Life (1861);
  • Two Marriages (1890);
  • An Unknown Country (1887);
  • An Unsentimental Journey through Cornwall (1884);
  • The Woman’s Kingdom: A Love Story (1869, 1900);
  • A Woman’s Thoughts about Women (1858) [see contents]
  • Young Mrs. Jardine: A Novel (1879, 1880).
[Source: COPAC March 2000; see full listing, attached.]

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Bibliographical details
A Woman’s Thoughts about Women [1858; rep. edn.] (Cambridge UP 2010), 360pp. CONTENTS - Preface; 1. Something to do; 2. Self-dependence; 3. Female professions; 4. Female handicrafts; 5. Female servants; 6. The mistress of a family; 7. Female friendships; 8. Gossip; 9. Women of the world; 10. Happy and unhappy women; 11. Lost women; 12. Women growing old. [See Cambridge Univ. Press publisher's notice, infra.]

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Commentary
P. J. Kavanagh, Voices in Ireland (1994) cites her response to the Antrim Round Tower as having been built by ‘the long dead hands of an altogether vanished race’ (Kavanagh, p.12 & note); also her remarks on the failure to exploit Lough Neagh inasmuch as ‘[i]n England … factories would have sprung up along its shores …’ (idem.). Kavanagh also notes her visit to Doon Well (pp.98-99), and her remark that Cecil Alexander’s ballad “The Siege of Derry” - which she saw shortly after it was written - would be as well known as Macaulay’s account in his History of England. Kavanagh quotes the poem with emphasis on its lurid anti-Papism.

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References
Cambridge Univ. Press - publication notice with reprint of A Woman's Thoughts about Women [1858] (2010): ‘Dinah Craik (1826–1887) was a prolific writer of fiction, poetry and essays. She was best known for her novels, which appropriated well-worked narratives of individuals triumphing over adversity through hard work and moral integrity against a backdrop of industrialisation and the ascent of the middle classes. The most successful, John Halifax, Gentleman [1857], tells the tale of a boy who works his way out of poverty. Craik herself was familiar with hardship: her father Thomas Mulock, a nonconformist minister, had spent periods confined to a lunatic asylum, and abandoned his children after his wife's death in 1854. In this work (originally published serially in Chambers's Journal of Popular Literature, Science and Arts), Craik provided support and advice for single women like herself. She was highly critical of learned helplessness and advocated independence and cross-class sympathy, believing women should “lead active, intelligent, industrious lives: lives complete in themselves”’. (Online; accessed 25.06.2010.

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Booksellers
Richard Beaton (Lewes, E. Sussex) lists Christian's Mistake (Leipzig, Tauchnitz 1865) [copyright edition]; hb. Mid-19th c. brown leather over deep red glazed boards; gilt tooling on spine; yellow endpapers; First issue, series half-title bound in; Todd 757a. A Life for a Life [Uniform Edition, Standard Library Volume IX] (London, Hurst & Blackett [n.d. 1891; orig. 1859]), hb.; engraved frontispiece; maroon cloth, ruled and lettered in gilt, grey endpapers. Christian's Mistake (London, Hurst & Blackett [1891]) - so dated on publisher's catalogue; engraved frontispiece; maroon cloth, ruled and lettered in gilt, grey endpapers [£12]; John Halifax, Gentleman [orig. 1856; copyright edition], 2 vols. as 1 (Leipzig, Tauchnitz [1859]), hb., purple cloth, blocked in gilt on spine; [Todd 397Ab/398b] - with corrected title on p.1 of Vol. 1, and add. colophon to Vol. 2; ser. half-title bound in. (At Antiqbooks - online; accessed 31.08.2011.)

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Notes
Head of the Family?: Professor George L. Craik (1798-1866), was born in Fife and ed. at St. Andrews; held chair of English at Queen's College, Belfast [afterwards QUB]; author of Spenser and His Poetry (1845), A Compendious History of English Literature (London: Griffin, Bohn, & Co. 1861), The Life of Jonathan Swift [2 vols.] (London & NY: Macmillan 1894; rep. NY: Burt Franklin 1960), and other works. For quotations from the latter, see under Jonathan Swift [infra] and Thomas Sheridan [infra]. His publications are listed at 140 in World Catalogue [online] including letters to Leigh Hunt and others. His second dg. was Georgian M. Craik,a novelist. A younger pbrother was Hebraist and theologian Henry Craik. A memorial notice appeared in Manchester Guardian (7 Nov. 1895).

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