Percy Hetherington Fitzgerald

1834-1925 [sometimes styled Knight of Kerry]; b. Co. Louth, son of Fitzgerald of Fane to whom Carleton applied for a tutoring post]; ed. Stonyhurst and TCD, MA; became a barrister and afterwards crown prosecutor on the North-East circuit; moved to London before beginning to writing professionally; reputedly produced 200 works of fiction and history, and several plays (some printed); he was responsible for the statue of Samuel Johnson on the Strand and a bust of Dickens at Bath, as well as Boswell’s statue at Lichfield having engaged tirelessly in editorial work on these writers and Charles Lamb (often editing and revising the works of others); issued Henry Irving: A Record of Twenty Years at the Lyceum (1893); his novels incl. Beauty Talbot, The Dear Girl, Bella Donna, Diana Jay, et al.; issued memoirs of boyhood; also Catholic and confessional works for the “worldly wise” incl. selections from Thomas a Kempis and Catholic writers, espec. on the Eucharist; editions of Lamb, Johnson, Boswell, Dickens and Sterne; wrote satires on W. E. H. Gladstone, and enthusiastically chronicled covered the making of the Suez Canal. NCBE DIB DIW IBL JMC SUTH. OCIL

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The Romance of the English Stage, 2 vols. (London: Bentley, 1874), [vol. 1, ix, 334pp], 8o.]; Catholic jewels from Shakespeare selected by Percy Fitzgerald (1890); &c. See full list of titles, infra.

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J. S. Crone, A Concise Dictionary of Irish Biography (Dublin: Talbot 1928), calls him a writer, sculptor, painter and musician; ed. Stoneyburst and TCD; Dickens set in London after legal career in Ireland; 200 vols. of fiction and biog., history and drama; bust of Dickens at Bath, statue of Dr. Johnson at Strand, and Boswell at Lichfield. d. London 1925. DIW derives from Crone. See also Irish Book Lover, 1

Henry Boylan, Dictionary of Irish Biography (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1988): 1834-1925, b. Fane Valley, Co. Louth, ed. Stonyhurst and TCD; Crown prosecutor on north-eastern circuit, then London literati; his fiction, biography, history, drama, and Catholic works run to 100 titles. He did busts of Dickens (a friend), Johnson, and Boswell.

Justin McCarthy, gen. ed., Irish Literature (Washington: University of America 1904); extract from Lives of the Sheridans; short bio-note, MA, FSA; b. Fane Valley, Co. Louth; ed. Stonyhurst Coll., Lancashire, TCD; Irish bar; Crown Prosecutor; most of his works appeared originally in All the Year Round, and Once a Week; The Lives of Sheridan; Charles Lamb his Friends, his Haunts, and his Books; Life of David Garrick; The Kembles; The Life of George IV; The Royal Dukes and Princesses of the Family of George III; Life and times of William IV; Fifty Years of Catholic Life and Progress’. JMC selects ‘Pitt’s enounciation was unquestionably more imposing, dignified, and sonorous; Fox displayed more argument, as well as vehemence; Sheridan as Orator’ [‘Burke possessed more fancy and enthusiasm; but Sheridan won his way by a sort of fascination.’].

John Sutherland, The Longman Companion to Victorian Fiction (Harlow: Longmans 1988); 1834-1935, ‘Gilbert Dyce’; b. Co. Louth, ed. Stonyhurst and TCD; Bar, and Crown Prosecutor; specialism in history of Hanoverian period; friend John Forster itroduced him to Dickens and encouraged him to write in 1856; also encouraged by Bentley; early Dickens scholarship, Memoirs of An Author, 2 vols. (1895); light novels about flirts, fops, and lovers; first novel serialised in Dublin University Magazine, was Mildrington The Barrister (1863); best-selling work, Bella Donna, or the Cross Before the Names (1864); sequels, Jenny Bell (1866), and Seventy-Five Brooke Street (1867); ran two series simultaneously (‘the Briarian system’); 6 novels ser. in All the Year Round (1866); fiction incl. Fairy Alice (1865); The Second Mrs. Tillotson (1866); The Dear Girl (1868); Beauty Talbot (1870); The Middle Aged Lover (1873); The Parvenu Family (1876). Fatal Zero (1886), a Homburg diary, about gambling mania; 200 vols. to his name, but gave up fiction for popular 18th c. history; Recreations of a Literary Man, or Does it Pay (1882) recounts that he earned 3,000 [?p.a.] from fiction.

Belfast Public Library holds 10 titles in history and biography incl. Fifty Years of Irish Social Progress (1901); The Garrick Club (1904); John Foster (1903); Life of Mrs. Catherine Clive (1888); The Real Sheridan (1897); Narrative of ..the Confederates of 48 (1868); Pickwickian Manners and Customs (n.d.); Sheridan Whitewashed (n.d.). Also Henry Irving, A Record of Twenty Years at the Lyceum (1893)

Belfast Central Library holds The Gorgeous Lady (Lady Blessington).

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Anglo-Irish extraction: Fitzgerald’s account of the Sheridans (Lives of the Sheridans, 1886, Vol. 1), and the theory of Anglo-Irish extraction therein, follows Mrs Oliphant’s conjecture in remarking: ‘there can be no doubt that such natures as Goldsmith’s and Sheridan’s are neither purely English nor Irish. they are uniques; and owe their charm to this commixture of races. Many Irishmen could be named with much of the wit and humour of this great pair, yet lacking their finish, elegant touch, and true sentiment; while in England there have been many with the same finish and sentiment as goldsmith, yet without his humour and vivacity. ... such were the Wellesleys, Castlereaghs, Butlers, Wolseleys, Grattans, Parnells, with many more.’ In a footnote, Fitzgerald adds his belief that ‘a strain of Irish or of French blood greatly improves the ordinary English breed’ (The Real Sheridan, [p.3].)

Namesake? Author of A Guide to Nice: Historical and Medical, by Percey Fitzpatrick (Nice: Soc. Typographique 1858). See also Percy Robert Fitzgerald, author.

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