Frances Sarah Hoey

Life
1830-1908 [née Johnston; Mrs. Cashel Hoey]; b. 14 Feb., Bushy Park, Co. Dublin, eldest dg. of Charles B. Johnston and Charlotte Shaw; self-ed.; m. Adam Murray Stewart, of Cromliech, Co. Dublin, 1846; widowed at 25; contrib Freeman’s Journal and The Nation, 1853; moved to London in 1855; introduced to Thackeray on the strength of letter from Carleton; married John Cashel Hoey [q.v.], whom she met in London; converted to Catholicism, her husband’s religion; prolific novelist of 40 titles including The Question of Cain (1882) and The Rover’s Creed [n.d.]; translated works from French; ed. The World. CAB ODNB JMC DIW DIL

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Works
A House of Cards (London: Tinsley 1868); Falsely True (London: Tinsley 1870); Nazareth ([1873]; new edn. London: Ward & Downey 1890), non-fiction; A Golden Sorrow (London: Hurst & Blackett; NY: Harper 1872); Out of Court (London: [q.pub] 1874); The Blossoming of an Aloe, and The Queen’s Token (London: [q.pub.] NY: Harper 1875); Griffith’s Double (London: [q.pub.] 1876); Kate Cronin’s Dowry (NY: Harper 1877); Ralph Craven’s Silver Whistle (London: [q.pub.] 1877); All of Nothing (London: [q.pub.] 1879); The Question[?ing] of Cain (NY: Harper 1881; London: Hurst & Blackett 1882; new edn. London: Ward & Downey 1890); The Lover’s Creed (London: Chatto & Windus/NY, Harper 1884); A Stern Chase (London: Sampson Low/NY: Harper 1886); The Queen’s Token (Lon[q.pub.]1888). [DIL, corr. ATT.]

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Note: She was the author of preface attached to The Autobiography of William Carleton (ed. D. J O’Donoghue, 1896) of which W. B. Yeats said in a review that it ‘scarcely seems relevant or excellent in any way’, and afterwards reprinted separately under her name in Justin McCarthy, gen. ed., Irish Literature (1904).

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Commentary
Margaret Kelleher, ‘Prose Writing and Drama in English; 1830-1890 […]’, in Cambridge History of Irish Literature, ed. Kelleher & Philip O’Leary (Cambridge UP 2006), Vol. 1 [Chap. 11]: ‘Frances Hoey, said to have displayed “fierce nationalism” in her private letters, set few of her fictional writings in Ireland, causing novelist Rosa Mulholland to note regretfully that “the clever books of Mrs Cashel Hoey show no trace of the fact that she is Irish of the Irish, not only by birth, but in faithful affection”’. (Mulholland, ‘Wanted an Irish Novelist’, in Irish Monthly, 19 July 1891, p.369; here p.473.) Further: ‘In the case of Hoey, arguments regarding the ownership of copyright dogged her later career and her authorship of a number of novels more usually credited to the writer Edmund Yates remains a matter of dispute.’ (p.474.)

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References
Dictionary of National Biography [entry by Elizabeth Lee], assets her claims collaboration with Edmund Yates on several novels; ATT [err.], believed to have contributed to novels under Edmund Yates’s name.

Justin McCarthy, ed., Irish Literature (Washington: University of America 1904); cites A House of Cards; Falsely True; Out of Court; The Blossoming of the Aloe; A Gold Sorrow; Griffith’s Double; All or Nothing; A Questioning of Cain; The Lover’s Creed; A Stern Chase; The Queen’s Token; Buried in the Deep; et al.; translations incl. Pictorial Life in Japan; The Government of of M. Thiers [French Republic]. JMC selects from A Golden Sorrow.

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Stephen Brown, Ireland in Fiction (Dublin: Maunsel 1919), claims that she wrote 27 novels. lists briefly only No Sign [1876], founded on Richard Burke, hanged in Clonmel for wife murder; she became Catholic in 1858. Another novel is founded on the Kirwan case on Ireland’s Eye; see Bodkin’s Trials and Denis Johnston’s Strange Occurrences on Ireland’s Eye [as infra].

Elaine Showalter, A Literature of their Own (1984), Bio-note, 1803-1908; Mrs Cashel Hoey; b. Dublin, first of eight children of a clerk; self-educated, m. 1846; 2 dgs.; began journalism in 1853; husband d. 1855; went to London, remarried 1858, to Irish journalist; converted to Catholicism; Civil List, 1892; 11 novels, the first, House of Cards (1868).

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Notes
Extra refs: A. N. Jeffares cites No Sign (1876) [letter to BS]; Mary Manning has expressed an admiration for Hoey’s work.

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