J. Fitzgerald Molloy (1858-1908)
[Joseph Fitzgerald Molloy; pseud. Ewan Wilding]; b. New Ross, Co. Wexford; son of Pierce and Catherine [née Byrne]; ed. St. Kieran's College, Kilkenny; intended for the church; became organist of Augustinian Friary, New Ross; travelled to London with letters of introduction to S. C. Hall, 1878; found employment at Halls Art Journal; acted as secretary to Sir Charles Gavan Duffy, and secured a post in the office of the Agent-General for New Zealand through his influence; issued Songs of Passion and Pain (1881); was best-known for Court Life Below Stairs, or London under the First Georges, 2 vols. (1882-83), followed by London under the Last Georges (1883), and London under the Four Georges, 4 vols. (1885); he issued a number of theatrical lives and studies incl. The Life and Adventures of Peg Woffington (1884; [rep.] Downey 1897); The Life and Adventures of Edmund Kean (1888); also Romance of the Irish Stage (1897), which enjoyed a very large sale;
his social novels written for Temple Bar, English Illustrated Magazine, Graphic, and Illustrated London News, et al., incl. Merely Players (1881), It is No Wonder (1881), What has Thou Done? (1883) - in which the ambitious Maurice Fitzmaurice plays false with his child-hood friend Madge, who loves him; That Villain Romeo (1886), A Modern Magician (1887), An Excellent Knave (1893) and His Wifes Soul (1893), with a second edn. as Sweet is Revenge (1895); as a novelist he specialised in emotional climaxes; his non-fiction incls. The Faiths of the Peoples, 2 vols. (1892), an account of the authors visits to various places of worship in London, and to a Moslem feast at Algiers; The Most Gorgeous Lady Blessington (1896); Romance of the Irish Stage, 2 vols. (1897); A Justified Sinner (1897); The Russian Court in the 18th century (1905); Sir Joshua and His Circle (1906), on Reynolds; and, posthumously, Victoria Regina ; he entertained both Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw in London; some letters incl. among Downey papers, NLI. ODNB DIW SUTH
[ top ]
|Biography & criticism|
- Court Life Below Stairs: or, London under the first Georges, 1714-1760, 4 vols. (London: Hurst and Blackett 1882-83); and Do. [new edn.] 2 vols. (London: Ward & Downey, 1885);
- The Faiths of the Peoples, 2 vols. (London: Ward & Downey 1892);
- Famous Plays: with a discourse by way of prologue on the playhouses of the restoration (London: Ward & Downey, 1886), xvi, 313pp. [ded. to Henry Irving; contains Congreves Love for love; Addisons Cato; John Gays Beggars opera; Dr. Johnsons Irene; Oliver Goldsmiths She stoops to conquer; Richard Brinsley Sheridans Rivals and School for scandal; Sheridan Knowles Virginius, and The hunchback; also plays of Lord Lytton];
- The Life and Adventures of Peg Woffington: with pictures of the period in which she lived, 2 vols. (London: Hurst & Blackett 1884), xiv, 293pp.; Do. [another edn.] (London: Hurst & Blackett), viii, 284pp., port.; Do. [3rd edn.] (London: Hurst & Blackett 1887), xv, 351pp.; and Do., [new & rev. edn.] (London: Downey, 1897), viii, 340pp.;
- Royalty Restored: or, London under Charles II (London: Ward & Downey, 1885), ill. [front. port.];
- The Life and Adventures of Edmund Kean, Tragedian, 1787-1833, 2 vols. (London: Ward & Downey 1888);
- ed. & intro., Memoirs of Mary [Darby] Robinson (1758-1800)  (London: Gibbings & Co.; Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott 1895), xv, 251pp: ill.;
- The Most Gorgeous Lady Blessington, 2 vols. (London: Ward & Downey 1896);
- The Romance of the Irish Stage: with pictures of the Irish capital in the eighteenth century (London: Downey & Co. 1897; rep. 1904);
- The Queens Comrade: The Life and Times of Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, 2 vols. (London: Hutchinson & Co. 1901);
- The Sailor King: William the Fourth: his court and his subjects (London: Hutchinson & Co, 1903);
- The Russian Court in the Eighteenth century, 2 vols. (London: Hutchinson, 1905);
- Sir Joshua and his circle [1 vol.] (London: Hutchinson 1906);
- Victoria Regina: her court and her subjects: from her accession to the death of the Prince Consort, 2 vols (London: Hutchinson & Co., 1908).
- Merely Players, 2 vols. (London: Tinsley Brothers 1881);
- It is No Wonder: A Story of Bohemian life, 3 vols. (London: Hurst & Blackett, 1882);
- That Villain Romeo (London: Ward & Downey 1886);
- A Modern Magician: A Romance, 3 vols. (London: Ward & Downey 1887);
- What Hast Thou Done?: A Novel, 3 vols. (London: Hurst & Blackett 1883);
- How Came He Dead? (NY: J. W. Lovell );
- An Excellent Knave (NY: Lovell Coryell & Co. ), and Do., 3 vols. (London: Hutchinson; 1893);
- Sweet is Revenge; or, His Wifes Soul [Broadway Ser. No. 1] NY: J. A. Taylor & Co. ), and Do. as His Wifes Soul (London: Hutchinson 1893), rep. [cheap edn.] as Sweet is Revenge; or, His Wifes Soul (1895);
- A Justified Sinner (London: Downey & Co. 1897).
[ top ]
[because literature requires no special training, but wants vivid imagination and fluency - tw gifts Irishmen almost always possess; they find it suits them, and serves as a refuge from physical labur or business, things they detest and despise.' (What Has Thou Done?, London 1883, pp.156-57; quoted in Rolf Loeber & Magda Loeber, A Guide to Irish Fiction, 1650-1900, Dublin: Four Courts Press 2006, [Intro.], p.l.
[ top ]
John Sutherland, The Longman Companion to Victorian Fiction (Longmans 1988; rep. 1989), intended for Catholic Church; drawn to music and lit. pursuits; emig. London, 1878, with letters to Mr and Mrs SC Hall; priv. sec. to Sir Charles Gavan Duffy, and position secured by him in office of agent-gen. for New Zealand; biography and history, mostly Hanoverian; novels serialised in London and Liverpool papers incl. Merely Players (1881); crossed love in high places; It is No Wonder (1881), a story of bohemian life; What Hast thou Done? (1883); That Villain Romeo (1886); A Modern Magician (1887), a Corelli-style story of the occult; An Excellent Knave (1893); His Wifes Soul (1893), a contemp. melodrama of crime, death and distraught spouses; A Justified Sinner (1897), story of deceit in love with tremendous emotional climax that was his speciality. [ODNB article by W.H.O.F.].
[ top ]
Rolf Loeber & Magda Loeber, A Guide to Irish Fiction, 1650-1900, Dublin: Four Courts Press 2006 [Intro.], p.l, which gives plot-summary of What Has Thou Done? (1883) [some biog. and bibl. details as supra.]
Hyland Catalogue (1995) lists Romance of the Irish Stage, 2 vols. (1st US edn. 1892); The Faiths of the Peoples, 2 vols. (1st edn. 1892).
Belfast Central Public Library holds The Most Gorgeous Lady Blessington (1896); The Romance of the Irish Stage (1897). UUC LIB holds The Romance of the Irish Stage, 2 vols. (1897).
[ top ]