Anne Knight (children's writer)

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For this author's namesake, the social reformer, see Anne Knight.

Anne Knight (born Anne Waspe in Woodbridge, Suffolk on 28 October 1792, died there on 11 December 1860) was a Quaker children's writer and educationalist.

Life[edit]

Anne was the eldest of the eight children of Jonathan Waspe (c. 1756–1818), a leather cutter, and his wife Phebe Gibbs (1761–1851). She married a cousin and fellow Quaker James Knight (1794–1820) of Southwark, but returned to Woodbridge after his early death.

By 1826, Anne Knight was keeping a Woodbridge school. She was a friend of the poet Bernard Barton, who lodged with her and her sisters,[1] and she is therefore mentioned several times in letters to him from Charles Lamb: "Your book... we cannot thank you for more sincerely than for the introduction you favoured us with to Anne Knight."[2] "So A. K. keeps a school... she teaches nothing wrong, I'll answer for't."[3]

She died at her Woodbridge home on 11 December 1860 and was interred in the Quaker burial ground there.[4]

Writings[edit]

Anne Knight was the author of several children's books, some of which have been erroneously attributed to her Quaker namesake and contemporary Anne Knight (1786–1862), a campaigner for women's rights.[5] They include School-Room Lyrics (1846), and probably Poetic Gleanings (1827), Mornings in the Library (London, c. 1828, with an introductory poem by Bernard Barton), Mary Gray. A tale for little girls (also including a Barton verse, London, 1831),[6] and Lyriques Français: pour la jeunesse. Morceaux choisis par A. K. (3rd e., Norwich, 1869).[7]

Knight's verses are well crafted and her stories well told, but they exhibit a didacticism that does not suit modern tastes: "'Though these animals [rabbits] are so small,' continued Mrs. Gray, 'they are found very serviceable to man. Their flesh is good to eat, and the soft grey fur, growing close to the skin, is made into hats, when mixed with the beautiful fine down of the beaver, a curious animal found in North America'" (Mary Gray, p. 11).

References[edit]

  1. ^ E. V. Lucas: Bernard Barton and His Friends (London: E. Hicks, 1893), p. 11. [1] Retrieved 4 November 2010.
  2. ^ Alfred Ainger, ed.: The Letters of Charles Lamb. Letter CCLXV to Bernard Barton, 2 July 1825. [2] Retrieved 6 November 2010.
  3. ^ Percy Fitzgerald: The Life, Letters and Writings of Charles Lamb, p. 326. Retrieved 6 November 2010.
  4. ^ Edward H. Milligan: Knight, Anne (1786–1862). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: OUP, 2004) Retrieved 4 November 2010
  5. ^ Edward H. Milligan: Knight, Anne...
  6. ^ Retrieved 6 November 2010.
  7. ^ Bibliographic details from British Library Integrated Catalogue.