Augusta Webster

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Augusta Webster (30 January 1837 - 5 September 1894) born in Poole, Dorset as Julia Augusta Davies, was an English poet, dramatist, essayist, and translator. The daughter of Vice-admiral George Davies and Julia Hume she spent her younger years on board the ship he was stationed, the Griper.

She studied Greek at home, taking a particular interest in Greek drama, and went on to study at the Cambridge School of Art. She published her first volume of poetry in 1860 under the pen name Cecil Homes.

In 1863 she married Thomas Webster, a fellow at Trinity College, Cambridge. They had a daughter, Augusta Georgiana, who married Reverend George Theobald Bourke, a younger son of the Joseph Bourke, 3rd Earl of Mayo.

Much of Webster's writing explored the condition of women, and she was a strong advocate of women's right to vote, working for the London branch of the National Committee for Women's Suffrage.

Webster was the first female writer to hold elective office, having been elected to the London School Board in 1879 and 1885.[1] In 1885 she travelled to Italy in an attempt to improve her failing health. She died on September 5, 1894, at 57.

During her lifetime her writing was acclaimed and she was considered by some the successor to Elizabeth Barrett Browning. After her death, however, her reputation quickly declined. Since the mid-1990s she has gained increasing critical attention from scholars such as Isobel Armstrong, Angela Leighton, and Christine Sutphin, Her best-known poems include three long dramatic monologues spoken by women: "A Castaway," "Circe", and "The Happiest Girl In The World", as well as a posthumously published sonnet-sequence, "Mother and Daughter".

Literary works[edit]

Poetry

  • Blanche Lisle: And Other Poems. 1860
  • Lilian Gray. 1864
  • Dramatic Studies. 1866
  • A Woman Sold and Other Poems. 1867
  • Portraits 1870
  • A Book of Rhyme 1881
  • Mother and Daughter 1895 [2]

Translations into verse

  • Prometheus Bound 1866
  • Medea 1868
  • Yu-Pe-Ya's Lute. A Chinese Tale in English Verse. 1874

Plays

  • The Auspicious Day 1874
  • Disguises 1879
  • In a Day 1882
  • The Sentence 1887

Novel

  • Lesley's Guardians 1864

Essays

  • A Housewife's Opinions 1878 [3]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Augusta Webster, 1837-1894 http://rmc.library.cornell.edu/womenLit/learned_poets/Webster_L.htm
  2. ^ Published after her death by William Michael Rossetti as Mother & Daughter. An uncompleted sonnet-sequence .. With an introductory note by W.M. Rossetti. To which are added Seven, her only other, Sonnets. London, Macmillan & Co.
  3. ^ Webster advocated woman's suffrage and offered her thoughts on topics relevant to married women in this collection of essays. Crawford, p.703

References[edit]