Harriet Parr

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Harriet Parr (1828-1900) was a British author of the Victorian era, who wrote under the pseudonym Holme Lee.

Biography[edit]

The daughter of a commercial traveler, Parr was born in the English city of York on 31 January 1828. She never married and worked initially as a governess before finding success as a writer with her first book, Maude Talbot, in 1854. From then until 1883, Parr produced approximately one novel a year, all published by the London firm Smith, Elder & Co., under the pen name Holme Lee. Charles Dickens, having enjoyed one of Parr’s early books, purchased three stories from her for the Christmas numbers of his weekly magazines.[1] One of these included a hymn that would later be republished in various Protestant hymnals in Britain and the United States.[2] Parr also wrote several volumes of fairy tales for children, plus some works of non-fiction, most of the latter under her real name.

She lived for many years at Shanklin on the Isle of Wight, where she died on 18 February 1900.[3]

Reception[edit]

Although Parr is now—like most Victorian authors—almost entirely forgotten, her work sold well during her lifetime and was generally well reviewed. Many of her books went through more than one edition, and several were also published in America. At least one was picked up by the Leipzig firm of Bernhard Tauchnitz, which specialized in inexpensive English-language paperbacks for travelers. Aiding Parr’s success was the fact that she was a favorite author of the founder of Victorian London’s largest lending library, Charles Edward Mudie, “to whose sense of decency her fiction strictly conformed with its depictions of shy maidens and their decent love problems.”[4]

Writings[edit]

  • Maude Talbot, 3 vols. (1854)
  • Gilbert Massenger (1855)
  • Thorney Hall: a story of an old family (1855)
  • “The Poor Pensioner,” Household Words (1855), extra Christmas number (uncredited)
  • Kathie Brande; a fireside history of a quiet life, 3 vols. (1856; reissued 1860, 1869; New York, 1857)
  • Poor Dick’s story in “Beguilement of the boats,” Household Words (1856), extra Christmas number (uncredited)
  • Sylvan Holt’s daughter, 3 vols. (London, 1858, reissued 1865; New York, 1885)
  • Against wind and tide, 3 vols. (London, 1859, reissued 1862, 1869)
  • Hawksview: a family history of our own times (1859; New York, 1860)
  • Legends from fairy land: narrating the history of Prince Glee and Princess Trill (1860)
  • The Wortlebank diary, and some old stories from Kathie Brande’s portfolio, 3 vols. (1860)
  • “The club-night” (with Charles Dickens, Charles Alston Collins, Robert Buchanan, H. F. Chorley, and Amelia B. Edwards), All the year round (1860), extra Christmas number
  • Warp and woof; or, the reminiscences of Doris Fletcher, 3 vols. (1861)
  • The wonderful adventures of Tuflongbo and his elfin company, in their journey with little Content through the enchanted forest (1861)
  • Tuflongbo's journey in search of ogres (1862)
  • Annis Warleigh's fortunes, 3 vols. (1863)
  • In the silver age: essays—that is, dispersed meditations, 2 vols. (1864; reissued 1865, 1866, 1877)
  • The life and death of Jeanne d’Arc, called the Maid, 2 vols. (1866) (as Harriet Parr)
  • Mr. Wynyard’s ward, 2 vols. (1867)
  • Basil Godfrey’s caprice, 3 vols. (1868)
  • Holme Lee’s fairy tales (London & New York, 1868; reissued 1869)
  • For richer, for poorer, 3 vols. (1870)
  • Maurice and Eugénie de Guérin (1870) (as Harriet Parr)
  • The beautiful Miss Barrington, 3 vols. (1871)
  • Country stories, old and new, in prose and verse (1872)
  • Echoes of a famous year (1872) (as Harriet Parr)
  • Katherine’s trial (1873; Leipzig, 1873; New York, 1881)
  • The vicissitudes of Bessie Fairfax, 3 vols. (1874)
  • This work-a-day world, 3 vols. (1875)
  • Ben Milner’s wooing (1876)
  • Straightforward, 3 vols. (1878)
  • Mrs. Denys of Cote, 3 vols. (1879–80)
  • A poor squire, 2 vols. (1882)
  • Loving and serving, 3 vols. (1883)

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Lillian Nayder, Unequal partners: Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins, and Victorian authorship (Ithaca, NY, 2002), xi, 28, 36, 133n.
  2. ^ John Julian, A dictionary of hymnology, 2d ed. (London, 1907), 882.
  3. ^  Polard, Albert Frederick (1901). "Parr, Harriet". In Sidney Lee. Dictionary of National Biography, 1901 supplement​. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 
  4. ^ John Sutherland, The Stanford companion to Victorian fiction (Stanford, 1989), 491.