- Jane Porter is also the name of the romantic interest of Tarzan in the novels of Edgar Rice Burroughs.
Jane Porter, from The Ladies' Monthly Museum
January 17, 1776
Bailey in the city of Durham
|Died||May 24, 1850(aged 74)|
|Citizenship||Kingdom of Great Britain|
|Notable work(s)||The Scottish Chiefs|
Life and work 
Jane Porter was an avid reader. Said[who?] to rise at four in the morning in order to read and write, she read the whole of Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene while still a child. Tall and beautiful as she grew up, her grave and preoccupied air earned her the nickname 'La Penserosa', possibly a reference recalling the poem Il Penseroso by John Milton, meaning 'a brooding or melancholy person or personality'.
After her father's death, her family moved to Edinburgh, where Walter Scott was a regular visitor. Some time afterward the family moved to London, where the sisters became acquainted with a number of literary women: Elizabeth Inchbald, Anna Laetitia Barbauld, Hannah More, Elizabeth Hamilton, Elizabeth Benger and Mrs Champion de Crespigny.
Her novel Thaddeus of Warsaw (1803) is one of the earliest examples of the historical novel, and it went through a dozen editions. Based on Polish-refugee eyewitness accounts of the doomed Polish independence struggle of the 1790s, the book was praised by Tadeusz (Thaddeus) Kościuszko, also a character in the novel.
The Scottish Chiefs (1810), a novel about William Wallace, was also a success (the French version was banned by Napoleon), and it has remained popular with Scottish children. The Pastor's Fireside (1815) was a story about the later Stuarts.
Porter wrote a number of novels as well as two plays, which were less successful. Her play, Switzerland (1819), which had Edmund Kean and Charles Kemble in the principal roles, closed after one performance. A later play, Owen, Prince of Powys (1822), closed after three performances.
Porter also contributed to various periodicals.
A romance, Sir Edward Seaward's Diary (1831), purporting to be a record of actual circumstances, and edited by Jane, was written by her brother, Dr. William Ogilvie Porter, as letters in the University of Durham Porter archives show.
Jane and Anna Maria Porter, who both lived in London and Surrey later on, were sisters of Sir Robert Ker Porter, the historical painter.
- Iain McCalman Ed. (2009) "Porter, Jane", An Oxford Companion to the Romantic Age, Oxford University Press
- The Oxford Companion to English Literature (2011), edited by Dinah Birch, Oxford University Press
- McMillan, Dorothy. "Porter, Jane." in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
- Todd, Janet (ed.) "Porter, Jane." in British Women Writers: a critical reference guide. London: Routledge, 1989. 542-543.
|About Jane Porter|
|By Jane Porter|
- The Scottish Chiefs audiobook at the Internet Archives (Note:In this reading, some of the pronunciations of Scottish place-names are non-standard.)
- Works by Jane Porter at Project Gutenberg
- Archival material relating to Jane Porter listed at the UK National Archives
- Porter Family Collection at the Kenneth Spencer Research Library at the University of Kansas
Jane Porter biographies