Rosa Nouchette Carey

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Rosa Nouchette Carey (27 September 1840 – 9 July 1909) was an English children's novelist.

Life[edit]

Born in Stratford-le-Bow, Rosa was the sixth of the seven children of William Henry Carey (d. 1867), shipbroker, and his wife, Maria Jane (d. 1870), daughter of Edward J. Wooddill. She was brought up in London at Tryons Road, Hackney, Middlesex and in South Hampstead. She was educated at home and at the Ladies' Institute, St John's Wood, where she was a contemporary and friend of the German-born poet Mathilde Blind (1841–1896). Her first novel, Nellie's Memories (1868), arose out of stories she had told to her younger sister.

As her writing career expanded after the death of her parents, so did her family responsibilities. When her mother died in 1870, she and an unmarried sister went to keep house for a widowed brother and look after his children. Later the sister married and the brother died, leaving Carey in sole charge of the children. Among her close friends was the prolific novelist Mrs Henry Wood. The poet Helen Marion Burnside came to live with her in about 1875, and Carey's sister returned to keep house for them after her husband died. Carey died of lung cancer at her home in Putney, London on 19 July 1909.[1]

Writings[edit]

Nellie's Memories appears to have sold over 50,000 copies.[2] Most of her 33 three-decker novels told pious, domestic stories, thought of as wholesome fiction for girls in the last third of the 19th century. Often sentimental, they reflect the values of the period, "treating housekeeping and woman's caring role as real work." However, her 1869 novel Wee Wifie features vitriol-throwing, opium addiction, and hereditary insanity.[3] Also notable are Carey's sympathetic portrayals of women suffering from mental illness. Several novels suggests this can be ensured by "control of the will", as advocated by the psychiatrist Henry Maudsley.[4] One of her books, Heriot's Choice (1879), was serialised in Charlotte M. Yonge's magazine The Monthly Packet and another, Mistress of Brae Farm (1896) in Argosy.[5] She was a less intellectual, religious and humorous writer than Yonge, but placed her characters shrewdly in the populous urban, book-buying middle class.

Carey was on the staff of the Girl's Own Paper, for which she wrote eight serials. She also penned a laudatory biographical collection of Twelve Notable Good Women of the XIXth Century (1899), including Queen Victoria and the Quaker philanthropist and reformer Elizabeth Fry.[6]

The London publisher Macmillan had 18 novels by Carey on their Three-and-Sixpenny Library list in 1902.[7] Some of her books were still being reprinted by the Religious Tract Society in the 1920s.[8] These days there are secondhand and print-on-demand copies available.[9]

Carey is no longer thought to have been the author of four thrillers published under the pseudonym Le Voleur in the 1890s.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ ODNB entry: Retrieved 31 May 2011. Subscription required.
  2. ^ ODNB entry quoting a publisher's advertisement claiming sales of 52,000.
  3. ^ Helen C. Black Notable Women Authors of the Day edited by Troy C. Bassett & Catherine Pope (Victorian Secrets, 2011)
  4. ^ Elaine Cartnell: Carey, Rosa Nouchette 1840 – 1909. In: The Cambridge Guide to Women's Writing in English (Cambridge: CUP, 1999). Retrieved 5 January 2013.
  5. ^ Elaine Hartnell...
  6. ^ ODNB entry.
  7. ^ Advertisement at the back of a 1902 reprint of Charlotte M. Yonge's Countess Kate and The Stokesley Secret. The titles are Nellie's Memories, Wee Wifie, Barbara Heathcote's Trial, Robert Orde's Atonement, Wooed and Married, Heriot's Choice, Queenie's Whim, Mary St. John, Not Like Other Girls, For Lilias, Uncle Max, Only the Governess, Lover or Friend?, Basil Lyndhurst, Sir Godfrey's Grand-daughters, The Old Old Story, Mistress of Brae Farm, and Mrs. Romney, and But Men Must Work.
  8. ^ British Library Integrated Catalogue: Retrieved 31 May 2011.
  9. ^ E. g. here: [1].
  10. ^ Crisp, Jane: Rosa Nouchette Carey (1840–1909): a bibliography.

External links and written sources[edit]