Anne Manning (novelist)

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Anne Manning (17 February 1807 – 14 September 1879) was a British novelist. Born in London, England, Manning was an active writer during the Victorian age, having 51 works to her credit. Though antiquated in style, her writings were considered to have some literary charm and a delicate historical imagination.

Background and life[edit]

Manning initially produced two books of non-fiction, followed by her first fictional work Village Belles (first published in 1833, though some modern sources mistakenly say 1838). Her best known works were initially printed as serials in Sharpe's Magazine and later published in book form. She is best known for The Maiden and Married Life of Mary Powell, afterwards Mistress Milton, which first appeared anonymously in 1849 and was later just referred to as Mary Powell. It is derived from the story of the young wife of John Milton. She is also known for The Household of Sir Thomas More, a picture of More's home life in the form of a diary written by his daughter Margaret.

Mary Powell was so popular that her subsequent works simply identified Manning as "The Author of Mary Powell," otherwise remaining anonymous.[1][2] A number of sources subsequently attributed the pseudonym of "Mary Powell" to Hannah Mary Rathbone, whose The Diary of Lady Willoughby (1844) was similar in style to Manning, and erroneously suggested that Manning had at some point married and become Mrs. Rathbone.[1][3] Manning and Rathbone both released a number of works which used Caslon Old Face font, to add a visual element to the notion that their works were actual diaries of long ago persons.[4][5]

Manning never married, and was considered a chronic invalid, living for many years at Reigate Hill in Surrey until her mother died, and then at sister's house near Tunbridge Wells, where she died in 1879.[6][7]

Although inexpensive reprints of Mary Powell and The Household of Sir Thomas More were published into the 1930s, Manning's archaic style has long since fallen out of favor.[8]

Selected bibliography[edit]

Manning authored over 50 books,[6][9] including:

  • A Sister's Gift (1826) (non-fiction)
  • Stories from the History of Italy (1831) (non-fiction)
  • Village Belles (1833) (first novel)
  • The Maiden and Married Life of Mary Powell, afterwards Mistress Milton (1849)
  • The Household of Sir Thomas More (1852)
  • The Colloquies of Edward Osborne (1852) (regarding Edward Osborne)[10]
  • Cherry & Violet (1853)
  • The Adventures of Caliph Haroun Alraschid (1855)
  • The Old Chelsea Bun-House (1855) (in reference to the Chelsea Bun House)
  • The Good Old Times (1857)
  • Deborah's Diary (1858) (a sequel to Mary Powell, in the voice of Milton and Powell's daughter)
  • The Ladies of Bever Hollow (1858)
  • The Year Nine. A Tale of the Tyrol (1858)
  • Poplar House Academy (1859)
  • A Noble Purpose Nobly Won (1862)
  • The Duchess of Trajetto (1863)
  • An Interrupted Wedding (1864)[11]
  • The Lincolnshire Tragedy: Passages in the Life of the Faire Gospeller, Mistress Anne Askew (1866) (about Anne Askew)
  • Jacques Bonneval, or the Days of the Dragonnades (1867)


  1. ^ a b Room, Adrian Dictionary of Pseudonyms, p. 387 (5th ed. 2010)
  2. ^ (14 February 1880). Memoriam: Anne Manning, Author of "Mary Powell", by the author of "Moravian Life in the Black Forest", Englishwoman's Review
  3. ^ (October 1901). Anne Manning - A Query, Library Journal, p. 730
  4. ^ Hasell, Duncan Ingraham. Material Fictions: Readers and Texuality in the British Novel, 1814--1852, p. 177-78 (2009 Ph.D. dissertation)
  5. ^ Simmons, James. C. Thackeray's Esmond and Anne Manning's "Spurious Antiques", in The Victorian Newsletter, Fall 1972, No. 42, pp. 22-24
  6. ^ a b Sutherland, John. The Longman Companion to Victorian Fiction, p. 411
  7. ^ Women Novelists of Queen Victoria's Reign, pp. 211-16 (biographical sketch by Charlotte Mary Yonge) (1897)
  8. ^ Mitchell, Sally, ed. Victorian Britain: An Encyclopedia, p. 476 (1988, Routledge 2011)
  9. ^ The World's Greatest Books, Volume 6, p. 155 (see note) (1910)
  10. ^ (20 November 1852). The Colloquies of Edward Osborne (review), The Spectator, p. 17
  11. ^ Bateson, F.W., ed. The Cambridge bibliography of English literature, Vol. III 1800-1900, p. 495 (1969 ed.)

External links[edit]

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainCousin, John William (1910). A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature. London: J. M. Dent & Sons – via Wikisource.