Eliza Humphreys

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Eliza Margaret Jane Humphreys (14 June 1850 – 1 January 1938) (born Gollan) was an English novelist.

Biography[edit]

Eliza Margaret Jane Gollan was born at Gollanfield in Inverness-shire, the daughter of John Gollan, a Scottish businessman. Her father travelled extensively, visiting India and Australia and Eliza received little formal education, however she was able to use her experience of Australia to write a semi-autobiographical novel ‘Sheba’ in 1889, using the pen-name ‘Rita’. Another novel, 'Episodes,' was originally published using the pen-name 'E. Jayne Gilbert.'

Eliza was married twice: first to the Anglo-German musician Karl Booth, with whom she had three sons; second to Anglo-Irish singer William Humphreys, with whom she had a daughter. The unhappy first marriage provided Eliza with material for 4 novels ‘Saba Macdonald’ (1906) ‘The Grandmothers’ (1927), ‘The Wand’ring Darling’ (1928) and ‘Jean and Jeanette’ (1929). Eliza spent her married life in Cork, Ireland, Bournemouth and Bath, Somerset. In 1910, she was listed as one of the celebrities of Bournemouth, with books published in French, German and Italian; at the time she was undertaking a tour of America.

The dedication in the first edition of 'Saba Macdonald' reads: To "THE EMANACIPATED WOMAN" who owes her present freedom of mind, morals, and pastimes, to such repression and tyranny as formed the discipline of youth in days such as this book commemorates.[1]

Writing as ‘Rita’, Eliza was prolific (she wrote 120 published works) and popular (‘Peg the Rake’ (1894) sold 160,000 copies). Her stories often featured aristocratic characters, and exotic settings. Eliza was a woman earning by her own success, and she helped to found the Writers’ Club for Women. She was critical of ideas being imported from America.

After meeting Madame Blavatsky she became interested in Theosophy and wrote ‘Calvary: A Tragedy of Sects’ (1909) exploring religious themes. This was one of her books that was made into a film. After the First World War Eliza struggled financially, as her husband became an invalid and her style of writing went out of fashion. However Queen Mary liked her books and ordered a complete set.

Eliza’s final book was an autobiography ‘Recollections of a Literary Life’ (1936).

Literature[edit]

"Rita" The Forgotten Author. By Paul Jones L.R.P.S. can be purchased from www.amazon.com. and www.amazon.co.uk. It has been meticulously researched, and refers to many sources. 193 pages, with many illustrations, and full bibliographies of Rita's prose, plays, films, and even her music. (The above Wikipedia biography is not by Paul Jones L.R.P.S.) "Rita's" A Man of no Importance is also available from www.blurb.co.uk and www.amazon.com; but DO NOT purchase this novel from Amazon.co.uk, as the company selling it on this site has it listed at a greatly inflated price. A Man of no Importance is set in Salwych, which "Rita" based strongly on Droitwich Spa in Worcestershire, after visiting the town for treatment at its brine baths, in 1906.

Novels and Short Stories[edit]

  • Vivienne (1877) serialized as 'The Triumph of Love' (1914)
  • Like Dian's Kiss (1878)
  • Countess Daphne - A Musical Romance (1880)
  • My Lady Coquette (1881)
  • A Sinless Secret (1881)
  • She is Woman, Therefore to be Won (short story) (1881)
  • Faustine (1882)
  • Dame Durden (1883)
  • After Long Grief and Pain (1883)
  • Two Bad Blue Eyes (1884)
  • My Lord Conceit (1884)
  • Fragoletta (1885)
  • Corinna (1885)
  • Gretchen (Published elsewhere as 'Adrian Lyle') (1887)
  • The Seventh Dream (1888)
  • Darby and Joan (1888)
  • The Mystery of a Turkish Bath (1888)
  • Miss Kate; or, Confessions of a Caretaker (1889)
  • Sheba. A Study of Girlhood (1889)
  • A Vagabond Lover (1889)
  • The Doctor's Secret (1890)
  • A Society Scandal (1890)
  • The Laird o'Cockpen (1891)
  • Brought Together. A volume of stories (1892)
  • Asenath of the Ford (1892)
  • The Fate of Fenella (1892) Ch. VII - "So Near -- So Far Away"
  • The Countess Pharamond (1893)
  • The Man in Possession (1893)
  • Naughty Mrs. Gordon. A romance of society (1894)
  • A Husband of No Importance (1894)
  • The Ending of My Day. The story of a stormy life. (1894)
  • Peg the Rake (1894)
  • Master Wilberforce. A study of a boy. (1895)
  • A Woman in It. A sketch of feminine misadventure. (1895)
  • A Gender in Satin (1895)
  • Vignettes (1896)
  • Kitty the Rag (1896)
  • Joan and Mrs. Carr (1896)
  • Good Mrs Hypocrite (1897)
  • The Sinner, serialized as The Grinding Mills of God (1897)
  • Stephen Wynthorpe's Presentiment (short story) (1897)
  • Adrienne: A Romance of French Life (1898)
  • Petticoat Loose, serialized as A Daughter of the People (1898)
  • The Voice on the Stairs (short story) (1898)
  • An Old Rogue's Tragedy (1899)
  • Vanity. The confessions of a Court modiste (1900)
  • A Woman of Samaria, serialized as The Mystery of the Dark House (1900)
  • The Bohemians (short story) (1900)
  • Prince Charming. A fantastic episode in court dress (1901)
  • The Sin of Jasper Standish (1901)
  • The Ending of my Day (1901)
  • A Jilt's Journal (1901)
  • The Spell of The Yarrow (short story) 1901)
  • The Lie Circumspect (1902), serialized as A Craven Heart (1902)
  • Prince Charming, etc. (1903)
  • Souls. A Comedy of Intentions (1903)
  • The Valley of Desolation (short story) (1903)
  • The Jesters (1904)
  • The Silent Woman (1904) serialized as The Mystery of the 'Headless Woman' Inn (1904)
  • The Sin and Scandal of the 'Smart' Set (1904)
  • Vanity! (1904)
  • The Masqueraders (1904)
  • Valley of Desolation (short story) (1904)
  • Queer Lady Judas (1905)
  • The Baths of Salwych (short story) (1905)
  • Saba Macdonald (1906)
  • Personal Opinions Publicly Expressed (1907)
  • A Man of no Importance (1907)
  • The Pointing Finger (1907)
  • The Millionaire Girl and other stories (1908) comprising:
  1. The Millionaire Girl
  2. The Other Woman
  3. The Boots at No. 40
  4. The Passing of Miss Flint
  5. The Crank
  6. Riviera studies: The brave Mariana, The Tremblement at Bussana, The Haunted Bedroom, The Sealed Door
  7. The treacherous mountain
  8. The valley of desolation
  9. A Test of Endurance
  • Betty Brent, Typist (1908)
  • Calvary. A tragedy of sects. (1909)
  • That is to say--. [Tales.] (1909)
  • The Faithful Billium (short story) (1909)
  • The Story of a Soul (short story) (1910)
  • America-through English eyes (1911)
  • Only an Actress (1911)
  • Half a Truth (1911)
  • Grim Justice. The study of a conscience. (1912)
  • Edelweiss (1912)
  • Two Detrimentals (short story) (1912)
  • The Mystic and The Colonel (short story) (1912)
  • The House Opposite (1913)
  • A Grey Life. A romance of modern Bath. (1913)
  • The Young Horatius (1914)
  • The Simpleton (short story) (1914)
  • The Ink-Slinger (1915)
  • Unmasking the Hun - What the War has Revealed (Short article) (1916)
  • The Wrong End of Religion (1917)
  • The Rubbish Heap (1917)
  • Diana of the Ephesians: A Novel. (1919)
  • The Philanthropic Burglar (1919)
  • The Make-believers (1920)
  • When the Wicked Man, and other stories. (1920)
  • The Iron Stair. A romance of Dartmoor. (1921)
  • The Best Lover [and other tales]. (1921)
  • Pat the Pedlar (1922)
  • The Road to Anywhere (1922)
  • Conjugal Rights, and other stories. (1922)
  • The Man Who Understood (1923)
  • The Ungrown-Ups. (1923)
  • Episodes. By Rita. Originally published as by E. Jayne Gilbert. (1925)
  • The Farm of Melchizedek (1925)
  • The Great “Perhaps.” (1926)
  • Our Miss Acadee (1926)
  • The Grandmothers (1927)
  • The Prince Errant, and other stories. (1928)
  • The Wand'ring Darling (1928)
  • Jean and Jeannette (1929)
  • Quarrelsome Corner (1930)
  • The New Poor. A romance of to-day. (1931)
  • The Naughty Grandfather (1932)
  • Six Mistresses, etc. (1932)
  • The Ladies of Moyallo (1933)
  • The Pointing Finger (1934)
  • The Marriage Comedy (1934)
  • Recollections of a literary life (1936)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Saba Macdonald, by "Rita" 1906.

External links[edit]