Ellen Wood (author)

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Ellen Wood
Ellen Price Wood small.jpg
Portrait of Ellen Wood by Reginald Easton
Born (1814-01-17)17 January 1814
Worcester, England
Died 10 February 1887(1887-02-10) (aged 73)
Notable works East Lynne (1861)

Ellen Wood (17 January 1814 – 10 February 1887), was an English novelist, better known as Mrs. Henry Wood. She is perhaps remembered most for her 1861 novel East Lynne, but many of her books became international best-sellers, being widely received in the United States and surpassing Charles Dickens' fame in Australia.[1]


Ellen Price was born in Worcester in 1814. In 1836 she married Henry Wood, who worked in the banking and shipping trade in Dauphiné in the South of France, where they lived for 20 years.[2] On the failure of Wood's business, the family (including four children) returned to England and settled in Upper Norwood near London, where Ellen Wood turned to writing. This supported the family (Henry Wood died in 1866). She wrote over 30 novels, many of which (especially East Lynne) enjoyed remarkable popularity. Among the best known are Danesbury House, Oswald Cray, Mrs. Halliburton's Troubles, The Channings, Lord Oakburn's Daughters and The Shadow of Ashlydyat. In 1867, Wood purchased the English magazine Argosy, which had been founded by Alexander Strahan in 1865.[3] Her writing tone would be described as "conservative and Christian,"[4] occasionally expressing religious rhetoric.[5] She wrote much of the magazine herself, but other contributors included Hesba Stretton, Julia Kavanagh, Christina Rossetti, Sarah Doudney and Rosa Nouchette Carey. Wood continued as its editor until her death in 1887, when her son Charles Wood took over.[6]

Wood's works were translated into many languages, including Russian. Leo Tolstoy, in a 9 March 1872 letter to his older brother Sergei, noted that he was "reading Mrs. Wood's wonderful novel In the Maze".[7]

Wood wrote several works of supernatural fiction, including "The Ghost" (1862) and the often anthologized "Reality or Delusion?" (1868).[8][9]

At her death (caused by bronchitis)[10] her estate was valued at over £36,000, then a very considerable sum. She was buried in Highgate Cemetery, London. A monument to her was unveiled in Worcester Cathedral in 1916.


Mrs Henry Wood's tomb, Highgate Cemetery

These are the first published UK editions as catalogued by the British Library, with supplementary information from a specialist booksellers' catalogue.[11]

  • Danesbury House (1860)
  • East Lynne (1861)
  • The Elchester College Boys (1861)
  • A Life's Secret (1862)
  • Mrs. Halliburton's Troubles (1862)
  • The Channings (1862)
  • The Foggy Night at Offord: A Christmas Gift for the Lancashire Fund (1863)
  • The Shadow of Ashlydyat (1863)
  • Verner’s Pride (1863)
  • Lord Oakburn’s Daughters (1864)
  • Oswald Cray (1864)
  • Trevlyn Hold; or, Squire Trevlyn’s Heir (1864)
  • William Allair; or, Running away to Sea (1864)
  • Mildred Arkell: A Novel (1865)
  • Elster’s Folly: A Novel (1866)
  • St. Martin’s Eve: A Novel (1866)
  • Lady Adelaide’s Oath (1867)
  • Orville College: A Story (1867)
  • The Ghost of the Hollow Field (1867)
  • Anne Hereford: A Novel (1868)[12]
  • Castle Wafer; or, The Plain Gold Ring (1868)
  • The Red Court Farm: A Novel (1868)
  • Roland Yorke: A Novel (1869)
  • Bessy Rane: A Novel (1870)
  • George Canterbury’s Will (1870)
  • Dene Hollow (1871)
  • Within the Maze: A Novel (1872)
  • The Master of Greylands (1872)
  • Johnny Ludlow (1874)
  • Bessy Wells (1875)
  • Told in the Twilight: Containing “Parkwater” and nine shorter stories (1875)
  • Adam Grainger: A Tale (1876)
  • Edina (1876)
  • Our Children (1876)
  • Parkwater: With four other tales (1876)
  • Pomeroy Abbey (1878)
  • Lady Adelaide (1879)
  • Johnny Ludlow, Second Series (1880)
  • A Tale of Sin and Other Tales (1881)
  • Court Netherleigh: A Novel (1881)
  • About Ourselves (1883)
  • Johnny Ludlow. Third Series (1885)
  • Lady Grace and Other Stories (1887)
  • The Story of Charles Strange (1888)
  • Featherston's Story. A Tale by Johnny Ludlow (1889)
  • The Unholy Wish and Other Stories (1890)
  • The House of Halliwell. A Novel (1890)
  • Ashley and Other Stories (1897)
  • Johnny Ludlow. Sixth series (1899)

Some translations

  • Les Channing. Traduit de l'Anglais par Mme Abric-Encontre (1864)
  • Les Filles de Lord Oakburn: Roman traduit de l’anglais par L. Bochet (1876)
  • La Gloire des Verner: Roman traduit de l’anglais par L. de L’Estrive (1878)
  • Le Serment de Lady Adelaïde: Roman traduit de l’anglais par Léon Bochet (1878)


  1. ^ Dinah Birch, Katy Hooper. "The Concise Oxford Companion to English Literature". Oxford University Press. p. 783.
  2. ^ "The Literary Encyclopedia". "Mrs Henry Wood". Retrieved 22 December 2008. 
  3. ^ "The Ellen Wood Website". A Biographical Sketch. Retrieved 22 December 2008. 
  4. ^ Dinah Birch, Katy Hooper. "The Concise Oxford Companion to English Literature". Oxford University Press. p. 783.
  5. ^ http://oxfordindex.oup.com/view/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199599110.003.0004
  6. ^ "An Index to Periodical Literature". The Argosy. Retrieved 22 December 2008. ; ODNB entry: http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/29868 Retrieved 31 May 2011.
  7. ^ Complete Works of Tolstoy, PSS, 61:276
  8. ^ R. A. Gilbert, Michael Cox The Oxford Book of Victorian Ghost Stories. Oxford University Press, 2003. ISBN 0-19-280447-2 (p. xvi).
  9. ^ J. L. Campbell Sr., "Mrs. Henry Wood", in E. F. Bleiler, ed. Supernatural Fiction Writers. New York: Scribner's, 1985. ISBN 0-68-417808-7 (pp.279-286).
  10. ^ "The Ellen Wood Website". Obituaries. Retrieved 22 December 2008. 
  11. ^ Women Writers R–Z (London: Jarndyce, 2012)
  12. ^ Shropshire-cc.gov.uk

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Media related to Ellen Wood (author) at Wikimedia Commons