Emma Parker

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Emma Parker (fl 1809–1817), was a novelist residing in Wales and writing in English, of whom very little is known. Her epistolary novel Self-Deception explores the cultural and religious differences between the English and the French.

Mrs Parker


Emma Parker seems to have been an Anglican, and an impoverished member of the gentry class, who lived alone in Denbighshire, at Fairfield House. This was named after a family in her first novel, A Soldier's Offspring, or, The Sisters (1809), which she submitted to Minerva Press, specialists in sentimental and Gothic fiction, in the hope of earning some money. It was dedicated to her unnamed mother. It features a pair of sisters, one sensible, one flighty.

Parker went on to write six more novels: Elfrida; or, the Heiress of Belgrove (1810), Fitz-Edward, or, The Cambrians (1811), Virginia; or the Peace of Amiens (1811), Aretas (1813), The Guerrilla Chief (1815), and the epistolary Self-Deception (1816). She also published a volume of essays: Important Trifles: Chiefly Appropriate to Females on their Entrance into Society (1817). The date of her death is not known.

According to the Canadian scholar Isobel Grundy, "Parker's work, always intelligent, became more interesting as her career progressed. Her conduct book demonstrates learning and advocates religious belief and strong-mindedness. Her novels often touch on political and military matters, on the hardships of soldiers and the difficulties of readjusting to civilian life. Self-Deception (a novel set after the marriage of the hero and heroine) explores the cultural and religious differences between English and French life."[1]


Confusion arose at Minerva Press over the authorship of the novels Eva of Cambria, or, The Fugitive Daughter (1810) and Ora and Juliet, or, Influence of First Principles (1811). These were misascribed to "Emma de Lisle", which was Emma Parker's pseudonym, but were not by her. The author was probably Amelia de Beauclerc.[2] The mishap was explained by Parker in a preface to readers of Fitz-Edward; or, the Cambrians: "It is necessary here to observe, that this Work would have appeared many months since; but, owing to a mistake, another manuscript, the production of another author, was sent to the press instead of mine, and, through inadvertency, printed under a similar supposition. This has already been explained as far as it was possible; and I have only here to add, that the following Work is that which was announced some months ago, as being about to be published under the title of Eva of Cambria but as another person’s Novel has, through an error, been published under that name, it was necessary to give a new title to the present Work."[3]


  1. ^ ODNB entry by Isobel Grundy.Retrieved 13 August 2012. Pay-walled.
  2. ^ ODNB entry.
  3. ^ Quoted in The Gothic Novel in Wales Revisited. A Preliminary Survey of the Wales-Related Romantic Fiction at Cardiff University, p. 9. Retrieved 13 August 2012.

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain"Parker, Emma". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.