Lucy Clifford

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Lucy Clifford (2 August 1846 – 21 April 1929), better known as Mrs. W. K. Clifford, was an English novelist and journalist, and the wife of the philosopher William Kingdon Clifford.


Lucy Clifford was born Lucy Lane in London,[1] the daughter of John Lane of Barbados. She married the mathematician and philosopher William Kingdon Clifford in 1875. After his death in 1879, she earned a prominent place in English literary life as a novelist, and later as a dramatist. Her best-known story, Mrs Keith's Crime (1885), was followed by several other volumes, such as Aunt Anne (1892). She also wrote The Last Touches and Other Stories (1892) and Mere Stories (1896); and a play, A Woman Alone (1898). She is perhaps most often remembered, however, as the author of The Anyhow Stories, Moral and Otherwise (1882), a collection of stories she had written for her children.

Lucy Clifford also wrote cinematic adaptations of her short stories and plays. At least two films were produced from her adaptations: The Likeness of the Night (1922) directed by Percy Nash, and Eve's Lover (1925) directed by Roy Del Ruth.

She had a wide circle of literary friends, amongst them Henry James. Her daughter Ethel Clifford (d. 1959), later Lady Dilke, having married Sir Fisher Wentworth Dilke, 4th Baronet (1877–1944) in 1905, was a published poet.

Lucy Clifford died in 1929, and was buried alongside her husband in Highgate Cemetery in London.

In 2004 Gowan Dawson described Lucy's efforts to uphold the reputation of Clifford after his death:

...Clifford's disconsolate widow and two young daughters had been left totally unprovided for, and, notwithstanding a subsequent Testimonial Fund and Civil List pension, it was necessary for Lucy Clifford, who now owned the copyright of her late husband's works, to maximise the potential sales of his posthumous publications, not only by keeping Clifford in the public eye, but by ensuring that it was a generally positive (and thus marketable) portrayal of him that was presented.

Selected writings[edit]

  • Clifford, Lucy (1885). Mrs. Keith's Crime. London: Richard Bentley & Son.
  • Clifford, Lucy (1882). The Anyhow Stories, Moral and Otherwise. London: Macmillan & Company.
  • Clifford, Lucy (1892). Aunt Anne. New York: Harper & Brothers.
  • Clifford, Lucy (1892). Love Letters of a Worldly Woman. Philadelphia: Harper & Brothers.
  • Clifford, Lucy (1892). The Last Touches and Other Stories. /. Archived from the original on 22 October 2009.
  • Clifford, Lucy (1896). A Flash of Summer: The Story of a Simple Woman's Life. New York: D. Appleton and Company.
  • Clifford, Lucy (1896). Mere Stories. London: A. and C. Black. Archived from the original on 22 October 2009.
  • Clifford, Lucy (1897). The Dominant Note and Other Stories. New York: Dodd, Meade and Company.
  • Clifford, Lucy (1902). A Long Duel: A Serious Comedy. London and New York: John Lane.
  • Clifford, Lucy (1902). Woodside Farm. London: Duckworth and Company.
  • Clifford, Lucy (1904). The Getting Well of Dorothy. London: Methuen and Company.
  • Clifford, Lucy (1910). Plays. New York: Mitchell Kennerley.
  • Clifford, Lucy (1915). A Woman Alone. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. Archived from the original on 22 October 2009.
  • Clifford, Lucy (1919). Miss Fingal. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons.


  1. ^ Chisholm, M. (2002). Such Silver Currents. Cambridge: The Lutterworth Press. p. 8. ISBN 0-7188-3017-2.
  • Gowan Dawson (2004) "Victorian periodicals and the making of William Kingdon Clifford's posthumous reputation", pp. 259–284 in Science Serialized, Geoffrey Candor & Sally Shuttleworth editors, MIT Press ISBN 0-262-03318-6 .
  • Marysa Demoor (1999) "Self-Fashioning at the Turn of the Century: the discursive life of Lucy Clifford (1846–1929)", Journal of Victorian Culture, Volume 4, Issue 2, Spring 1999, pp. 276–291,
  • Marysa Demoor (2001), "'Not with a bang but a whimper': Lucy Clifford's Correspondence, 1919–1929", The Cambridge Quarterly, Volume 30, Issue 3, 1 September 2001, pp. 233–256,
  • Marysa Demoor and Monty Chisholm, (1999) "Bravest of women and finest of friends: Henry James's letters to Lucy Clifford". English Literary Studies, Scholarly Monograph Series, Victoria University Press; 1999, p. 120

External links[edit]