1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Linton, Eliza Lynn

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LINTON, ELIZA LYNN (1822–1898), English novelist, daughter of the Rev. J. Lynn, vicar of Crosthwaite, in Cumberland, was born at Keswick on the 10th of February 1822. She early manifested great independence of character, and in great measure educated herself from the stores of her father’s library. Coming to London about 1845 with a large stock of miscellaneous erudition, she turned this to account in her first novels, Azeth the Egyptian (1846) and Amymone (1848), a romance of the days of Pericles. Her next story, Realities, a tale of modern life (1851), was not successful, and for several years she seemed to have abandoned fiction. When, in 1865, she reappeared with Grasp your Nettle, it was as an expert in a new style of novel-writing—stirring, fluent, ably-constructed stories, retaining the attention throughout, but affording little to reflect upon or to remember. Measured by their immediate success, they gave her an honourable position among the writers of her day, and secure of an audience, she continued to write with vigour nearly until her death. Lizzie Lorton of Greyrigg (1866), Patricia Kemball (1874), The Atonement of Leam Dundas (1877) are among the best examples of this more mechanical side of her talent, to which there were notable exceptions in Joshua Davidson (1872), a bold but not irreverent adaptation of the story of the Carpenter of Nazareth to that of the French Commune; and Christopher Kirkland, a veiled autobiography (1885). Mrs Linton was a practised and constant writer in the journals of the day; her articles on the “Girl of the Period” in the Saturday Review produced a great sensation, and she was a constant contributor to the St James’s Gazette, the Daily News and other leading newspapers. Many of her detached essays have been collected. In 1858 she married W. J. Linton, the engraver, but the union was soon terminated by mutual consent; she nevertheless brought up one of Mr Linton’s daughters by a former marriage. A few years before her death she retired to Malvern. She died in London on the 14th of July 1898.

Her reminiscences appeared after her death under the title of My Literary Life (1899) and her life has been written by G. S. Layard (1901).