The New International Encyclopædia/Ainsworth, William Harrison

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AINSWORTH, William Harrison (1805-82). An English novelist, born at Manchester. His creative fancy began early to show itself in ballads and tales, which appeared in the local newspapers and in contributions to the London Magazine and other periodicals. He first studied law, but tiring of that, he began a publishing business in London, and that did not succeed. His first novel was Sir John Chiverton (1826); his second, Rookwood (1834), was very favorably received. Crichton (1837) and Jack Sheppard (1839) followed soon after. He edited Bentley's Miscellany for a time; in 1842 began his own Ainsworth's Magazine, and from 1853 edited the New Monthly Magazine. Some of his other works are: Lancashire Witches (1848); Star Chamber (1854); Cardinal Pole (1863); John Law, the Projector (1864); The Spanish Match (1865); Merrie England (1874); and Beau Nash (1880). All his works, and particularly his earlier ones, were remarkably popular in England. Their publication began when the inane "fashionable novel" was the staple, and they presented an agreeable contrast. The historical element, together with the scenery of his native country, is prominent in most of them. Analysis of character or motives had no place in his works; his strength was in the vividness and directness with which he realized scenes and incidents.