Authors: Dinah Maria Mulock

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

English novelist

Author Works

Long Fiction:

The Ogilvies, 1849

Olive, 1850

The Head of the Family, 1852

Agatha’s Husband, 1853

John Halifax, Gentleman, 1856

A Life for a Life, 1859

Mistress and Maid, 1863

Christian’s Mistake, 1865

A Noble Life, 1866

Two Marriages, 1867

The Women’s Kingdom, 1869

A Brave Lady, 1870

Hannah, 1872

The Laurel Bush, 1876

Young Mrs. Jardine, 1879

Short Fiction:

Avillion, and Other Tales, 1853

Nothing New, 1857

Romantic Tales, 1859

Domestic Stories, 1860

Lord Erlistoun, and Other Stories, 1864

The Unkind World, and Other Stories, 1870

Poetry:

Poems, 1859

Songs of Our Youth, 1875

Thirty Years, 1881

Nonfiction:

A Woman’s Thoughts About Women, 1858

Fifty Golden Years: Incidents in the Queen’s Reign, 1887 (biography)

Children’s/Young Adult Literature:

Alice Learmont: A Fairy Tale, 1853 (in A Hero, and Other Tales)

Little Sunshine’s Holiday, 1871

The Little Lychetts, and Other Stories, 1875

The Little Lame Prince and His Traveling Cloaks, 1875

Biography

Dinah Maria Mulock Craik was one of the many minor female novelists of nineteenth century England. Her father, Thomas Mulock, was something of ne’er-do-well. At the time of his daughter’s birth in 1826 he was operating in the capacity of a Nonconformist preacher at Stoke-on-Trent, but he soon left this calling for some nebulous business scheme, transferring the support of his family to his wife.{$I[AN]9810000009}{$I[A]Mulock, Dinah Maria}{$S[A]Craik, Dinah Mulock;Mulock, Dinah Maria}{$I[geo]WOMEN;Mulock, Dinah Maria}{$I[geo]ENGLAND;Mulock, Dinah Maria}{$I[tim]1826;Mulock, Dinah Maria}

Mrs. Mulock, consequently, was forced to open a school in her home. She was assisted in this venture by her eldest daughter, Dinah, a precocious girl who had begun writing poetry at the age of ten. Mother and daughter continued to run the school until 1840, at which time Mrs. Mulock inherited a sizable fortune, and pedagogy was exchanged for travel. The entire family (Mr. Mulock had returned along with the inheritance) toured Europe for the next four years, and Dinah had the opportunity to study French, Italian, Greek, Latin, and even Erse (Gaelic).

In 1844 the unpredictable Thomas Mulock left home for good, and the remainder of the family settled in Staffordshire. The next year Mrs. Mulock died, leaving Dinah in charge of the younger children and the fortune.

Dinah, now nineteen, employed her talents in the writing of poems and stories for children. Four years later she turned to adult fiction with the production of The Ogilvies in 1849, a novel which she dedicated to her mother. After this effort, she produced some twenty more novels, not to mention sundry volumes of poems, tales, and children’s stories in the course of a career that reached its zenith with the publication of John Halifax, Gentleman in 1856. Mulock was married in 1864 to George Lillie Craik, a publisher eleven years her junior. She lived with him and, later, an adopted daughter at Corner House, Shortlands, Kent, until her death on October 12, 1887.

Overall, her reputation as a novelist is no greater than that of many somewhat dull and overly sentimental and didactic female (and male) fiction writers of Queen Victoria’s day. Yet in John Halifax, Gentleman she produced a work which makes demands upon the attention of the modern reader in its social idealism and its ethic of self-help. There has been a renewed interest in Mulock from a feminist point of view. Notably, her A Woman’s Thoughts About Women reflects her own experience of being the family breadwinner, and many of her other novels center on the problems of Victorian womanhood. She is remembered also as a woman of great tenderness and charity, one whose moral emphasis was, if somewhat unsound artistically, always sincere.

BibliographyAltick, Richard D. The Presence of the Present: Topics of the Day in the Victorian Novel. Columbia: Ohio State University Press, 1991.Colby, Robert A. “Miss Evans, Miss Mulock, and Hetty Sorrell.” English Language Notes 2 (1965).Mitchell, Sally. Dinah Mulock Craik. Boston: Twayne, 1983.Perkin, J. Russell. “Narrative Voice and the ‘Feminine’ Novelist: Dinah Mulock and George Eliot.” Victorian Review 18 (Summer, 1992).Reade, A. L. “The Author of John Halifax, Gentleman.” Notes and Queries 196 (June 9, 1951).Showalter, Elaine. “Dinah Mulock Craik and the Tactics of Sentiment: A Case Study In Victorian Female Authorship.” Feminist Studies 2 (1975).
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