Jewsbury, Geraldine Endsor

JEWSBURY, GERALDINE ENDSOR (1812-1880), English writer, daughter of Thomas Jewsbury, a Manchester merchant, was born in 1812 at Measham, Derbyshire. Her first novel, Zoe: the History of Two Lives, was published in 1845, and was followed by The Half Sisters (1848), Marian Withers (1851), Constance Herbert (1855), The Sorrows of Gentility (1856), Right or Wrong (1859). In 1850 she was invited by Charles Dickens to write for Household Words; for many years she was a frequent contributor to the Athenaeum and other journals and magazines. It is, however, mainly on account of her friendship with Thomas Carlyle and his wife that her name is remembered. Carlyle described her, after their first meeting in 1841,33" one of the most interesting young women I have seen for years; clear delicate sense and courage looking out of her small sylph-like figure." From this time till Mrs Carlyle's death in 1866, Geraldine Jewsbury was the most intimate of her friends. The selections from Geraldine Jewsbury's letters to Jane Welsh Carlyle ( 1892, ed. Mrs Alexander Ireland) prove how confidential were the relations JEW'S EARS JHABUA between the two women for a quarter of a century. In 1854 Miss Jewsbury removed from Manchester to London to be near her friend. To her Carlyle turned for sympathy when his wife died; and at his request she wrote down some " biographical anecdotes " of Mrs Carlyle's childhood and early married life. Carlyle's comment was that " few or none of these narratives are correct in details, but there is a certain mythical truth in all or most of them;" and he added, " the Geraldine accounts of her (Mrs Carlyle's) childhood are substantially correct." He accepted them as the groundwork for his own essay on " Jane Welsh Carlyle," with which they were therefore incorporated by Froude when editing Carlyle's Reminiscences. Miss Jewsbury was consulted by Froude when he was preparing Carlyle's biography, and her recollection of her friend's confidences confirmed the suspicion that Carlyle had on one occasion used physical violence towards his wife. Miss Jewsbury further informed Froude that the secret of the domestic troubles of the Carlyles lay in the fact that Carlyle had been " one of those persons who ought never to have married," and that Mrs Carlyle had at one time contemplated having her marriage legally annulled (see My Relations with Carlyle, by James Anthony Froude, 1903). The endeavour has been made to discredit Miss Jewsbury in relation to this matter, but there seems to be no sufficient ground for doubting that she accurately repeated what she had learnt from Mrs Carlyle's own lips. Miss Jewsbury died in London on the 23rd of September 1880.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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