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Catherine Crowe (1803–1876)

Author of The Night Side of Nature

Includes the names: Catharine Crowe

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Catherine Crowe, née Stevens, was born in Borough Green, Kent, England. She was educated at home. In 1822, she married Major John Crowe, a British army officer with whom she had one son. The union was unhappy and by 1838 she was separated from her husband and living on her own in Edinburgh, a very irregular situation in those days. She came to know several prominent writers, including Charlotte Brontë, Thomas de Quincey, Harriet Martineau, and William Makepeace Thackeray. Her novel The Adventures of Susan Hopley (1841) established her as a writer as is considered a pioneering work in detective fiction. It was reprinted many times, adapted into a play, and turned into a penny serial by others. Other novels included Men and Women (1844), The Story of Lily Dawson (1847), The Adventures of a Beauty (1852), and Linny Lockwood (1854). Each of them described Victorian women struggling with patriarchal society and mistreatment by men. Catherine Crowe also wrote two plays, Aristodemus (1838) and The Cruel Kindness (1853). She contributed short stories to periodicals such as Chambers' Edinburgh Journal and Dickens's Household Words. Inspired by German writers, she created fiction on supernatural subjects, and her collection The Night-side of Nature (1848) became a runaway bestseller and was her most popular work. Two of her ghost stories reappeared in Victorian Ghost Stories (1936), edited by Montague Summers. Crowe also wrote a number of books for children, including versions of Uncle Tom's Cabin for young readers, Pippie's Warning; or, Mind Your Temper (1848), The Story of Arthur Hunter and his First Shilling (1861) and The Adventures of a Monkey (1862). Her success waned in the late 1850s. After 1852, she lived mainly in London and abroad.
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