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Eliza Lynn Linton was born in Keswick, Cumbria, England, the youngest child in the large family of the Rev. J. Lynn, vicar of Crosthwaite. Her mother died when she was five years old, and her father left her mostly unsupervised during her childhood. She became self-educated with the help of his library. In 1845, at age 23, went to London to become a professional writer under the aegis of poet Walter Savage Landor, who introduced her to Charles Dickens. The following year, she published her first novel, Azeth, the Egyptian, followed by Amymone: A Romance in the Days of Pericles (1848) and Realities: A Tale of Modern Life (1851). None of these met with success, and she became a journalist, contributing to the Morning Chronicle and later joining the staff of the Monthly Review. She was a prolific writer of articles and has been characterized as the first Englishwoman to receive a regular salary as a journalist. In 1858, in Paris, she married W.J. (William James) Linton, an engraver, poet, and radical activist of the Chartist reform movement who was 10 years her senior, and moved into his house in the Lake District with his seven children from an earlier marriage. The couple produced a book together, the illustrated travel guide Lake Country (1864). During this time, she wrote for Dickens's publication Household Words, and then for its successor, All the Year Round. In 1867, she separated amicably from her husband and returned to London. She finally achieved popularity with the novels Grasp Your Nettle (1864), The True History of Joshua Davidson (1872), Patricia Kemball (1874), and The Autobiography of Christopher Kirkland (1885). She continued to contribute all her life to periodicals such as the St. James’s Gazette, the Saturday Review, and the Daily News. Although she was an emancipated woman and supported the right of married women to own their own property, she was often vehemently anti-feminist, as in The Girl of the Period and Other Social Essays (1883).
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