Author photo. Olivia Shakespear, 1897. Wikipedia.

Olivia Shakespear, 1897. Wikipedia.

Olivia Shakespear (1863–1938)

Author of Beauty's Hour: A Phantasy

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Olivia Shakespear, née Tucker, was born on the Isle of Wight in England, a daughter of a retired officer in the British Indian Army and his wife. The family moved to London in 1877. She received little formal education but developed a love of books and became well-read. She was considered a beautiful, cultured, and compassionate woman. In 1885, she married Henry Hope Shakespear, a lawyer, with whom she had a daughter, Dorothy. She befriended Pearl Craigie, who published under the pseudonym John Oliver Hobbes. In 1894, she met William Butler Yeats and began a close friendship with him that grew into a love affair. After it ended about a year later, they remained lifelong friends and frequent correspondents. She is believed to have been a muse for Yeats for the rest of her life. Olivia president over a salon in her home that was frequented by modernist writers and artists such as Ezra Pound, and became influential in literary society. For a short time in 1901, she was a book reviewer for The Kensington Review, a small literary magazine. In 1902 she co-wrote two plays with Florence Farr on the occult, The Beloved of Hathor and The Shrine of the Golden Hawk. She published six novels between 1894 and 1910, including Love on a Mortal Lease (with title from George Meredith) The Journey of High Honour, and The False Laurel. None of them sold well. Her daughter Dorothy Shakespear became an artist and married Ezra Pound, with whom she had a son who was raised by Olivia.
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