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Margaret Oliphant (1828–1897)

Author of Miss Marjoribanks

239+ Works 2,835 Members 85 Reviews 11 Favorited
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About the Author

Margaret Oliphant Wilson Oliphant (née Margaret Oliphant Wilson) (4 April 1828 - 25 June 1897), was a Scottish novelist and historical writer who married her cousin, Frank Wilson Oliphant. Oliphant's first novel was published in 1849, Passages in the Life of Mrs. Margaret Maitland. The book dealt show more with the Scottish Free Church movement. Oliphant, during an often difficult life, wrote more than 120 works, including novels, books of travel and description, histories, and volumes of literary criticism. Among the best known of her works of fiction are: Adam Graeme (1852), The Marriage of Elinor (1892), The Ways of Life (1897). She died at Wimbledon, London, on 25 June 1897. (Bowker Author Biography) show less
Image credit: Mrs. Margaret Oliphant (1828-1897)


Works by Margaret Oliphant

Miss Marjoribanks (1866) 478 copies
Phoebe, Junior (1876) 166 copies
Salem Chapel (1863) 163 copies
The Perpetual Curate (1864) 159 copies
The Rector (1863) 41 copies
The Open Door [short story] (1882) 39 copies
The Curate in Charge (1875) 34 copies
The Library Window (1896) 33 copies
A Beleaguered City (1970) 30 copies
Old Lady Mary (2004) 25 copies
The Doctor's Family (2011) 24 copies
The Marriage of Elinor (1892) 19 copies
The Egyptian World (1989) 13 copies
The Executor (1861) 13 copies
The Life of Edward Irving (2006) 12 copies
The Earliest Civilizations (1991) 11 copies
Sheridan (1883) 9 copies
The House on the Moor (2010) 9 copies
Francis of Assisi (1874) 8 copies
The Duke's Daughter (2002) 8 copies
The Ladies Lindores (2016) 7 copies
The Wizard's Son (2000) 7 copies
Sir Tom (2010) 6 copies
The Secret Chamber (1876) 5 copies
Janet (1891) 5 copies
Madam (2007) 5 copies
Whiteladies (2002) 4 copies
Cervantes (1974) 4 copies
La terra delle tenebre (2008) 4 copies
Molière (1879) 4 copies
Two Strangers (2002) 3 copies
At His Gates (2016) 3 copies
A House in Bloomsbury (2018) 3 copies
Zaidee: A Romance (1856) 3 copies
For Love and Life (1874) 3 copies
Squire Arden (1870) 3 copies
The Primrose Path (2021) 2 copies
The fugitives (2007) 2 copies
Salem Chapel: Volume 1 (2002) 2 copies
Joyce (Classic Reprint) (2012) 2 copies
Neighbours on the Green (2008) 2 copies
The Sorceress (2011) 2 copies
The cuckoo in the nest (2018) 2 copies
Katie Stewart (2007) 2 copies
May. [A novel.] (2010) 2 copies
Agnes (2001) 2 copies
The Sorceress: Volume 2 (2002) 2 copies
The Sorceress: Volume 1 (2002) 2 copies
Young Musgrave: A Novel (2010) 2 copies
The Lady's Walk (2020) 2 copies
The Second Son 2 copies
The Son of His Father (2019) 1 copy
May: Volume 2 (2002) 1 copy
Ombra: Volume 2 (2001) 1 copy
The Two Marys (2016) 1 copy
Agnes: Volume 2 (2001) 1 copy
At His Gates: Volume I (2002) 1 copy
Dress (2001) 1 copy
Mrs. Arthur: Volume 2 (2002) 1 copy
May: Volume 1 (2002) 1 copy
Lucy Crofton 1 copy
Cousin Mary 1 copy
Dante. 1 copy
Carita: Volume 1 (2002) 1 copy
Una sociedad asediada (2016) 1 copy
The Brownlows (2018) 1 copy
A Widow's Tale (2014) 1 copy
Salem Chapel (2 of 2) (2002) 1 copy
Diana Trelawny (2016) 1 copy
Whiteladies: Volume 2 (2002) 1 copy
Carita: Volume 2 (2002) 1 copy
Madonna Mary: Volume 2 (2001) 1 copy
Mrs. Arthur: Volume 1 (2002) 1 copy
Madonna Mary: Volume 1 (2001) 1 copy

Associated Works

Hauntings: Tales of the Supernatural (1968) — Contributor — 230 copies
The Omnibus of Crime (1929) — Contributor — 208 copies
The Virago Book of Ghost Stories (2006) — Contributor — 139 copies
The Virago Book of Victorian Ghost Stories (1988) — Contributor — 134 copies
The Penguin Book of Ghost Stories (1984) — Contributor — 122 copies
Scottish Ghost Stories (2009) — Contributor — 78 copies
The New Penguin Book of Scottish Short Stories (1983) — Contributor — 70 copies
Haunted House Short Stories (Gothic Fantasy) (2019) — Contributor — 69 copies
The Television Late-night Horror Omnibus (1993) — Contributor — 38 copies
Six Novels of the Supernatural (1944) — Contributor — 38 copies
The Fifth Fontana Book of Great Ghost Stories (1969) — Contributor — 35 copies
Great Short Stories of Detection, Mystery, and Horror (1928) — Contributor — 32 copies
Classic Ghost Stories: Spooky Tales to Read at Christmas (2017) — Contributor — 29 copies
The Mystery Book (1934) — Contributor — 29 copies
Twelve Victorian Ghost Stories (1997) — Contributor — 27 copies
A Treasury of Victorian ghost stories (1981) — Contributor — 23 copies
A Century of Thrillers from Poe to Arlen (First Series) (1934) — Contributor — 18 copies
Lost Souls Short Stories (Gothic Fantasy) (2018) — Contributor — 17 copies
Ghosts and Marvels (1924) — Contributor — 17 copies
An Anthology of Scottish Fantasy Literature (1996) — Contributor — 14 copies
Uncanny Tales 1 (1974) — Contributor — 12 copies
Armchair Horror Collection (1994) — Contributor — 7 copies
Great Tales Of The Supernatural (1978) — Contributor — 6 copies
Z Duchami Przy Wigilijnym Stole (2020) — Contributor — 3 copies
Memoirs of the life of Anna Jameson — Postscript — 2 copies
Good Words 1891 (1891) — Contributor — 1 copy
Wakacje Wśród Duchów — Contributor — 1 copy


Common Knowledge

Other names
Oliphant, Margaret Oliphant Wilson (married name)
Wilson, Margaret Oliphant (birth name)
Melville, Christian (pen name)
Oliphant, Mrs.
Date of death
Burial location
Eton Parish Cemetery, Eton, England
Wallyford, Haddingtonshire, Scotland, UK
Place of death
Wimbledon, London, England, UK
Places of residence
Florence, Italy
Rome, Italy
London, England, UK
Liverpool, England, UK
Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
Windsor, Berkshire, England, UK (show all 8)
Glasgow, Scotland, UK
Lasswade, Midlothian, Scotland, UK
cultural historian
Short biography
Margaret Oliphant Wilson was born in Wallyford, near Musselburgh, Scotland, the daughter of a customs house official. The family moved to Liverpool, England, when she was a child. She began writing as a teenager. In 1852, she married her cousin Francis Oliphant, an artist, and turned to writing to help support them and their seven children. Her first published work was Passages in the Life of Margaret Maitland (1849), and she became a regular contributor to Blackwood's Literary Magazine. Her husband died in 1859 while on a family trip to Italy, leaving Margaret pregnant. John Blackwood sent her funds to enable her to return to England and to relocate to Elie in Fife. She wrote more than 100 novels, biographies, translations, travel books, and collections of short stories during her prolific career. Her best-remembered works are the group of novels known as The Chronicles of Carlingford, which consisted of The Rector and the Doctor’s Family (1863), Salem Chapel (1863), The Perpetual Curate (1864), Miss Majoribanks (1866), and Phoebe Junior (1876). Many of her popular works focused on Scottish life, including The Minister’s Wife (1869) and Kirsteen (1890). She also wrote a volume of supernatural stories, Tales of the Seen and Unseen, and an autobiography that was published posthumously in 1899.




Grace Trevanian's husband married her in Europe when she was in desperate circumstances and treated her despicably for most of their marriage. Despite his ill-treatment Grace nursed the querulous invalid devotedly, but days from his demise the vicious old man re-wrote his will to punish her further. I won't say how, because that would destroy the suspense.

Rosalind is Grace's stepdaughter, and calls her mother because Grace is the only mother Rosalind has ever known. She is loyal to Grace despite wicked rumours, most of them perpetrated by the family nurse who brought up Rosalind and her four half-brothers and sisters. The nurse has tried to poison the younger children's minds against their mother, and has carried malicious stories to Grace's husband.

Somewhere I read that this was Margaret Oliphant's favourite of her books. It has less humour than the Carlingford series because Grace is such a tragic figure, and so ill-treated, but there is some in the sketches of the minor characters, particularly Aunt Sophy. I was very much engaged because I had to find out what would happen to Grace and Rosalind.
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pamelad | Apr 6, 2024 |
1.5* I gave up at 60% through despite the fact that this is decently written. I couldn't take any more of Elinor - stupidly, willfully blind to any advice even after she should know better. She just irritated me intensely!
leslie.98 | 2 other reviews | Jun 27, 2023 |
Phoebe, Junior is the granddaughter of the Tozers, pillars of Carlingford’s dissenting congregation, Salem Chapel. Phoebe is the daughter of Phoebe Tozer and Henry Beecham, a dissenting minister who has risen about as far as a dissenting minister can go. Phoebe, Junior is well-educated, well-traveled, and used to London life. An extended stay in Carlingford to care for her ailing grandmother is a shock to her sensibilities, but she rises to the occasion.

Phoebe had made the acquaintance of Ursula May in London. Ursula is a poor relation of the Dorset family, who are also related to the Copperheads. Ursula’s father is the rector of St. Roque in Carlingford. Ursula and Phoebe overcome the class barrier to form a friendship. Their social circle includes Ursula’s clergyman brother, Reginald, Salem Chapel’s interim minster, Mr. Northcote, and Clarence Copperhead, whose father is an influential member of Henry Beecham’s congregation in London.

The novel explores social, economic, and religious differences. The elders in the novel set great store by these differences in status. However, the young people discover that their peers on the other side of the divide aren’t quite the ogres they’ve been warned against all their lives, and they form “unsuitable” attachments before they quite realize what’s happening. The novel could easily have been a romantic comedy if not for the financial pressures that weigh heavily enough on Mr. May for him to succumb to temptation.
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cbl_tn | 4 other reviews | Apr 24, 2023 |
An Oxford Theological College controls the dispensation of the living for the parish of Brentburn, and has given it to a College fellow who, after two years, pleads ill health and retires to Italy, keeping the bulk of the income and paying the rest to the curate who runs the parish. Cecil St John, the curate, is an unworldly man, dedicated to his parishioners, unambitious, and happy to remain as a curate, despite he uncertainty of his position. His much-loved wife manages the household capably and frugally, and Cecil trusts in God to provide for the future of his two daughters, Cicely and Mab. When Cecil's wife dies, a governess, Miss Brown, is employed to look after the girls and to manage the household. She is as ineffectual as Cecil, and when the girls leave home and go to school, incompetence reigns. When the girls return to look after their father, they find disaster.

The Curate in Charge has a number of important themes. It's a feminist novel: Cicely is an intelligent and capable person, far more so than her father, and far more concerned about the family's future, but she has to follow Cecil's direction. Eventually her independence of action, and need to do what she thinks is right, prove more important to her than her feminine role and social position. It's about the failure of the Church to ensure that livings are given to men who can and will manage a parish, its failure to reward men like Cecil, who can serve others all their lives only to be left destitute. It's about people with power, including those in the church hierarchy, who respect others only for their money and social connections.

A worthwhile read. Recommended.
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pamelad | Mar 1, 2023 |



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