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Frances Sheridan (1724–1766)

Author of Memoirs of Miss Sidney Bidulph

Includes the names: Frances Sheridan, Frances Chamberlaine Sheridan

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Frances Sheridan (née Chamberlaine or Chamberlayne), a novelist at age 15, was also a celebrated playwright. In 1747, she married the actor-theater manager-educator Thomas Sheridan and among their five children were the writers Richard Brinsley Sheridan, Alicia Sheridan Lefanu and Elizabeth "Betsy" Sheridan Lefanu. Her most successful novel, Memoirs of Miss Sidney Bidulph (1761) was written in diary format like Samuel Richardson's Pamela. Two of her plays were produced at the Drury Lane Theatre, London, in the 1760s. Her works were greatly admired by Samuel Johnson and other notables of her day. In 1764, increasing debts drove her husband to move with his wife and three eldest children to France. Frances Sheridan's health, which had been poor, took a turn for the worse and she died suddenly in Blois. Two of her books, a sequel to Sidney Bidulph and The History of Nourjahad, were published posthumously. Her descendants included four generations of popular playwrights, novelists and poets. Her biography was written in 1824 by her granddaughter, poet Alicia Lefanu.
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