The Complete Novels and Selected Writings of Amy Levy, 1861-1889

The Complete Novels and Selected Writings of Amy Levy, 1861-1889

The Complete Novels and Selected Writings of Amy Levy, 1861-1889

The Complete Novels and Selected Writings of Amy Levy, 1861-1889

Synopsis

Amy Levy was a talented Anglo-Jewish writer who committed suicide in 1889 at the age of 28. During her brief career she published essays, short stories, three novels and three collections of poetry, but none of them is in print today.

Excerpt

Amy Levy was born in Clapham in 1861 and died by charcoal gas inhalation in 1889, two months before her twenty-eighth birthday. In taking her own life, she not only raised numerous questions about the despairs of an educated Jewish woman in late Victorian England but also put an end to a promising literary career. In her twenty-seven years she had been the first Jewish woman admitted to Newnham College, Cambridge; had published three short novels and three slim collections of poetry; and had become a contributor to several major literary magazines, including Temple Bar and The Gentleman's Magazine, as well as to the "leading and almost universally read weekly newspaper among British Jews," The Jewish Chronicle. Oscar Wilde's obituary notice in Woman's World (which he founded in 1888, and to which Levy contributed poems, short stories, and essays) took particular notice of this promise cut short:

The gifted subject of these paragraphs, whose distressing death has brought sorrow to many who knew her only from her writings . . . was Jewish, but she . . . gradually ceased to hold the orthodox doctrines of her nation, retaining, however, a strong race feeling. . . . ["Xantippe" is] surely a most remarkable [poem] to be produced by a girl still at school [and] is distinguished, as nearly all Miss Levy's work is, by the qualities of sincerity, directness, and melancholy . . . and no intelligent critic could fail to see the promise of greater things. . . .

MissLevy's two novels, "The Romance of a Shop" and "Reuben Sachs," were both published last year [1888]. The first is a bright and clever story, full . . .

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