George Egerton entry: Overview screen.
Writing and Life
Works By
George Egerton (born Mary Chavelita Dunne), writer of New Woman short stories, has been called the first English writer to present female sexual drives explicitly as existing independently of and differently from male sexuality. Bibliographic Citation link. Her stories (five volumes) challenged convention not only in their frank treatment of female sexuality, but also in breaking with the conventions of Victorian realism. Often elliptical and impressionistic, they anticipate twentieth-century modernism in their focus on their characters' inner lives. George Egerton tried her hand at drama, but none of her three plays succeeded and only one made it to print. She also published a novel, a volume of love letters, and two translations. She left unpublished an incomplete autobiography, a journal, and another work. A selection of her letters appeared in 1958. Her heroines struggle to balance the desire for personal and professional freedom with the instinctual longing for love, both romantic and maternal. Bibliographic Citation link.
14 December 1859 Mary Chavelita Dunne (later GE) was born in Melbourne, Australia. Bibliographic Citation link.
1893 GE published her first book, Keynotes (six stories in a striking cover by Aubrey Beardsley), to make much-needed money. The volume achieved instant success, establishing her as what was soon to be called a 'New Woman' writer. Bibliographic Citation link.
12 August 1945 GE died in a nursing home at Crawley in Sussex: having presumably fallen, she was "found . . . dead at the bottom of the stairs." Bibliographic Citation link. She had probably suffered a minor stroke weeks or months before this. Bibliographic Citation link.
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