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Sara Jeannette Duncan entry: Overview screen.
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Overview
Writing
Life
Writing and Life
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Sara Jeannette Duncan was a Canadian journalist, poet, and novelist whose work spans the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Her writing generally features characters who fail to live up to their own potential, such as Lorne Murchison in The Imperialist, which is probably her best known work. The novels often focus, too, on close female friendships. She spent about twenty-five years living in India under British rule, wrote nine novels on life there, examining in particular the role of the British wife or memsahib. Altogether, she wrote twenty-one works of fiction after beginning as a prolific journalist, motivated in part by the need to make money and escape her Indian home as often as possible. She argued for realism in literature even though her own work sometimes strayed into romance, and she was influenced by William Dean Howells, Henry James, and other realists and naturalists.
Milestones
22 December 1861 SJD was born at 96 West Street, Brantford, Ontario. Bibliographic Citation link.
18 February 1880 SJD's first literary effort to appear in print, a poem called "My Prayer", was featured in the Toronto Globe under the initials 'S. D.' Bibliographic Citation link.
By late April 1904 SJD published her best known novel, and the only one set in Canada, The Imperialist. Bibliographic Citation link.
22 July 1922 While gardening at her London home, SJD was quite suddenly struck with the pneumonia that took her life on this date. Bibliographic Citation link.
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