Sarah Stickney Ellis entry: Overview screen.
Writing and Life
Works By
The prolific Sarah Stickney Ellis, author of thirty-four books, was the most popular writer of Victorian conduct literature. Her four advice books addressed women in the burgeoning middle class; she also wrote novels, poems, and didactic short fiction. Bibliographic Citation link. One critic suggests that Sarah Stickney Ellis may have been a key transitional figure in moving British literary tastes from the Romantics to the novels of domestic realism written from the 1840s. Bibliographic Citation link. Generally, however, she is grouped with Mrs Beeton or the later writer Eliza Lynn Linton as purveying suffocating middle-class ideologies of womanhood. In The Women of England and its sequels she produced prescriptive anthropology—itself a bourgeois fantasy—of middle-class domesticity. Critics Karen Chase and Michael Levenson place her in the company of Dickens as "one of the deep designers of the midcentury family imagination." Bibliographic Citation link.
1799 Sarah Stickney (later SSE) was born at Ridgmont in the area of Yorkshire called Holderness. Bibliographic Citation link.  scholarly note link.
1830 Sarah Stickney, later SSE, anonymously published her first work, The Negro Slave. A Tale. Addressed to the Women of Great Britain (whose stance is, of course, anti-slavery). Bibliographic Citation link.
1839 SSE's best known work, the enormously popular conduct manual The Women of England: Their Social Duties and Domestic Habits appeared under the name 'Mrs Ellis'; her preface, dated February 1839, bore her full name. Bibliographic Citation link.
16 June 1872 SSE died one week after her husband, at Hoddesdon in Hertfordshire. Bibliographic Citation link.
Back to Top