Amy Levy entry: Overview screen.
Writing and Life
Works By
Amy Levy was a precocious writer who died (in 1889) so young that all her work might in other circumstances be classed as juvenilia. She is a remarkable poet, melancholy but forceful and individual. Some of her short stories and essays, and one of her three novels, fall into her own categorization of pot-boilers; in others her artistic purpose is paramount. She was also a translator of German poetry. She is a writer of the urban and the modern, whose work is given extra interest by its sometimes painful engagement with her Jewish identity and with the position of Jews in the world of the English intelligentsia.
10 November 1861 AL was born in the London district which was then known as South Lambeth (now classified as Peckham), the second of seven children. Bibliographic Citation link.
April 1875 At thirteen AL published "The Ballad of Ida Grey" in the feminist journal The Pelican; an essay by her on Elizabeth Barrett's Aurora Leigh had already appeared in the children's magazine Kind Words. Bibliographic Citation link.
By August 1881 AL's first volume—or booklet—of poetry, entitled Xantippe and other Verse, was published at Cambridge by E. Johnson: she was not yet twenty. Bibliographic Citation link.
January 1889 AL's second and best-known novel, Reuben Sachs, appeared, bearing the date 1888. Bibliographic Citation link.
May 1889 AL's short story "Cohen of Trinity" appeared in the Gentleman's Magazine. Bibliographic Citation link.
10 September 1889 AL committed suicide at her parents' home at 7 Endsleigh Gardens, Bloomsbury, by burning charcoal in a small enclosed room, till she was asphyxiated by carbon monoxide. Bibliographic Citation link.
By 14 December 1889 AL's previously serialised Miss Meredith (a novel centred on a woman who travels to Italy as a governess) was posthumously published in volume form. Bibliographic Citation link.
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