Edna Lyall entry: Overview screen.
Writing and Life
Works By
A highly popular writer, Edna Lyall published eighteen novels or novellas between 1879 and 1902, as well as a play, an account of her childhood which she designed for young readers, and shorter pieces. Several of her novels are historical, some take up contemporary political isues. Though her plots are melodramatic, her people often verging on caricature, and her appetite for virtuous self-sacrifice immense, she is interestingly radical in her political sympathies and unconventional in her habit of choosing outsiders like foreigners, non-Christians, or activists, for her exemplary characters. She remained a byword for big sales, if not for artistry, past the mid twentieth century.
25 March 1857 Ada Ellen Bayly (who later wrote as EL) was born at 5 Montpelier Villas, Brighton, the youngest of her family.  Bibliographic Citation link.
By late April 1884 EL's third novel, We Two, went further than Donovan in treating both politics and religion (and implicitly the controversial career of Charles Bradlaugh). It was "enormously successful": the breakthrough in her career. Bibliographic Citation link.
Autumn 1894 In Doreen EL produced a novel which, unusually for an English author, anatomises the injustices of English rule in Ireland. Bibliographic Citation link.
October 1902 EL published The Burges Letters: A Record of Child Life in the Sixties, an autobiography of her early years designed for child readers (with illustrations on the cover and inside). Bibliographic Citation link.
8 February 1903 EL died at her home in College Road, Eastbourne, of malaria picked up first in Italy about five years earlier. Bibliographic Citation link.
Back to Top