Sarah Scudgell Wilkinson entry: Overview screen.
Writing and Life
Works By
Sarah Scudgell Wilkinson began publishing before the end of the eighteenth century. Books for children were her first market niche: both short fiction and instructional works. She later moved into translation and into other kinds of fiction: both full-scale novels of her own, and chapbooks or bluebooks—short, sensational fiction for the young or less-educated, of which some were original and some were condensations of novels by others, including several well-known titles. Critic Gary Kelly regards her as an exponent of 'Street Gothic': this is, works which marry the conventions of gothic with those of popular, proletarian texts.
Though her output of full-length works is not large, her entire bibliography is huge, and still imperfectly understood. By January 1822 Sarah Scudgell Wilkinson had written, said her daughter, nineteen volumes (by implication full-length ones) and more than a hundred books said to be for children: this description must include her chapbooks. Bibliographic Citation link. She continued to publish after this date.
14 December 1779 SSW was born, according to her own account; she seems to have been baptised 'Sarah Carr Wilkinson'. Bibliographic Citation link.
1788 The publisher John Marshall issued Midsummer Holydays; or, A Long Story, an anonymous short novel "for the improvement and entertainment of young folk," which later allusive title-pages link with the name of SSW. Bibliographic Citation link.
January 1824 SSW reported that despite ill health and near destitution she had finished the manuscript of a three-volume novel to be entitled "The Baronet's Widow". Bibliographic Citation link.
19 March 1831 SSW died in St Margaret's Workhouse, Westminster, where she had been resident for something close to a year; she was not yet fifty-two. Bibliographic Citation link.
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