Ellen Wood entry: Overview screen.
Writing and Life
Works By
In a writing career spanning most of the second half of the nineteenth century, Ellen Wood produced a prodigious body of work (often writing two triple-deckers per year), including sketches, novels, and a series of interconnected Johnny Ludlow tales involving a character of that name, that were published over a twenty-year period. While much of her fiction takes the form of moralistic domestic dramas, Ellen Wood could also be fascinated by the grotesque, and many of her works have sensational and supernatural themes. Her reputation today rests almost exclusively on the phenomenally popular East Lynne, 1861, possibly the best seller among novels of the Victorian period and the only one of her works that has remained generally available.
17 January 1814 Ellen Price (later EW) was born at Worcester, the eldest in her family, born (as recent research has revealed) only two months after her parents' wedding. Bibliographic Citation link.  scholarly note link.
February 1851 EW's first identified publication, "Seven Years in the Wedded Life of a Roman Catholic" appeared in Harrison Ainsworth's New Monthly Magazine. Bibliographic Citation link.
January 1860 - September 1861 EW's phenomenally popular novel East Lynne was serialised in the New Monthly Magazine. Bibliographic Citation link.
30 September 1861 EW's sensation novel East Lynne was made available in volume form from lending libraries; immensely popular, it went through four editions in six months. Bibliographic Citation link.
Late 1861 to 1881 Over this period EW's East Lynne sold 130,000 copies, was translated into a variety of languages, including Welsh, Parsee and Hindi, and was adapted for the stage many times. Bibliographic Citation link.
25 January 1862 A largely positive review of EW's East Lynne appeared in the Times (which rarely reviewed novels). Bibliographic Citation link.
16 November 1864 The first of many stage adaptations of Ellen Wood's sensation novel East Lynne, J. W. Archer's Marriage Bells; or the Cottage on the Cliff, opened at the Effingham Theatre. Bibliographic Citation link.
10 February 1887 EW died of heart failure, caused in part by her spine pressing against her vital organs and exacerbated by a bronchial cold caught the previous Christmas. Bibliographic Citation link.
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