Eliza Fenwick

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EF , now known (after long obscurity) for her single, remarkable surviving epistolary novel of the radical school of the 1790s, also wrote characterful children's books and extremely vivid letters which extend several decades into the nineteenth century. Her second adult novel never materialised.

Milestones

1 February 1766
Elizabeth Jaco (later EF ) was born (perhaps at Lancaster or Sheffield or Lichfield, Staffordshire) on this day according to her own and family statements, but some scholarly controversy now surrounds these.
EF and her relations give her birthday as 1 February. Her parents had a daughter named Elizabeth who was baptised in February 1764. Lissa Paul, Fenwick's biographer, believes this baby must have died before EF's (unrecorded) birth; Charlotte MacKenzie, historian of Cornish women, believes Fenwick was older than she claimed. Orlando owes to Fenwick's descendant Brett Rutherford the first information that her father's itinerant preaching caused her to be born far from home.
Grundy, Isobel, and Eliza Fenwick. “Introduction and Appendices”. Secresy, 2ndnd ed, Broadview, 1998, pp. 7 - 34, 361.
7
Rutherford, Brett. Email about Eliza Fenwick to Isobel Grundy.
Paul, Lissa. Eliza Fenwick, Early Modern Feminist. University of Delaware Press, 2019.
24, 42
MacKenzie, Charlotte. “Cornish connections with 1790s radical and literary circles. Part 2”. Cornish Story.
Probably April 1795
EF published her epistolary novel Secresy; or, The Ruin on the Rock, through a conger or group of publishers headed by William Lane .
Garside, Peter, James Raven, and Rainer Schöwerling, editors. The English Novel 1770-1829. Oxford University Press, 2000.
1: 638
Grundy, Isobel, and Eliza Fenwick. “Introduction and Appendices”. Secresy, 2ndnd ed, Broadview, 1998, pp. 7 - 34, 361.
8-9
25 August 1835
From Canandaigua in New York State the nearly seventy-year-old EF wrote regretfully, my manuscript has not proceeded ten pages. The remark shows how late in her life she remained a professional writer.
Paul, Lissa. Emails to Isobel Grundy about Eliza Fenwick.
8 December 1840
EF died at Providence, Rhode Island. She had suffered agony in passing gall-stones, but died very quietly and calmly: as her grand-daughter put it, sleeping her soul away.
Paul, Lissa. Eliza Fenwick, Early Modern Feminist. University of Delaware Press, 2019.
230
Grundy, Isobel, and Eliza Fenwick. “Introduction and Appendices”. Secresy, 2ndnd ed, Broadview, 1998, pp. 7 - 34, 361.
20

Biography

Birth and Early Life

1 February 1766
Elizabeth Jaco (later EF ) was born (perhaps at Lancaster or Sheffield or Lichfield, Staffordshire) on this day according to her own and family statements, but some scholarly controversy now surrounds these.
EF and her relations give her birthday as 1 February. Her parents had a daughter named Elizabeth who was baptised in February 1764. Lissa Paul, Fenwick's biographer, believes this baby must have died before EF's (unrecorded) birth; Charlotte MacKenzie, historian of Cornish women, believes Fenwick was older than she claimed. Orlando owes to Fenwick's descendant Brett Rutherford the first information that her father's itinerant preaching caused her to be born far from home.
Grundy, Isobel, and Eliza Fenwick. “Introduction and Appendices”. Secresy, 2ndnd ed, Broadview, 1998, pp. 7 - 34, 361.
7
Rutherford, Brett. Email about Eliza Fenwick to Isobel Grundy.
Paul, Lissa. Eliza Fenwick, Early Modern Feminist. University of Delaware Press, 2019.
24, 42
MacKenzie, Charlotte. “Cornish connections with 1790s radical and literary circles. Part 2”. Cornish Story.