Mary Julia Young

MJY , who began writing in the 1780s and publishing in the 1790s, turned from poetry to mostly novels before the turn of the century. By this time the pressure to earn money must have been a factor in her output: she recycled poems from one volume to another, and chose novel titles designed to comply with fashions of the moment. She also translated. Though capable of intelligent and interesting work, she was obviously turning out pot-boilers late in her career. She was strongly interested in the world of the theatre, and authored an excellent theatrical biography, but is not known to have written drama. Her life is unusually obscure for one of her time and social status.


21 August 1787
MJY composed and dated a poem apparently unpublished until 1795, The Natal Day. To a Westminster Scholar, at Windsor, during the Autumn Recess.
Young, Mary Julia. Genius and Fancy; or, Dramatic Sketches: with Other Poems on Various Subjects. M. D. Symonds, N. Lee, and J. Gray, 1795.
May 1810
MJY for the first time included her anonymous novels in a list along with other novels and her name on the title-page of The Heir of Drumcondra; or, Family Pride, her last known work.
Garside, Peter, James Raven, and Rainer Schöwerling, editors. The English Novel 1770-1829. Oxford University Press, 2000.


Obscure Origins

Even if her first publications were somewhat precocious, MJY can hardly have been born later than 1775. FamilySearch records the births of literally dozens of Mary Youngs in London during the quarter century before this, but no Mary Julia.