Margaret Oliphant

Standard Name: Oliphant, Margaret
Birth Name: Margaret Oliphant Wilson
Married Name: Margaret Oliphant Oliphant
Pseudonym: Mrs Margaret Maitland
Pseudonym: M. O. W. O.
Used Form: M. O. W. Oliphant
As the breadwinner for her constantly extending family, MO was astonishingly productive. She published (sometimes by name, sometimes anonymously, often with no name but with allusion to her previous works) ninety-eight novels, and three times that many articles for Blackwood's and other magazines. She was equally prolific in short stories and in works of information: biography, socio-historical studies of cities, art criticism, historical sketches, literary histories, and a characteristic, fragmented autobiography, selective but nonetheless revealing. She also did translation and editing. She consistently foregrounds issues involved in Victorian expectations of womanhood: the relationships of daughter, sister, wife, and mother (especially the last).


Connections Sort descending Author name Excerpt
death Jane Welsh Carlyle
She had planned to host a tea-party whose guests were to include Geraldine Jewsbury , John Ruskin , the J. A. Froude and his second wife , and Margaret Oliphant . Ruskin was not told...
Dedications Emily Lawless
In publishing Hurrish, EL eschewed using her courtesy title as the Honourable, though she is the Hon. on most of her later works. This novel proved popular, being published in Edinburgh, London...
Education Sarah Orne Jewett
She read extensively as a child, and came early to authors as diverse as Jane Austen , George Eliot , Margaret Oliphant , Henry Fielding , Laurence Sterne , Elizabeth Gaskell and Harriet Beecher Stowe
Employer Annie Louisa Walker
ALW became Oliphant 's housekeeper, confidante, and amanuensis. In February 1877 Oliphant passed on to her the continuation of the arduous translation from French of Montalembert 's Les Moines d'Occident, suggesting to Blackwood's a...
Family and Intimate relationships Thomas Carlyle
Following TC 's death, James Anthony Froude published Reminiscences of Carlyle, which presented an unfavourable picture of the Carlyles' marriage. This angered their friend Margaret Oliphant , and she responded with an essay providing...
Family and Intimate relationships Annie Louisa Walker
ALW was orphaned and sisterless by the time she was in her mid-twenties. Little else known of her family, except that Margaret Oliphant was her second cousin.
Jay, Elisabeth. Mrs Oliphant: "A Fiction to Herself": A Literary Life. Clarendon Press.
Cook, Ramsay, editor. Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online.
Friends, Associates Jane Welsh Carlyle
Margaret Oliphant 's visits to the Carlyles in London led to her close friendship with Jane Welsh Carlyle .
There is some uncertainty about this date. In her autobiography Oliphant fancies
Trela, Dale J. “Jane Welsh Carlyle and Margaret Oliphant: An Unsung Friendship”. The Carlyle Annual, Vol.
, pp. 31-40.
that she first...
Friends, Associates Sarah Tytler
ST 's career as a writer introduced her to many leading literary figures (especially those of Scots origin) whom she entertainingly describes in Three Generations.
Tytler, Sarah. Three Generations. J. Murray.
She became an especially good friend of Dinah Mulock Craik
Friends, Associates Annie Louisa Walker
ALW joined the extended household of the widowed, eminent, hard-working author Margaret Oliphant , her distant cousin.
Jay, Elisabeth. Mrs Oliphant: "A Fiction to Herself": A Literary Life. Clarendon Press.
Williams, Merryn. Margaret Oliphant: A Critical Biography. St Martin’s Press.
Friends, Associates Emily Lawless
Lawless made a number of other friends, acquaintances, and admirers through her writing, including Margaret Oliphant , an early friend and critic, Rhoda Broughton , George Meredith , Aubrey de Vere , Mary Augusta Ward
Friends, Associates Anne Thackeray Ritchie
ATR lived with the Stephens after their marriage, and while there became a friend of such literary figures as George Meredith , Henry James (who described her after an early encounter as exquisitely irrational)...
Friends, Associates Blanche Warre Cornish
BWC was a friend of Margaret Oliphant , and later of Maurice Baring (as were her children). Her tea-table was frequented by minor literary men like Oscar Browning and Joseph Henry Shorthouse , while Mary Elizabeth Coleridge
Friends, Associates Anne Thackeray Ritchie
ATR wrote to Charlotte Yonge a few years later, lamenting: oh! what a pity it is that we are all growing old who have had such happy happy times with one another.
Ritchie, Anne Thackeray. Anne Thackeray Ritchie: Journals and Letters. Editors Bloom, Abigail Burnham and John Maynard, Ohio State University Press.
She uttered...
Friends, Associates Dinah Mulock Craik
Their circle of friends included the critic and historian George Lillie Craik , Camilla Toulmin , John Westland Marston , Alexander Macmillan (the publisher), Charles Edward Mudie (founder of Mudie's Lending Library ), and the...
Friends, Associates Anna Maria Hall
One of AMH 's closest friends was the actress Helen Faucit , later Lady Martin. Though socially conservative in her attitudes, she was apparently more ready than her husband to achieve friendly relations with those...


April 1817: The first issue of Blackwood's Edinburgh...

Writing climate item

April 1817

The first issue of Blackwood's EdinburghMagazine appeared; founder William Blackwood intended to offer Tory competition to the liberal Edinburgh Review.

April 1879: James Murray—editor since 1 March of what...

Writing climate item

April 1879

James Murray —editor since 1 March of what was to become the Oxford English Dictionary—issued an Appeal for readers to supply illustrative quotations.

November 1882: The first issue of the monthly Longman's...

Writing climate item

November 1882

The first issue of the monthlyLongman's Magazine was published.

1897: With her publication of Grains of Sense,...

Women writers item


With her publication of Grains of Sense, philosopher Victoria, Lady Welby , shifted from theology towards a more academic and analytic study of meaning.


Oliphant, Margaret. A Beleaguered City. Macmillan, 1879.
Oliphant, Margaret. A Child’s History of Scotland. T. Fisher Unwin, 1895.
Oliphant, Margaret. A Country Gentleman and His Family. Macmillan, 1886.
Oliphant, Margaret. A Little Pilgrim in the Unseen. Macmillan, 1882.
Oliphant, Margaret. Annals of a Publishing House: William Blackwood and His Sons, Their Magazine and Friends. Blackwood, 1897.
Oliphant, Margaret. Caleb Field: A Tale of the Puritans. Colburn, 1851.
Oliphant, Margaret. Cervantes. Blackwood, 1877.
Oliphant, Margaret. Dante. Blackwood, 1877.
Oliphant, Margaret. For Love and Life. Hurst and Blackett, 1874.
Oliphant, Margaret. Hester: A Story of Contemporary Life. Macmillan, 1883.
Oliphant, Margaret. Historical Characters of the Reign of Queen Anne. Century Company, 1894.
Oliphant, Margaret. Historical Sketches of the Reign of George II. Blackwood, 1869.
Oliphant, Margaret. Innocent: A Tale of Modern Life. S. Low, Marston, Low, and Searle, 1873.
Leavis, Q. D., and Margaret Oliphant. “Introduction”. Miss Marjoribanks, Zodiac, 1969, pp. 1-24.
Leavis, Q. D., and Margaret Oliphant. “Introduction”. Autobiography and Letters of Mrs. Margaret Oliphant, edited by Annie Louisa Walker and Annie Louisa Walker, Leicester University Press, 1974, pp. 9-34.
Oliphant, Margaret. “Introduction”. The Library Window. A Story of the Seen and the Unseen, edited by Annmarie Drury, Broadview, 2019.
Oliphant, Margaret. Jeanne d’Arc; Her Life and Death. G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1896.
Oliphant, Margaret. Katie Stewart. Harper, 1852.
Oliphant, Margaret. Kirsteen: A Story of a Scotch Family Seventy Years Ago. Macmillan, 1890.
Oliphant, Margaret. Lady Car; The Sequel of a Life. Longmans, Green, 1889.
Oliphant, Margaret. Lilliesleaf. Hurst and Blackett, 1855.
Oliphant, Margaret. Magdalen Hepburn: A Story of the Scottish Reformation. Hurst and Blackett, 1854.
Oliphant, Margaret. Memoir of Count de Montalembert: A Chapter of Recent French History. Blackwood, 1872.
Oliphant, Margaret. Memoir of the Life of Laurence Oliphant and of Alice Oliphant, His Wife. Blackwood, 1891.
Oliphant, Margaret. Merkland: A Story of Scottish Life. Colburn, 1851.