Meynell, Alice Christiana Gertrude, 1847-1922Variant names
Alice Christiana Gertrude Thompson was born in England on October 11, 1847 to Thomas James and Christiana (Weller) Thompson. Alice and her sister Elizabeth received their education from their father and were brought up primarily in the English countryside and Italy. Alice was encouraged to write poetry by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, to whom she was introduced by family friend Aubrey de Vere. Alice became a poet, and Elizabeth became a painter.
In 1868, Alice was received into the Catholic Church at St. George's, Worcester. Her mother had converted, and her sister and father eventually did as well. A devout Catholic, her faith was of central importance to her life and work.
Alice's first book of poetry, Preludes (1875) featured illustrations by Elizabeth. The work was well-received by such literary figures as Tennyson, de Vere, Christina Rosetti, and John Ruskin. Shortly thereafter, she met and married Wilfrid Meynell, a journalist and admirer of her work. They had eight children, one of whom died infancy. While raising their family, Alice continued to write and to assist Wilfrid with the editorial responsibilities of the Weekly Register. The Meynells edited and publshed two literary magazines together, first The Pen, followed by Merry England (1883-1884). Through the latter publication, the Meynells met and befriended Francis Thompson, publishing his work and acting as his sponsors. Alice's books of poetry published after her marriage included Poems(1893), Later Poems (1902), Collected Poems of Alice Meynell (1913) and the posthumous Last Poems (1923).
In addition to her poetry, Alice Meynell was a reviewer, critic, essayist, and columnist, who contributed to the Pall Mall Gazette , National Observer, Spectator, and the Tablet. An accomplished art critic, she also wrote for the Magazine of Art and the Art Journal. She was the author of seven collections of essays, including The Rhythm of Life (1893), and prefaces to works by poets including William Blake, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and William Wordsworth.
Alice Meynell was a vice-president of the Women Writers' Suffrage League, founded by Cicely Hamilton and active 1908–1919. She was one of the early founders of the Catholic Women's Suffrage Society, which supported peaceful means for the achievement of equal suffrage rights for women. Alice was twice considered for the Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom, in 1892 and 1913.
Alice Meynell died on November 27, 1922, at the age of 75.
|Women authors, English
|Women authors, English