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At the Circulating Library

A Database of Victorian Fiction, 1837–1901

A Database of Victorian Fiction, 1837–1901

Author: Emma Severn

Author: Emma Severn (born 1799)

Alternate Name(s): Atkinson (married name)

Biography: Emma Severn was born on 22 December 1799 in Harlow, Essex, the daughter of minister Benjamin Penn Severn and his wife Elizabeth Carne. Her elder brother Charles Severn attended medical school with the poet John Keats and later became the registrar of the London Medical Society. Her early life cannot be traced. By 1841, she lived with her widowed mother and sister Anne in Bolt Court, London. Their residence there was due to their brother: Anne took over his duties during his illness and after his death in 1840. Inspired by Charles's discovery of a Stratford-upon-Avon diary in the Medical Society's collection, Emma wrote her only novel Anne Hathaway (1845). A year later she successfully applied to the Royal Literary Fund due to her sister's poor health. Thereafter, her life is difficult to trace. She emigrated to Australia in 1848. At some time she married. She next turns up in Virginia City, Nevada in 1865: now a widow and destitute, the good people of the town collected a subscription for her to return to England. The 1870 census finds her living in Carson City. Her death cannot be traced: presumably she died in Nevada in the 1870s.

Author Tags:

References: British Census (1841); W. S. Pierpoint, "Charles Severn, 1796–1840," Keats-Shelley Review (2012); RLF (case number 1150); London Standard (21 November 1865); U. S. Census (1870)

Fiction Titles:

  1. Anne Hathaway: or, Shakespeare in Love.  3 vol.  London: Bentley, 1845.