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At the Circulating Library

A Database of Victorian Fiction, 1837–1901

A Database of Victorian Fiction, 1837–1901

Author: Mabel E. Wotton

Author: Mabel E. Wotton (1863–1927)

Alternate Name(s): Mabel Elizabeth Emily Wotton (legal name)

Biography: Mabel Elizabeth Emily Wotton was born in 1863 in Brixton, the daughter of John Stirling Wilmot Wotton, a civil servant. Her older brother Thomas was a self-described dramatic author and her younger sister Edith was a publisher's reader. Wotton moved in literary and dramatic circles where she developed a life-long friendship with the author Israel Zangwill. (A fictional portrait of Wotton appears as the character "Margaret Engelbourne" in his novel The Mantle of Elijah [1900] which the author dedicated to the Wotton sisters.) Her fictional works include A Pretty Radical (1890), A Girl Diplomatist (1892), and Day-Books (1896)—the latter work, through Zangwill's help, appeared in John Lane's Keynotes series. In addition, Wotton wrote a number of children's books, The Little Browns (1900) being her most popular. The 1890s were particularly difficult for Wotton: her father died in 1893 and her sister suffered a long illness before dying in 1897. Wotton's own health suffered from cardiac complaints and bad eyesight. She wrote H.B. Irving: An Appreciation (1912) before giving up literary work. Wotton never married and died in 1927. Her long correspondence with Zangwill survives (see Rochelson).

References: British Census (1881, 1891); Probate; Meri-Jane Rochelson, "The Friendship of Israel Zangwill and Mabel E. Wotton," English Literature in Transition, 1880–1920 48.3 (2005): 305–23; Times (5 March 1927)

Fiction Titles:

  1. A Pretty Radical and Other Stories.  1 vol.  London: David Stott, 1890.
  2. A Girl Diplomatist.  1 vol.  London: Chapman and Hall, 1892.
  3. Day-Books.  1 vol.  London: John Lane, 1896.