Fantastic Fridays: Lady Jane Wilde

Swan River Press will be takes us on a tour through Ireland’s fantasy heritage.

Lady Jane Wilde
“And no one knew how the flowers came into her dead hand.” – The Child’s Dream (1887)

Lady Jane Francesca Wilde (1821?-1896), born in Dublin, was a poet, folklorist, nationalist, and feminist who wrote under the name “Speranza”. Her earliest writings were published in The Nation, a pro-independence weekly newspaper; much of this nationalist poetry was collected in Poems (1864). She married the surgeon and writer Sir William Wilde in 1851 and had three children with him, among them Oscar Wilde. By the end of the 1860s Lady Wilde was hosting the most celebrated literary salon in Dublin at her home in Merrion Square, where Bram Stoker was a frequent guest. After her husband’s death, she joined her sons in London. Based on material collected by William Wilde in the west of Ireland, Lady Wilde produced two formidable volumes: Ancient Legends, Mystic Charms and Superstitions of Ireland (1887) and Ancient Cures, Charms, and Usages of Ireland (1890). Living in relative poverty, she continued to write for magazines such as Pall Mall Gazette, Tinsley’s, and Burlington Magazine until her death on 3 February 1896.

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