Happy Irish Fiction Friday! In honor of the full moon this weekend, I thought it appropriate that we visit “a classic of Victorian supernatural fiction.” This week we visit the work of Charlotte Riddell her Weird Stories. The link to the work contains a brief biography of Riddell and links to more information about her.
Charlotte Eliza Lawson Cowan was born on September 30, 1832 in Carrickfergus, County Antrim, Ireland. Shortly after her father, James Cowan, High Sheriff of County antirm, died (1851), she and her mother moved to London (1855). She married Joseph Hadley Riddell, an engineer, in 1857. Her husband was always in financial difficulties, so it’s not surprising that many of her novels deal with economic issues. She published her first novel in 1858 under the pseudonym F.G. Trafford, beginning a prolific career in which she published over 50 books. She began using her married name, Mrs J.H. Riddell in 1866. In 1868, she became co-editor of St James’s Magazine. Joseph died on March 20, 1881. Weird Stories is considered her best supernatural collection and was published in 1882. Some of her stories, such as the novel Maxwell Drewitt (1865) are set in Ireland. Riddell was the first recipient of a pension from the Society of Authors in 1901, and she died on September 24, 1906.