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Brazil, Angela (1868–1947)

Brazil, Angela (1868–1947)

English author of immensely popular stories for girls. Born on November 30, 1868, in Preston, Lancashire,England; died on March 14, 1947, in Coventry, England; fourth and youngest daughter of Clarence (manager of a cotton mill) andAngelica (McKinnell) Brazil ; sister ofAmy Brazil ; attended Miss Knowles' Select Ladies' School, Manchester High School, and Ellerslie College, Manchester; studied art at Heatherley's Art College, London; never married; no children.

Selected works:

The Fortunes of Philippa (1906); The Third Class at Miss Kaye's (1908); The Nicest Girl in the School (1910); A Fourth Form Friendship (1912); The Jolliest Term on Record (1915); The Madcap of the School (1917); Monitress Merle (1922); Captain Peggie (1924); My Own Schooldays (1925); The School on the Loch (1946).

Known as the English schoolgirl's favorite author, Angela Brazil did not begin writing professionally until she was 36. From 1906 until her death in 1947, she produced at least one book a year, over 50 titles in all.

The youngest of four children, Angela was raised primarily by her mother, who fostered in her a love of nature, literature, and art. During her formal education, Brazil experienced the first of the intense friendships that would later figure

so prominently in her books. At 18, she rejected university study, opting to attend Heatherley's Art College in London, after which she worked as a governess. Following her father's death in 1899, she traveled to Europe and the Middle East with her sister Amy and her mother.

Her first work, A Terrible Tom Boy (1904), largely autobiographical, was followed by The Fortunes of Philippa (1906) which was based on her mother's school experiences. Brazil's early books were her most popular, including The Third Class at Miss Kaye's (1908), The Nicest Girl in the School (1910), A Fourth Form Friendship (1912), The Jolliest Term on Record (1915), The Madcap of the School (1917), Monitress Merle (1922), and Captain Peggie (1924). They appealed to largely upper- and middle-class fans. "Brazil's heroines," writes Joanne Shattock , "were characterized by their intense emotional attachments to those of the same sex, their notorious slang, which led to the books being banned in some schools, their respect for authority, and their devotion to games, especially hockey." During her career, Brazil also contributed to periodicals like Little Folks and Our School Magazine.

In her autobiography My Own Schooldays, written in 1925, Brazil recalls that her family holidays by the sea and in the countryside of Wales were as important an influence as any lessons learned in school. The location and adventures of these childhood outings often found their way into her stories. She also credited her early love of nature with providing "a capacity for inner happiness that is not affected by outside events."

Remaining single, Brazil lived with her unmarried brother and sister in Coventry. She never lost her passion for art, continuing to sketch and paint throughout her life. In 1925, she and her sister Amy mounted an exhibition at the Walker Gallery and, in 1929, over 300 of her flower studies were exhibited in Coventry. To the end of her life, Brazil continued writing a book a year, though her later work was produced to formula. Her last novel, The School on the Loch, was published in 1946, a year before her death.

sources:

Saintbury, Elizabeth. "Angela Brazil: The Schoolgirl's Favourite Author," in This England. Spring 1985.

Shattock, Joanne. The Oxford Guide to British Women Writers. NY: Oxford University Press, 1993.

Barbara Morgan , Melrose, Massachusetts

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