Lee, Sophia (1750–1824)

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Lee, Sophia (1750–1824)

English novelist and dramatist. Born in London, England, in 1750; died at her house near Clifton, Bristol, on March 13, 1824; daughter of John Lee (d. 1781, an actor and theatrical manager); mother was an actress whose name is unknown; sister of novelist Harriet Lee (1757–1851).

Sophia Lee's first dramatic work, The Chapter of Accidents, a one-act opera based on Diderot's Père de famille, was produced by George Colman at the Haymarket Theatre on August 5, 1780. The proceeds were spent in establishing a school at Bath, where Lee made a home for her sisters, including the writer Harriet Lee . Sophia Lee's subsequent productions included The Recess, or a Tale of other Times (1785), a historical romance, and Almeyda, Queen of Grenada (1796), a tragedy in blank verse which opened at the Drury Lane with Sarah Siddons in the lead. She also contributed to her sister's Canterbury Tales (1797). Recess, with its "underlining of women's 'lost' lives or invisibility in history, its treatment of madness and oppression, and its use of Gothic conventions," writes Joanne Shattock , has "attracted the attention of … critics who liken it to better known Gothic novels by Ann Radcliffe , who very much approved of it."


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