Veley, Margaret (1843–1887)

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Veley, Margaret (1843–1887)

British novelist and poet. Born on May 12, 1843, in Braintree, Essex, England; died on December 7, 1887; educated at home.

A Victorian novelist and poet whose output was slender but well regarded, Margaret Veley was born in the English town of Braintree on May 12, 1843. Her schooling took place at home. In 1870, she began to contribute prose and poetry to some of the leading literary magazines of the day, and by 1878 she had completed her first novel, For Percival. The book, which had a strong element of humor, remained the best known from Veley's works, and two years after its publication she moved to London. Notable prose works of Veley's London years include Mitchelhurst Place (1884) and A Garden of Memories (1887). Veley, who never married, died at the age of 44 in 1887. After her death, her poetry was collected and published under the title A Marriage of Shadows. The poem that gave the volume its name had aspects of fantasy; another important poem, "A Japanese Fan," was described by the critic George Saintsbury as "something of a positive masterpiece of quiet ironic passion." Although she did not live to learn of the high opinions bestowed upon it, Veley's poetry made perhaps a stronger impression on later chroniclers than did her prose works.


Kunitz, Stanley J., and Howard Haycraft, eds. British Authors of the Nineteenth Century. NY: H.W. Wilson, 1936.

James M. Manheim , freelance writer, Ann Arbor, Michigan

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