Ellen Wood

[Mrs. Henry Wood]

Biography of Ellen Wood

Ellen Wood (17 January 1814 – 10 February 1887), was an English novelist, better known as "Mrs. Henry Wood". She is best known for her 1861 novel East Lynne.

Ellen Price was born in Worcester in 1814. In 1836 she married Henry Wood, who worked in the banking and shipping trade in Dauphiné in the South of France, where they lived for 20 years. On the failure of Wood's business, the family (including four children) returned to England, settling in Norwood in London, and Ellen Wood turned to writing. This supported the family (Henry Wood died in 1866). She wrote over 30 novels, many of which (especially East Lynne), enjoyed remarkable popularity. Among the best known of her stories are Danesbury House, Oswald Cray, Mrs. Halliburton's Troubles, The Channings, Lord Oakburn's Daughters and The Shadow of Ashlydyat. In 1867, Wood purchased the English magazine Argosy, which had been founded by Alexander Strahan in 1865. She wrote much of the magazine herself, but other contributors included Hesba Stretton, Julia Kavanagh, Christina Rossetti, Sarah Doudney and Rosa Nouchette Carey. Wood continued as its editor until her death in 1887, when her son Charles Wood took over. At her death (caused by bronchitis) her estate was valued at over £36,000, then a very considerable sum.

Her works were translated into many languages. In a 9 March 1872 letter to his older brother Sergei, Leo Tolstoy noted that he was "reading Mrs. Wood's wonderful novel In the Maze".

After her death, she was buried in Highgate Cemetery, London. In 1916 a monument to Mrs. Wood was inaugurated in Worcester Cathedral.

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