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LETITIA ELIZABETH LANDON (18o2-1838)

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Originally appearing in Volume V16, Page 161 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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LETITIA ELIZABETH LANDON (18o2-1838), English poet and novelist, better known by her initials L. E. L. than as Miss Landon or Mrs Maclean, was descended from an old Hereford-shire family, and was born at Chelsea on the 14th of August 1802. She went to a school in Chelsea where Miss Mitford also received her education. Her father, an army agent, amassed a large property, which he lost by speculation shortly before his death. About 1815 the Landons made the acquaintance of William Jerdan, and Letitia began her contributions to the Literary Gazette and to various Christmas annuals. She also published some volumes of verse, which soon won for her a wide literary fame. The gentle melancholy and romantic sentiment her writings embodied suited the taste of the period, and would in any case have secured her the sympathy and approval of a I these great works it has some points of greatness in common. wide class of readers. She displays richness of fancy and aptness The superhuman isolation of agony and endurance which en-of language, but her work suffered from hasty production, and circles and exalts the hero is in each case expressed with equally has not stood the test of time. The large sums she earned by her appropriate magnificence of effect. The style of Count Julian, literary labours were expended on the support of her family. if somewhat deficient in dramatic ease and the fluency of natural An engagement to John Forster, it is said, was broken off through dialogue, has such might and purity and majesty of speech as the intervention of scandalmongers. In June 1838 she married elsewhere we find only in Milton so long and so steadily sustained. George Maclean, governor of the Gold Coast, but, she only sur- In May 1811 Landor had suddenly married Miss Julia Thuillier, vived her marriage, which proved to be very unhappy, by a few with whose looks he had fallen in love at first sight in a ball-room months. She died on the 15th of October 1838 at Cape Coast from at Bath; and in June they settled for a while at Llanthony Abbey an overdose of prussic acid, which, it is supposed, was taken in Monmouthshire, from whence he was worried in three years' accidentally. time by the combined vexation of neighbours and tenants, For some time L. E. L. was joint editor of the Literary Gazette. lawyers and lords-lieutenant; not before much toil and money Her first volume of poetry appeared in 182o under the title The had been nobly wasted on attempts to improve the sterility of Fate of Adelaide, and was followed by other collectionseof verses the land, to relieve the wretchedness and raise the condition of with similar titles. She also wrote several novels, of which the best is Ethel Churchill (1837). Various editions of her Poetical Works I the peasantry. He left England for France at first, but after have been published since her death, one in 188o with an intro- a brief residence at Tours took up his abode for three years at fuctory memoir by W. B. Scott. The Life and Literary Remains of 1 Como; " and three more wandering years he passed," says his Letitia Elizabeth Landon, by Laman Blanchard, appeared in 1841, biographer, " between Pisa and Pistoja, before he pitched his end a second edition in 1855. tent in Florence in 1821."
End of Article: LETITIA ELIZABETH LANDON (18o2-1838)
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WALTER SAVAGE LANDOR (1775-1864)

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