Dinah Maria Mulock
Author of John Halifax, Gentleman
1826 – 1887 A.D.
She was the daughter of a clergyman of the Established Church and was born in Straffordshire.
Her first novel, The Ogilvies, was an immediate success and gave Miss Murlock a reputation for which others are often obliged to serve a long apprenticeship. The subtle delineation of character and the lifelike scenes show a mature mind and great skill. The Head of the Family is a story of Scottish life in the middle class. John Halifax is perhaps her greatest work. It is, at least, the best known. It is a noble story of English domestic life, and passed through more than a score of editions within a few years.
Among her other works of fiction are, Mistress and Maid, Christian’s Mistake, Hannah, and The Woman’s Kingdom. We should mention as specimens of her miscellaneous works, A Woman’s Thoughts about Women, Sermons Out of Church, and her numerous children’s books.
Miss Murlock became the wife of Mr. George Lillie Craik, author and publisher, who wrote The Pursuit of Knowledge under Difficulties, in several volumes. One volume of this wok related exclusively to women. He contributed to the famous Penny Cyclopaedia and wrote several works on the History of the English Language and English Literature.
Mrs. Craik, as a teacher of high moral qualities and true nobility of character, is probably surpassed by no modern writer of fiction. It has been well said that her mission was to “show how the trials, perplexities, joys, sorrows, labors, and successes of life deepen or wither the character accordingly to the inward bent – how continued insincerity gradually darkens and corrupts the life springs of the mind – and how every event, adverse or fortunate, tends to strengthen and expand a high mind. and to break the springs of selfish or even merely weak and self-indulgent nature.”
So Mrs. Craik wrote with a purpose, and had at her command eloquence, pathos, and genial humor to bring to the hearts of her readers some of life’s greatest lessons.
Reference: Woman: Her Position, Influence, and Achievement Throughout the Civilized World published by the King-Richardson Co. in 1903.