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The page of Procter, Adelaide Anne, English biography

Image of Procter, Adelaide Anne
Procter, Adelaide Anne


Born in London, the first child of Bryan Waller Procter (the poet "Barry Cornwall") and Anne Skepper, Adelaide Anne was a highly gifted child, attaining considerably proficiency in geometry, piano, drawing, French, German and Italian.  She was also a voracious reader. Brought up in surroundings favourable to the development of literary leanings, she began to write verses at an early age.

Adelaide's early poetry was presented to her parents' distinguished literary circle in manuscript form.  At eighteen, she contributed to the "Book of Beauty" and in 1853 to Household Words under the pseudonym "Mary Berwick" in order that the editor, Charles Dickens, should not be prejudiced by his friendship with the Procter family.  Dickens was so attracted to Adelaide's first poem that he asked 'Mary Berwick' to send in further contributions, only discovering much later — and rather by accident — the poet's true identity.  In the following six years the magazine published much of Adelaide's poetry, her poems also appearing in All the Year Round, Cornwall and Good Words. The first series of Adelaide's principal work, Legends and Lyrics, appeared in 1858 and ran through nine editions in seven years; a second series published in 1860 met with similar success.  In 1866, a further edition appeared  together with an introduction by Charles Dickens, and there have been numerous reprints of Legends and Lyrics to the present day. Believed to have been Queen Victoria's favourite poet, Adelaide is reputed to have sold more volumes of poetry during the Victorian era than any other poet except Tennyson.

List of works:
- Book of Beauty, 1843 (under the pseudonym "Mary Berwick")
- A House to Let, a short story co-written with Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Gaskell and Wilkie Collins
- Legends and Lyrics, first series, 1858
- Legends and Lyrics, second series, 1861
- A Chaplet of Verses, 1862
- The Haunted House, a short story co-written with Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Gaskell, Wilkie Collins, George Sala and Hesba Stretton


(Editor of this page: Répás Norbert)

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