Jane Porter (1776 - 1850)
Jane Porter (17 January 1776 – 24 May 1850) was a Scottish historical novelist and dramatist. Jane Porter was an avid reader. Said[who?] to rise at four in the morning in order to read and write, she read the whole of Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene while still a child. Tall and beautiful as she grew up, her grave and preoccupied air earned her the nickname 'La Penserosa', possibly a reference recalling the poem Il Penseroso by John Milton, meaning 'a brooding or melancholy person or personality'. After her father's death, her family moved to Edinburgh, where Walter Scott was a regular visitor. Some time afterward the family moved to London, where the sisters became acquainted with a number of literary women: Elizabeth Inchbald, Anna Laetitia Barbauld, Hannah More, Elizabeth Hamilton, Elizabeth Benger and Mrs Champion de Crespigny. Her novel Thaddeus of Warsaw (1803) is one of the earliest examples of the historical novel, and it went through a dozen editions. Based on Polish-refugee eyewitness accounts of the doomed Polish independence struggle of the 1790s, the book was praised by Tadeusz (Thaddeus) Kościuszko, also a character in the novel. The Scottish Chiefs (1810), a novel about William Wallace, was also a success (the French version was banned by Napoleon), and it has remained popular with Scottish children. The Pastor's Fireside (1815) was a story about the later Stuarts.
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