For our latest project, we were tasked by having to choose a Scottish author who is out of copyright. I chose Mrs Margaret Oliphant, a popular choice as demonstrated by previous posts from my fellow peers. Below are a few reasons why I today am celebrating the wonderful Oliphant as an author, but more importantly, as a women.
M – ‘Margaret’ means ‘pearl’ which is often associated with the stereotype that all women like materialistic shiny things, such as diamonds and pearls. However, the name also stands for Saint Margaret from the 4th century, who represented the undercurrent of women determining their own destinies by escaping a dragon (an old folk tale of course, but symbolises a women escaping on her own. Similar to the heroines depicted in Oliphant’s own novels.
A – Author. I respect all writers of all kinds, but I have always had a strong respect and admiration towards female authors as unfortunately getting their voices and names out their is hard as the industry has, and still is, predominately male. Oliphant went on to write numerous successful novels. whilst still being a women in a man’s world.
R – ‘The Rector’. This is the title of the first story that features in her series ‘The Chronicles of Carlingford’. It so happens, that this story and another (‘The Doctor’s Family’) are the pieces of work I am publishing from Elephant, for Merchiston Publishers.
G – (not just a) Girl. She may of started of as a girl, but went onto become a driven independent women.
A – ‘A Literary History of England from 1760 to 1825. Oliphant did not only write fiction pieces, such as this non-fiction book. As the old stereotype goes, women can multitask.
R – Romance. The majority of Oliphant’s fiction novels fall into the ‘romance’ category.
E – East Lothian. She was born near Musselburgh, East Lothian.
T – Tales of the Supernatural. Alongside writing romance novels and non-fiction pieces, Oliphant was also very into all things supernatural, including writing some ghost stories along the way. Now who said you couldn’t do it all; Margaret Oliphant did.
O – Oliphant. I just love her surname. Especially as its like ‘elephant’, which my spell check keeps reminding me every time I type her surname.
L – Loved, lost and lived. Oliphant unfortunately has a sad home life, including three of her children dying at infancy, followed by her husband and then her remaining daughter who was buried in alongside her fathers/Oliphant’s husband. Despite all this pain and sorrow, she carried on. She relocated and put her engird into writing. She loved, she lost and she continued to live, which I will always find inspiring of anyone who has that kind of strength and determination.
I – Irish novelist ‘Emily Lawless’. Oliphant was a literary mentor too Emily, passing on her advice and knowledge to the up and coming author. Women supporting women.
P – ‘Passages in the Life of Mrs. Margaret Maitland’. Her first novel ever published (in 1949).
H- ‘Holy Land’. One of her articles which was published in Blackwood’s Magazine in 1854 (vol. 76).
A- Aries. She was born in April (the 4th) making her an Aries which are known for being courageous, determined and passionate; which are very prompt too Oliphant herself.
N – Novelist. She went onto the publish over 120 novels from 1849 to 1897.
T – ‘The Chronicles of Carlingford’. These chronicles featured seven volumes and again *cough* *plug* *cough* is the chronicles I have decided to publish.
HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMENS DAY! I leave you with these lovely words by the women herself, Mrs Margaret Oliphant:
Oh never mind the fashion. When one has style of one’s own, it’s always twenty times better