Catherine Grace Frances Gore - Encyclopedia

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CATHERINE GRACE FRANCES GORE (1799-1861), English novelist and dramatist, the daughter of Charles Moody, a winemerchant, was born in 1799 at East Retford, Nottinghamshire. In 1823 she was married to Captain Charles Gore; and, in the next year, she published her first work, Theresa Marchmont, or the Maid of Honour. Then followed, among others, the Lettre de Cachet (1827), The Reign of Terror (1827), Hungarian Tales (1829), Manners of the Day (1830), Mothers and Daughters (1831), and The Fair of May Fair (1832), Mrs Armytage (1836). Every succeeding year saw several volumes from her pen: The Cabinet Minister and The Courtier of the Days of Charles II., in 1839; Preferment in 1840. In 1841 Cecil, or the Adventures of a Coxcomb, attracted considerable attention. Greville, or a Season in Paris appeared in the same year; then Ormington, or Cecil a Peer, Fascination, The Ambassador's Wife; and in 1843 The Banker's Wife. Mrs Gore continued to write, with unfailing fertility of invention, till her death on the 29th of January 1861. She also wrote some dramas of which the most successful was the School for Coquettes, produced at the Haymarket (1831). She was a woman of versatile talent, and set to music Burns's "And ye shall walk in silk attire," one of the most popular songs of her day. Her extraordinary literary industry is proved by the existence of more than seventy distinct works. Her best novels are Cecil, or the Adventures of a Coxcomb, and The Banker's Wife. Cecil gives extremely vivid sketches of London fashionable life, and is full of happy epigrammatic touches. For the knowledge of London clubs displayed in it Mrs Gore was indebted to William Beckford, the author of Vathek. The Banker's Wife is distinguished by some clever studies of character, especially in the persons of Mr Hamlyn, the cold calculating money-maker, and his warm-hearted country neighbour, Colonel Hamilton.

Mrs Gore's novels had an immense temporary popularity; they were parodied by Thackeray in Punch, in his "Lords and Liveries by the author of Dukes and Dejeuners"; but, tedious as they are to present-day readers, they presented on the whole faithful pictures of the contemporary life and pursuits of the English upper classes.

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