Alice Meynell

Alice Meynell books and biography

Alice Meynell

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Alice Christiana Gertrude Thompson Meynell (22 September 1847 - 27 November 1922) was an English writer, editor, critic, and suffragist, now remembered mainly as a poet.

Born in Barnes, London, to Thomas James and Christiana (nee Weller) Thompson. The family moved from England, Switzerland, and France, but she was brought up mostly in Italy. Her father was a friend of Charles Dickens.

Preludes (1875) was her first poetry collection, illustrated by her elder sister Elizabeth (the artist Lady Elizabeth Butler, 1850-1933, whose husband was Sir William Francis Butler). The work was warmly praised by Ruskin, although it received little public notice. Ruskin especially singled out the sonnet Renunciation for its beauty and delicacy.

After Alice, following inline with the entire Thompson family, converted to the Roman Catholic Church (1868 to 1880), her writings migrated to subjects of religious matters. This eventually led her to the Catholic newspaper publisher and editor Wilfrid Meynell (1852 - 1948) in 1876. A year later (1877) she married Meynell, and they settled in Kensington. They became proprietor and editor of The Pen, the Weekly Register, Merry England, and other magazines. Alice and Wilfrid had a family of eight children, Sebastian, Monica, Everard, Madeleine, Viola, Vivian (who died at three months), Olivia, and Francis. Viola Meynell (1885-1956) became an author in her own right, and the youngest child Francis Meynell (1891-1975) was the poet and printer at the Nonesuch Press.

Alice was much involved in editorial work on publications with her husband, and in her own writing, poetry and prose. She wrote regularly for The World, The Spectator, The Magazine of Art, The Scots Observer, The Tablet, The Art Journal, the National Observer, edited by W. E. Henley the Pall Mall Gazette, and The Saturday Review.

The British poet Francis Thompson, down and out in London and trying to recover from the opium addiction that had overtaken him, sent the couple a manuscript. His poems were first published in Wilfred's Merrie England, and the Meynells became a supporter of Thompson. His 1893 book Poems was a Meynell production and initiative.

At the end of the nineteenth century, in conjunction with uprisings against the British (among them the Indian’s, the Zulu’s, the Boxer Rebellion, and the Muslim revolt lead by Muhammad Ahmed in the Sudan), many European scholars, writers, and artists, especially Catholics, began to question Europe’s colonial imperialism, and its attempt to rule the world. This led Alice, Wilfrid, Elizabeth, and others in their circle to speak out for the oppressed. Alice became a leading figure in the Women Writers' Suffrage League, which was founded by Cicely Hamilton and active 1908 to 1919.

Her prose essays were remarkable for fineness of culture and peculiar restraint of style. After a series of illnesses, she died 27 November 1922. She is buried at Kensal Green Catholic Cemetery, London, England.


  • Preludes (1875) poems
  • The Rhythm of Life (1893) essays
  • Poems by Francis Thompson (1893) editor and producer
  • Holman Hunt (1893)
  • Selected Poems of Thomas Gordon Hake (1894) editor
  • The Color of Life and other Essays (1896)
  • Poetry of Pathos and Delight by Coventry Patmore (1896) editor
  • The Flower of the Mind (1897) anthology of English verse, editor, critic.
  • The Children (1897) essays
  • The Spirit of Place (1898) essays
  • London Impressions (1898)
  • Ruskin (1900)
  • Later Poems (1901)
  • The Work of John S. Sargent (1903)
  • Essays (1914)
  • The Second Person Singular (1921)
  • The Poems of Alice Meynell, Complete Edition (Oxford University Press, 1940)
  • Prose and Poetry (1947) introduction Vita Sackville-West, various editors

This article might use material from a Wikipedia article, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

Sponsored Links

Flower Of The Mind And Later Poems

The Spirit Of Place

message of the week Message of The Week

Bookyards Youtube channel is now active. The link to our Youtube page is here.

If you have a website or blog and you want to link to Bookyards. You can use/get our embed code at the following link.

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Bookyards Facebook, Tumblr, Blog, and Twitter sites are now active. For updates, free ebooks, and for commentary on current news and events on all things books, please go to the following:

Bookyards at Facebook

Bookyards at Twitter

Bookyards at Pinterest

Bookyards atTumblr

Bookyards blog

message of the daySponsored Links