(born Nov. 22, 1857, Wakefield, Yorkshire, Eng.—died Dec. 28, 1903, Saint-Jean-de-Luz, France) British novelist. He had a brilliant academic career but an unhappy personal life; twice involved in miserable marriages, he experienced the life of near poverty and constant drudgery that he described in New Grub Street, 3 vol. (1891), his best-known work, and The Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft (1903). Inspired by Honoré de Balzac, he wrote a cycle of 22 novels, which included Born in Exile (1892) and The Odd Women (1893). His realistic novels of lower-middle-class life are noted for their acute perception of women's social position and psychology.
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He is best known for his book Twenty-one Days in India (1878-1879), a satire upon Anglo-Indian society and modes of thought. This book gave promise of a successful literary career, but the author died at the age of thirty-three.