, née Alderson
(12 November 1769
- 2 December 1853
), was an English
Amelia Alderson was the daughter of James Alderson, a physician in Norwich, and Amelia Briggs. She was a cousin of Edward Hall Alderson with whom she corresponded throughout her life.
Miss Alderson had inherited radical principles and was an ardent admirer of John Horne Tooke. She was intimate with John Philip Kemble, Sarah Siddons, William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft. In 1798 she married John Opie, the painter. The nine years of her married life were very happy, although her husband did not share her love of society. He encouraged her to write, and in 1801 she produced a novel entitled Father and Daughter, which showed genuine fancy and pathos.
She published a volume of graceful verse in 1802; Adeline Mowbray followed in 1804, Simple Tales in 1806, Temper in 1812, Tales of Real Life in 1813, Valentine's Eve in 1816, Tales of the Heart in 1818, and Madeline in 1822.
Opie wrote The dangers of Coquetry when aged 18 and married John Opie in 1798. Her novel Father and Daughter (1801) is about misled virtue and family reconciliation. Encouraged by Mary Wollstonecraft she wrote Adeline Mowbray (1804) an exploration of relationship between mother and daughter. Adeline Mowbray discusses in an un-self-conscious and frank manner and delivers the moral that the desires of women as much as men can override their families' wishes and thus jeopardise their future. Most of Amelia Opie's life was divided between London and Norwich. She was a friend of Sir Walter Scott, Richard Brinsley Sheridan and Madame de Stael.
At length, in 1825, through the influence of Joseph John Gurney, she joined the Society of Friends, and beyond a volume entitled Detraction Displayed, and contributions to periodicals, she wrote nothing more. The rest of her life was spent in travelling and in the exercise of charity.
Late in her life she received George Borrow as a guest. After a visit to Cromer, a seaside resort on the North Norfolk coast, she caught a chill, retired to her bedroom and died a year later.
Mrs Opie retained her vivacity to the last, dying at Norwich on 2 December 1853. She is buried at the Gildencroft Quaker Cemetery, Norwich.
A Life, by Miss CL Brightwell, was published in 1854.
Novels and Stories
- Dangers of Coquetry. (published anonymously) 1790
- Father and Daughter. 1801
- Adeline Mowbray. 1804
- Simple Tales. 1806
- Temper 1812
- First Chapter of Accidents. 1813
- Valentine's Eve. 1816
- New Tales. 1818
- Tales of the Heart. 1820
- Madeline. 1822
- Illustrations of Lying. 1824
- Tales of the Pemberton Family for Children. 1825
- The Last Voyage. 1828
- Detraction Displayed. 1828
- Miscellaneous Tales. (12 Vols.) 1845-7
- Memoir of John Opie. 1809
- Sketch of Mrs. Roberts. 1814
- Maid of Corinth. 1801
- Elegy to the Memory of the Duke of Bedford 1802
- Poems. 1803
- Lines to General Kosciusko. 1803
- Song to Stella. 1803
- The Warrior's Return. 1808
- The Black Man's Lament. 1826
- Lays for the Dead. 1834
- Recollections of Days in Holland. 1840
- "Opie, Amelia." British Authors of the Nineteenth Century H.W. Wilson Co., New York, 1936
- Eberle, Roxanne. "Amelia Opie's Adeline Mowbray: Diverting the Libertine Gaze; Or, The Windication of a Fallen Woman". Studies in the Novel 26.2 (1994):121–52.
- Howard, Carol. "'The Story of the Pineapple': Sentimental Abolitionism and Moral Motherhood in Amelia Opie's Adeline Mowbray". Studies in the Novel 30 (1998): 355–76.
- Howard, Susan K. "Amelia Opie". British Romantic Novelists, 1789–1832. Ed. Bradford K. Mudge. Detroit: Gale Research, 1992.
- Kelly, Gary. "Discharging Debts: The Moral Economy of Amelia Opie's Fiction". The Wordsworth Circle 11 (1980): 198–203.
- Kelly, Gary. English Fiction of the Romantic Period, 1789-1830. London: Longman, 1989.
- King, Shelley and John B. Pierce. "Introduction". The Father and Daughter with Dangers of Coquetry. Peterborough: Broadview Press, 2003.
- Simmons, Jr., James R. "Amelia Opie". British Short-Fiction Writers, 1800–1880. Ed. John R. Greenfield. Detroit: Gale Research, 1996.
- Spender, Dale. Mothers of the Novel: 100 Good Women Writers Before Jane Austen. London: Pandora, 1986.
- St. Clair, William. The Godwins and Shelleys: The Biography of a Family. London: Faber and Faber, 1989.
- Staves, Susan. "British Seduced Maidens". Eighteenth-Century Studies 12 (1980–81):109–34.
- Ty, Eleanor. Empowering the Feminine: The Narratives of Mary Robinson, Jane West, and Amelia Opie, 1796–1812. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1998.