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A. L. V. Gretton

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Published : 1 Article
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Contributor to periodicals; author of two books: The Vicissitudes of Italy, since the Congress of Vienna, 1859; and The Englishwoman in Italy: Impressions of Life in the Roman States and Sardinia, during a Ten Years' Residence, 1860. On the title page of her first book (preface dated from Genoa), the writer gave her name as A. L. V. Gretton; on the title page of the second, as Mrs. G. Gretton. The two books are by the same writer, as the following facts indicate: First, a review of The Vicissitudes of Italy in the English Woman's Journal, August 1859, refers to the author of that book as "Mrs. Gretton" and states that she was "Resident in Italy, intimately acquainted with the history of the country and the people"; as the title of the second book records, Mrs. Gretton was resident in Italy for ten years. Second, in The Vicissitudes of Italy, the author tells of an Ancona woman of abandoned character" who in August 1849 brought about the execution of her aged husband by hiding a dagger in the palliasse of his bed and denouncing him to the Austrian occupation authorities for having a concealed weapon in his possession—"an incident that came under my own observation"; in The Englishwoman in Italy, the author relates the same incident (the wife is "a reckless, abandoned woman") as happening in Ancona in 1849 (though the weapon is here spoken of as a sword rather than a dagger, and the execution is stated to have taken place on the morning following the denunciation, rather than within two hours of the denunciation).


In The Vicissitudes of Italy, Mrs. Gretton incorporated three of her articles that had appeared in the British and Foreign Evangelical Review, 1857; in The Englishwoman in Italy, she included several of her articles that had appeared in Chambers's in 1853, and two of her articles that had appeared in the English Woman's Journal, 1859.

An unpublished letter from Dickens to Mrs. Gretton (to appear in Pilgrim
Letters) indicates that Dickens returned to her an earlier H.W. contribution than the one that he accepted: an unpublished letter of March 1859 to Emile De la Rue (to appear in Pilgrim Letters) indicates that Dickens attempted to help Mrs. Gretton find a publisher for her first book (published May 1859, preface dated January 27).

Author: Anne Lohrli; © University of Toronto Press, 1973.

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