Saturday, March 25, 2017

Born Today March 25: Mrs Linnaeus Banks (Isabella Varley Banks)


Isabella Varley, later Banks--known professionally of Mrs. (G.) Linnaeus Banks was born on this date in Manchester, England, UK.  Her father was a pharmacist in the northern part of the city.  As a child, she developed a deep interest in the history of the city and it's political development. This came about because of her parents active involvement in politics; her father held several civil posts during her childhood.  This lead her, later in life, to become a progressive supporter of women's rights.  She also starting writing at the relatively early age, actually having one of poems published in The Manchester Guardian. By 1844, a full volume of her poetry had been published.  In 1846 she married prominent journalist George Linnaeus Banks--who was also a poet and playwright--as well as an actor.  She then began to publish works under her married name, though a few works continued to be published under her maiden name.  Though she was a prolific writer, and all of her works were published, it is principally for one work that she is known:  The Manchester Man.  It is a serial novel that is considered to be an important contribution to the historical social novel form.  With it's publication, she gained a fan in fellow British novelist Anthony Trollope.  Although the work remains widely read to this day, it has only been made into a film once:  in 1920.  The Manchester Man was produced in the UK, directed by Bert Wynne, and was the only film made by a company called itself Ideal.  She died in her home in the outer skirts of London on 4 May 1897, she is buried in the Abney Park Cemetery next to her husband whom had passed in 1881.  She was 76 years old.

Later in life.

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