(1770–1844), British writer, particularly of moral tales. Barbara Hofland, born Barbara Wreaks, began as a poet, but after the death of her first husband left her penniless with a baby son, she turned to writing children's stories. The History of an Officer's Widow appeared in 1809. After marrying a talented but unreliable artist, she moved from Yorkshire to London, where her literary career developed and she published adult novels, textbooks, and more children's stories. Her most successful work was The Son of a Genius (1812), the partly autobiographical tale of an impecunious painter, which was frequently reprinted. Her realistic stories about hardship, work, and family life, such as Ellen the Teacher (1812) and Elizabeth and Her Three Beggar Boys (1833), have a certain distinctive quality, and may have influenced Charlotte Brontë and Charles Dickens. Barbara Hofland also wrote a few adventure stories, of which The Young Crusoe (1829) achieved considerable popularity.
From The Oxford Encyclopedia of Children's Literature in Oxford Reference.