C. F. Keary

(1848—1917) numismatist and writer

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George Gissing (1857—1903) novelist


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(1848–1917). Born in Stoke-on-Trent and educated at Marlborough College (1862–4) and Trinity College, Cambridge, Keary was an assistant in the coin department of the British Museum (1872–1887). He left the Museum in order to write; his first book, A Wanderer (1888), was a collection of bookish reflections published under the pseudonym ‘H. Ogram Matuce’, signifying ό γραμα τεύς, the literary man. He wrote history, novels, and verse from then until his death and contributed many articles on art, mythology, history, and literature to the most respectable periodicals: he was an expert on early Scandinavian literature and history and Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. He suffered from asthma and bronchitis and lived much abroad, at Barbizon or in the Pyrenees. George Gissing, who saw him several times in 1896, called him ‘not a man of much account’. His fiction is rather unusual in flavour; the Times's obituarist commented (27 Oct. 1917) that Keary aimed ‘at depicting life after the manner of the great Russian writers, in its chaotic reality and avoiding conventional selection and arrangement’. High Policy (1902) portrays the English political and social system as encountered by the ingenuous heroine Cynthia, an idealistic Tory. It gives a vivid sense of the clash of mental attitudes and sexual mores. Diverse ideologies, including the belief in the inherited right to rule of the Anglo-Saxon aristocracy, are outlined without authorial endorsement.

From The Oxford Companion to Edwardian Fiction in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Literature.

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