William Hamilton Maxwell

(1792—1850) writer

Show Summary Details

Quick Reference

(1792–1850), novelist and historian. Born in Newry, Co. Down, and educated at TCD, he became Church of Ireland vicar of Balla, Co. Mayo. A life-long enthusiasm for military life, apparently frustrated by parental wishes, resulted in Stories of Waterloo (1829) and The Bivouac (1837) which earned him the name of father of the military novel. His world of irresponsible young men let loose in the playground of colonial Ireland set the tone for much of Anglo-Irish fiction, notably the ‘rollicking’ novels of Charles Lever who did not scruple to plagiarize him. Maxwell fought back with diffuse three-volume works such as Hector O'Halloran and His Man Mark Antony O'Toole (1842), Captain O'Sullivan, a Gentleman on Half-Pay (1846), and Luck is Everything, or The Adventures of Brian O'Linn (1856). Wild Sports of the West (1832), his best-known work, is a compendium of hunting-and-fishing lore and melodramatic stories of the marriage-by-capture variety. Maxwell's disapproval of rebellion was signalled to the Young Irelanders in a work extravagantly titled The Irish Movements, Their Rise, Progress, and Certain Termination, with a few Broad Hints to Patriots and Pikemen (1848).

From The Concise Oxford Companion to Irish Literature in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Literature.

Reference entries

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.