Amelia Opie image
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Born in November 12, 1769 / Died in December 2, 1853 / United Kingdom / English


British Romantic poet, novelist, and playwright Amelia Opie was born and raised in Norwich. The only child of a physician, she studied music and French as a child. Her mother died when she was 15, and she published her first novel, The Dangers of Coquetry (1790), anonymously at the age of 21.

In 1794 she began making annual trips to London, where she became part of a literary circle that included William Godwin, Mary Wollstonecraft, and Elizabeth Inchbald. She married the painter John Opie in 1798, and thereafter published under her married name. The couple lived primarily in London.

Opie is the author of more than a dozen novels, including The Father and Daughter, A Tale in Prose: with an Epistle from the Maid of Corinth to Her Lover, and Other Poetical Pieces (1801), Adeline Mowbray (1804), and Illustrations of Lying (1824), as well as eight collections of poetry, which include Poems (1803), The Warrior’s Return and Other Poems (1808), and Lays for the Dead (1834). Both her poetry and prose often engage moral and domestic issues.

Following her husband’s death in 1807, Opie published his biography, Memoir of John Opie (1809). She then returned to Norwich to care for her father. An active abolitionist, she joined the Religious Society of Friends, or Quakers, in 1814. Opie died following a brief illness and was buried in the Gildencroft Quaker Cemetery in Norwich.