Ainsworth, William Harrison


Ainsworth, William Harrison

▪ British author
born Feb. 4, 1805, Manchester, Lancashire, Eng.
died Jan. 3, 1882, Reigate, Surrey
 English author of popular historical romances.

      Ainsworth initially studied law but left it for literature, publishing his first novel anonymously in 1826. His first success came with the novel Rookwood (1834), featuring the highwayman Dick Turpin, which led many reviewers to hail him as the successor to Sir Walter Scott. Jack Sheppard (1839), the story of an 18th-century burglar, was equally successful, but it helped to stir up fierce reaction against the “Newgate” school of novel writing—of which Ainsworth and Edward Bulwer-Lytton (Lytton, Edward George Earle Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron) were considered exemplars—for its supposed glamorization of crime. Thereafter Ainsworth switched to historical novels based on places rather than criminals, including The Tower of London (1840), Old St. Paul's, a Tale of the Plague and the Fire (1841), Windsor Castle: An Historical Romance (1843), and The Lancashire Witches (1849). In a long career that extended to 1881, he published some 40 novels.

      Ainsworth was editor of Bentley's Miscellany from 1839 to 1841, and he owned that periodical from 1854 to 1868. He was also editor of The New Monthly Magazine (1845–70) and his own Ainsworth's Magazine (1842–54). His novels made him a wealthy man, but his ventures as an editor and publisher were generally unsuccessful. His novels excel in conveying the pageantry and bustle of history but lack coherence of plot and subtlety of characterization. Between 1836 and 1845 Ainsworth's novels were illustrated, with great distinction, by George Cruikshank (Cruikshank, George).

Additional Reading
Keith Hollingsworth, The Newgate Novel, 1830–47 (1963); George J. Worth, William Harrison Ainsworth (1972).

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Ainsworth, William Harrison — (1805 1882)    Novelist, s. of a solicitor, was b. in Manchester. He was destined for the legal profession, which, however, had no attraction for him; and going to London to complete his studies made the acquaintance of Mr. John Ebers, publisher …   Short biographical dictionary of English literature

  • William Harrison Ainsworth — (4 February 1805 ndash; 3 January 1882) was an English historical novelist. He was born in Manchester, the son of a solicitor. He went to the Manchester Grammar School before becoming trained in the law. However the legal profession had no… …   Wikipedia

  • William Harrison Ainsworth — Caricatura publicada en Punch, 1881: TO THE GREATEST AXE AND NECK ROMANCER OF OUR TIME, WHO IS QUITE AT THE HEAD OF HIS PROFESSION, WE DEDICATE THIS BLOCK AD MULTOS ANNOS! William Harrison Ainsworth (Mánchester, Inglaterra, 4 de febrero de 1805… …   Wikipedia Español

  • William Harrison Ainsworth — par Daniel Maclise[1] William Harrison Ainsworth (4 février 1805 à Manchester, Angleterre 3 janvier 1882 à Reigate, Angleterre) est un romancier historiqu …   Wikipédia en Français

  • William Harrison Ainsworth — James William Harrison Ainsworth (* 4. Februar 1805 in Manchester; † 3. Januar 1882 in Reigate) war ein englischer Autor von Schauerromanen. William Harrison Ainsworth (um 1834) Leben Ainsworth studier …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Ainsworth — ist der Name von mehreren Orten, in den Vereinigten Staaten: Ainsworth (Indiana) Ainsworth (Iowa) Ainsworth (Nebraska) Ainsworth (Wisconsin) Ainsworth Corner, Kalifornien Ainsworth Junction, Washington Ainsworth State Park, Oregon in Kanada:… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Harrison (Name) — Harrison ist ein englischer Vor und Familienname. Herkunft Der Name ist ein Patronymikon des Namens Harry und bedeutet „Sohn des Harry“. Bekannte Namensträger Vorname William Harrison Ainsworth (1805–1882), englischer Schriftsteller Harrison… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • William Francis Ainsworth — (* 5. November 1807 in Exeter; † 27. November 1896 in Hammersmith) wird als einer der bedeutenden Erforscher Vorderasiens angesehen. Leben und Wirken Er belegte ein Medizinstudium in Schottland und unternahm geologische Forschungen in den… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Ainsworth (surname) — Ainsworth is a surname with its origins in the North West of Englandfact|date=June 2007. The origin of the word ainsworth is from the anglo Saxon name for an Enclosure fact|date=June 2007. Notable Ainsworths* Gareth Ainsworth (b.1973), English… …   Wikipedia

  • Ainsworth — (spr. Chusnord), 1) Harry, gelehrter Brite, mit Franz Johnson Haupt der Brownisten (Independenten), wanderte mit diesem nach Holland aus, entzweite sich aber mit ihm u. trennte sich mit seiner Gemeinde zu Amsterdam von ihm; starb daselbst um 1650 …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon


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