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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
Mathilde Blind (1841–1896)
Critical and Biographical Introduction
 
MATHILDE BLIND was born at Mannheim, Germany, March 21st, 1841. She was educated principally in London, and subsequently in Zürich. Since her early school days, with the exception of this interval of study abroad, and numerous journeys to the south of Europe and the East, she has lived in London. Upon her return from Zürich she was thrown much into contact with Mazzini, in London, and her first essay in literature was a volume of poems (which she published in 1867 under the pseudonym Claude Lake) dedicated to him. She was also in close personal relationship with Madox Brown, W. M. Rossetti, and Swinburne. Her first literary work to appear under her own name was a critical essay on the poetical works of Shelley in the Westminster Review in 1870, based upon W. M. Rossetti’s edition of the poet. In 1872 she wrote an account of the life and writings of Shelley, to serve as an introduction to a selection of his poems in the Tauchnitz edition. She afterwards edited a selection of the letters of Lord Byron with an introduction, and a selection of his poems with a memoir. A translation of Strauss’s ‘The Old Faith and the New’ appeared in 1873, which contained in a subsequent edition a biography of the author. In 1883, Miss Blind wrote the initial volume, ‘George Eliot,’ for the ‘Eminent Women Series,’ which she followed in 1886 in the same series with ‘Madame Roland.’ Her first novel, ‘Tarantella,’ appeared in 1885. Besides these prose works, she has made frequent contributions of literary criticism to the Athenæum and other reviews, and of papers and essays to the magazines; among them translations of Goethe’s ‘Maxims and Reflections’ in Fraser’s Magazine, and ‘Personal Recollections of Mazzini’ in the Fortnightly Review.  1
  Her principal claim to literary fame is however based upon her verse. This is from all periods of her productivity. In addition to the book of poems already noticed, she has written ‘The Prophecy of St. Oran, and other Poems,’ 1882; ‘The Heather on Fire,’ a protest against the wrongs of the Highland crofters, 1886; ‘The Ascent of Man,’ her most ambitious work, 1889; ‘Dramas in Miniature,’ 1892; ‘Songs and Sonnets,’ 1893; and ‘Birds of Passage: Songs of the Orient and Occident,’ 1895.  2
  ‘The Ascent of Man’ is a poetical treatment of the modern idea of evolution, and traces the progress of man from his primitive condition in a state of savagery to his present development. Miss Blind has been an ardent advocate of the betterment of the position of woman in society and the State. To this end she has worked and written for an improved education, and against a one-sided morality for the sexes. In her verse she shows characteristically a keen appreciation of nature. Her minor poems particularly, many of which are strong in feeling and admirable in form, entitle her to a distinguished place among the lyric poets of England.  3
  She died in London near the end of November, 1896.  4
 
 
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