Charlotte M. Yonge (1823-1901): Victorian Bestseller

This exhibition marks the bicentenary of the birth of Charlotte M. Yonge, one of the most popular and bestselling writers of the nineteenth century

28 February 2023 9:30am to 27 April 2023 4pm

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Over her sixty-year career, Yonge produced novels, collections of stories, articles, biographies, and magazines. As a writer, her dedication and industry were phenomenal; personally she was agonisingly shy and disliked public appearances. Those who read and enjoyed her include Queen Victoria, C. S. Lewis, E. M. Delafield, Barbara Pym and Philip Hensher.

Curated by the Charlotte M. Yonge Fellowship, this exhibition examines her life and career from different perspectives. A Hampshire woman, she lived and died in the village of Otterbourne and preferred country life to literary London. The publication in 1853 of The Heir of Redclyffe, whose hero Guy Morville was taken as a role model by William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones, proved so popular that her status and reputation as a bestselling novelist were assured.

A devoted Anglican, inspired by the Revd John Keble of Hursley and the Oxford Movement, Charlotte Yonge dedicated the profits from her publications to philanthropy, the Church of England, and missionary causes. As an educationalist, she edited one of the first teenage magazines, the Monthly Packet, from 1851 until 1899, as well as producing text books and primers for the Victorian school system. Current scholarship considers that no study of the Victorian age can be complete without considering Yonge’s role within the literary and cultural landscape.

Dates: Tuesday 28 February to Thursday 27 April 2023, during Hampshire Record Office opening hours.