University Avenue, Glasgow G12 8QQ, United Kingdom
The University of Glasgow where William Sharp studied from 1871 to 1874.
(The author utilises Joseph Severn's vast though occasiona...)
The author utilises Joseph Severn's vast though occasionally inconsistent correspondence, tracing his life from his youth, through his years of intimacy with Keats, to his death and eventual burial at the great poet's side.
(The romance novel, which is sometimes termed the romantic...)
The romance novel, which is sometimes termed the romantic novel, places its primary focus on the development of a romantic relationship and love between two people.
William Sharp attended Blair Lodge School in Renfrewshire, Scotland. From 1868 to 1871, he also attended the Glasgow Academy and then spent three years at the University of Glasgow.
Sharp didn’t follow the will of his father who would like him to become a lawyer and pursued other interests.
William Sharp started his career in the middle of 1870s. In the summer of 1873, the writer joined a troupe of Gypsies as they roamed throughout the western Highlands of Scotland, and his fascination with this region later became a hallmark of his best-known works.
From 1874 to 1876, he served as a law office clerk in Glasgow. Two years later, he relocated to London where he earned his living as a clerk at the City of Melbourne Bank for three years. While in the city, Sharp developed a friendship with the painter and poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti and became associated with the Pre-Raphaelite movement, an influential circle of artists and writers who sought to imitate in their works such qualities of pre-Renaissance art as religious symbolism, lavish pictorialism, and natural sensuousness.
The influence of Rossetti and other Pre-Raphaelites is evident in Sharp’s early poetry, particularly his first collection, ‘The Human Inheritance’, which appeared in 1882, the same year that he published a biography of Rossetti. Two years later, Sharp joined the staff of the Herald newspaper and served there as an art critic till the end of his days.
In 1891 he published what critics consider his most important early work, Sospiri di Roma, the poetry collection in which he first employed a feminine persona of Fiona Macleod. ‘Vistas’, a collection of verse dramas published three years later, displayed a concern with mystical themes and subjects that reflected its author growing interest in Celtic lore. While his output until this point in his career seemed to mark him as a minor talent, his circumstances changed when a psychic impulse, or a deliberate bid for readership, led to the invention of Fiona Macleod, the alter ego Sharp publicly claimed was his uneducated cousin, a dweller of the Scottish Highlands and a romantic visionary.
Beginning in 1894 with ‘Pharais: A Romance of the Isles’, the alter ego attained the popularity and critical acclaim that had eluded Sharp and interest in the works of Fiona Macleod led many who were familiar with Sharp’s work to suspect him as the author. Other commentators rejected that suggestion, claiming Sharp incapable of the imagination required to create the works. Critics theorize that the sensation over the identity of Fiona Macleod contributed to the success of the works published under that name, and Sharp went to great lengths to perpetuate the mystery, writing pseudonymous letters and even submitting an entry for Fiona Macleod to Who’s Who.
Sharp continued to write poetry and essays under his own name with moderate success, while the works of Fiona Macleod, notably the poetry collection ‘From the Hills of Dream’, and the verse drama ‘The House of Usna’, earned enthusiastic reviews from such admirers as W. B. Yeats, who at the time was a leading figure of the Celtic Renaissance. ‘The House of Usna’ was produced in London at The Stage Society in 1900.
For all but a few close friends, the mystery of Fiona Macleod remained unsolved until after Sharp’s death.
(The author utilises Joseph Severn's vast though occasiona...)1892
(The romance novel, which is sometimes termed the romantic...)1894
(The book was co-written by William Sharp and his wife Eli...)1902
Most critics agree that William Sharp’s poetry is transparently imitative of Rossetti and John Keats, his prose of Rossetti and Walter Pater.
Quotes from others about the person
"One is obliged always to think of William Sharp and Fiona Macleod as two instead of one, although the two may have lodged under one mortal roof." Katharine Tynan, writer
"Sharp was a Viking in build, a Scandinavian in cast of mind, a Celt in heart and spirit." Elizabeth Amelia Sharp, William Sharp's wife
William Sharp married Elizabeth Amelia, his first cousin in 1884. Together, they co-authored an 1896 anthology ‘Lyra Celtica’.