Eliza Lynn Linton

On this date in 1822, Eliza Lynn (later Linton) was born in England. The daughter of a vicar, she moved by herself to London in the mid-1840s to launch a literary career. She researched her early historic novels at the British Museum, and worked as Paris correspondent of London newspapers (1851-1854). Her rationalist novel, True History of Joshua Davidson (1872), enhanced her reputation, followed by Under Which Lord? (1879). She was briefly married to W.J. Linton. Biographer G.S. Layard, who edited Mrs. Lynn Linton: Her Life, Letters and Opinions, documented her well-known agnosticism. Feminist literary critics today consider her a prime example of that Victorian paradox: a thoroughly emancipated anti-feminist author. Linton was a regular contributor to many leading newspapers and magazines, as well as the Agnostic Annual. D. 1898.

“I see no light behind that terrible curtain. I do not think one religion better than another, and I think the Christian religion has brought far more misery, crime, and suffering, far more tyranny and evil, than any other.”

—Eliza Lynn Linton, letter to clergyman, 1897, as quoted in Mrs. Lynn Linton: Her Life, Letters and Opinions (p. 367).

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor

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