Gloria Mundi – Harold Frederic
A young man bred in refined poverty abroad, is suddenly called to England, and told he is the heir to a dukedom and much wealth. From this high pinnacle of expectation he perceives the possibilities of his new fortunes. He can turn into a rowdy, brutal, hunting squire, like the majority of his relations; he can lead the life of a rich man of fashion in London; he can be a disciple of a philathropic uncle and cousin, who have organised their vast wealth for the benefit of their dependents. From the first he instinctively recoils; the second tires him out. By the terribly minute system, the benevolent tyranny of the third, he is oppressed. In the end he chooses to be just his own good-natured self, neither fox-hunter, man of society, nor social missionary, something vague, a little priggish, but pleasant.
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Biography of Harold Frederic (from Wikipedia):
Frederic was born in Utica, New York, to Presbyterian parents. After his father was killed in a railroad accident when Frederic was 18 months old, the boy was raised primarily by his mother. He finished school at age fifteen, and soon began work as a photographer. For four years he was a photographic touch-up artist in his hometown and in Boston. In 1875, he began work as a proofreader for the newspaper The Utica Herald and then The Utica Daily Observer. Frederic later became a reporter. Frederic married Grace Green Williams in 1877, and they had five children together. By 1882 he was editor of the newspaper The Albany Evening Journal in the state capital.
In 1884 Frederic went to live in England as London correspondent of the New York Times, and worked at this position for the rest of his life. He brought his family to London by 1889. Afterward he met Kate Lyon, who became his mistress. Frederic and Lyon established a second household, living openly together; and they had three illegitimate children.
Frederic wrote several early stories, but it was not until he published Illumination (1896), better known by its American title, The Damnation of Theron Ware; followed by Gloria Mundi (1898), that his talent as a novelist was fully realized. Critic Jonathan Yardley called Damnation “a minor classic of realism”.
Kate Lyon was a Christian Scientist.Frederic suffered a stroke in 1898. After his death, she was tried on charges of manslaughter brought by his wife Grace Frederic, and acquitted at trial.
(The text of the last section was taken from a Wikipedia entry and is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.)
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