During the last quarter of the nineteenth century Celia Thaxter was the most popular of America’s woman poets, surpassing in importance many others whose names are better known today. Yet Celia’s fame began to wane even before her death in 1894. Perhaps, as Jane Vallier suggests in this study of Thaxter’s life, adverse financial circumstances forced the poet to try her hand as a folklorist, juvenile author, freelance journalist, dramatic actress, naturalist, and illustrator, as well.
In this, the first extensive literary biography of Celia Thaxter, author Vallier explains the meaning and symbolism of Thaxter’s poetry and describes how Celia’s unhappy marriage and her life on the Isles of Shoals, off the coast of New Hampshire, colored her poetry and prose. Included in this reprint of the original 1982 edition is a new introduction with additional photographs, fifty-three of Thaxter’s poems plus a reprint of “A Memorable Murder,” the story of the killing of two women on Smuttynose Island in 1873 and first published in Atlantic Monthly.