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Julia Kavanagh (1824 - 1877)


Julia was born in Thurles, Ireland on the 7th January 1824. She was an only child. Her father, Morgan Kavanagh, a poet and philologist, was the author of some curious works on the source and science of languages. While still a young girl Julia moved to France and stayed there until she reached twenty years of age.

During this and her many other trips to France during the course of her life Julia gained an insight into the French way of life and the character of its people.  She drew on this insight for inspiration when writing and it appears in many of her works. Her carrer began by writing  for the periodicals of the day. Her first book, "The Three Paths", a tale for children, appeared in 1847. It was followed by "Madeleine" (1848), a story founded on the life of a peasant girl of Auvergne.

These books earned Julia respect in literary circles and this was increased by her historical works such as  "Women in France during the Eighteenth Century" published in 1850 and "French Women of Letters" published in 1862.

At the outbreak of the Franco-German War, Julia, who was living in Paris with her mother, moved first to Rouen and then to Nice, where she died aged fify four. After her death appeared a collection of short tales bearing the appropriate title: "Forget-me-nots".

Her studies of French life and character, which are worked into almost all her stories, are excellent and show her at her best. "Her writing", remarked a contributor to the London Athenæum at the time of her death, "was quiet and simple in style, but pure and chaste, and characterized by the same high-toned thought and morality that was part of the author's own nature."