Daughter of one prolific writer, editor, and literary critic and niece to another, Lucy Aikin was born into the world of letters. At the time of her birth, her father, physician John Aikin, was tutor of classics at the renowned Warrington Academy for Dissenters. Later forced from his medical practice by the combination of religious discrimination and his own weak health, he became an astonishingly fruitful writer, critic, and editor, producing biographies, histories, essays, fiction, and volumes of criticism, and operating several literary reviews. Under his guidance, Lucy received a home education of far greater breadth and rigor than that available to most English youth, boy or girl. Lucy’s aunt, Anna Letitia Barbauld, one of the most revered women writers of her day, was also a productive literary critic and editor whose essay on fiction appears in the present volume. Lucy’s brother Arthur was not only known for his scientific writing, but himself operated a literary review, The Annual Review.
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Mary A. Waters
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