Alice Meynell: An Impressionist in Kensington

  • Ana Parejo Vadillo
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Nineteenth-Century Writing and Culture book series (PNWC)


Describing the publication of Alice Meynell’s latest work and the ‘royal’ reception she and her work received from both the masses and the literary establishment, Max Beerbohm wrote:

A great crowd lines the pavement by the park, in the expectation of a rare sight. A loyal thrill and murmur pervade it, when, at length, a mounted policeman dashes down the road. All eyes dilate to the distance and discern already, through the trees, the moving glitter of cuirasses. The cavalcade comes! Comes a bevy of bright guardsmen, after whom is drawn a homely carriage with a lady in it; behind her, in the rumble, a brace of stalwart Highlanders; lastly another bevy of bright guardsmen. Through cheers and genuflexions, waved hats and handkerchiefs, trots this cavalcade. Then the crowd ‘passes along’.

This is not merely a description of a scene occasional in London. It is also a parable. The crowd is the reading public. The mounted policeman is Mr. John Lane. The guardsmen are the literary critics. The lady is Mrs. Meynell. The homely carriage is her new book. The Stalwart Highlanders are Mr. Coventry Patmore and Mr. George Meredith.4


Urban Space Department Store Royal Academy Urban Life Consumer Culture 
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    Alice Meynell, ‘Unstable Equilibrium’ in Essays by Alice Meynell (London: Burns & Oates, 1914), 159.Google Scholar
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    This rather well–known quote was frequently used by Meynell’s publishers as a selling point. See for example Alice Meynell, Collected Poems of Alice Meynell (London: Burns & Oates, 1913).Google Scholar
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© Ana Parejo Vadillo 2005

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  • Ana Parejo Vadillo

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