The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Victorian Women's Writing

Living Edition
| Editors: Lesa Scholl (Editor-in-Chief)

Schreiner, Olive

Living reference work entry


Best known as the author of The Story of an African Farm (1883), Olive Schreiner (1855–1920) was a novelist, writer of short allegorical stories, essayist, and correspondent with major thinkers of her day. Born in South Africa, Schreiner spent much of her adult life moving both within her homeland and between Europe (mostly England) and Africa. Schreiner was notable for her New Woman heroines, particularly Lyndall from The Story of an African Farm and Rebekah in From Man to Man (1926), and her views on the woman question in those novels and elsewhere, including Woman and Labour (1911). Moreover, Schreiner was an active commentator on economics, science, religion, race, empire, and war.


Olive Schreiner was born in 1855 in South Africa to a German father, who was a missionary and English mother. In the 1880s, Schreiner traveled from her home country to England, where she engaged in key intellectual discussions of the day, regarding gender, economics, science,...


Olive Schreiner New Woman Commonwealth literature South Africa 
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Bristow, J. 2008. Introduction. In The story of an African farm, ed. J. Bristow, vii–xxix. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Burdett, C. 2001. Olive Schreiner and the progress of feminism: Evolution, gender, empire. Houndmills: Palgrave.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. ———. 2013. Olive Schreiner. Northcote: Tavistock.Google Scholar
  4. Chrisman, L. 1995. Empire, ‘race’ and feminism at the fin de siècle: The work of George Egerton and Olive Schreiner. In Cultural politics at the fin de siècle, ed. S. Ledger and S. McCracken, 45–65. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cronwright-Schreiner, S.C. 1924. The life of Olive Schreiner. Boston: Little, Brown, and Company.Google Scholar
  6. Driver, D. 2015. Introduction to the new edition. In From man to man, ed. D. Driver, ix–xlvi. Cape Town: UCT Press.Google Scholar
  7. First, R., and A. Scott. 1990. Olive Schreiner. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Schreiner, O. 1883. The story of an African farm. London: Chapman and Hall.Google Scholar
  9. ———. 1890. Dreams. London: T. Fisher Unwin.Google Scholar
  10. ———. 1893. Dream life and real life. London: T. Fisher Unwin.Google Scholar
  11. ———. 1897. Trooper Peter Halket of Mashonaland. London: T. Fisher Unwin.Google Scholar
  12. ———. 1911. Woman and labour. London: T. Fisher Unwin.Google Scholar
  13. ———. 1923. Stories, dreams and allegories. London: T. Fisher Unwin.Google Scholar
  14. ———. 1926. From man to man. London: T. Fisher Unwin.Google Scholar
  15. ———. 1929. Undine. London: Benn.Google Scholar
  16. The Olive Schreiner Letters Online. 2012. Retrieved from

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of English and Modern LanguagesShepherd UniversityShepherdstownUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Emily Morris
    • 1
  1. 1.St. Thomas More CollegeUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada