Francis Edward Smedley

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Francis Edward Smedley (4 October 1818 – 1 May 1864) was an English novelist. His name appears in print usually as Frank E. Smedley.


He was born with deformed feet, a disability that impaired his mobility and prevented him from attending regular school. Instead he was privately educated by his uncle.[note 1] His cousin, the poet Menella Bute Smedley, later kept house for him and acted as his secretary. Smedley died in London in 1864 and is buried in Marlow Parish Churchyard, Buckinghamshire.


Book cover of Frank Fairlegh or Scenes from the Life of a Private Pupil, with illustrations by George Cruikshank

Smedley contributed his first book, Scenes from the Life of a Private Pupil, anonymously to Sharpe's London Magazine in 1846-1848. His first essay proved so successful that it was expanded into Frank Fairlegh, and published in book-form in 1850. His next book Lewis Arundel or The Railroad of Life was originally contributed to the same magazine, which he for some time edited, and was published in book-form in 1852. Of his other writings the best-known is Harry Coverdale's Courtship (1855). These stories are racily told. Either Hablot Knight Browne ("Phiz") or George Cruikshank supplied illustrations for most of his books.


  • Ellis, S.M. "Frank Smedley." The Fortnightly. London: Chapman and Hall, 1865. (pp. 271–85) googlebooks Retrieved April 25, 2009
  • John Sutherland (1990). The Stanford Companion to Victorian Fiction. Stanford University Press. p. 589. ISBN 0-8047-1842-3.

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Smedley, Francis Edward". Encyclopædia Britannica. 25 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 251.

  1. ^ The Reverend Edward Smedley, an usher at Westminster. He was the father of Menella Smedley. The family were cousins of the Dodsons.

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