Ernest Percival and Grace Rhys

Ernest Percival and Grace Rhys – Undercross

Ernest Rhys (17 July 1859 – 25 May 1946) was a Welsh-English writer, best known for his role as founding editor of the Everyman’s Library series of affordable classics. He wrote essays, stories, poetry, novels and plays. (1) He was born in London and brought up in Carmarthen and Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

After working in the coal industry, he was employed doing editorial work on the Camelot series of 65 reprints and translations from 1886, for five years, while he turned to writing as a profession. He was a founder member in 1890 of the Rhymer’s Club in London, and a contributor to The Book of the Rhymers’ Club (1893).

In 1906, he persuaded J. M. Dent, the publisher, for whom he was working on The Lyric Poets series, to start out on the ambitious Everyman project, aiming to publish 1000 titles; the idea was to put out ten at a time. The target was eventually reached, ten years after Rhys died.

A list of his works can be found on Wikipedia.

Source Wikipedia:

(1) RHYS, Ernest“. The International Who’s Who in the World: p. 893. 1912

Grace Rhys (née Little, 1865–1929) was an Irish writer brought up in Boyle, County Roscommon. Joseph Bennet Little, her landowner father, lost his money through gambling and, after receiving a good education from governesses, she and her sisters had to move to London as adults to earn a living.

She was both wife and literary companion to Ernest Percival Rhys whom she met at a garden party given by Yeats. They married in 1891 and sometimes worked side by side in the British Museum. Her first novel, Mary Dominic, was published in 1898. Several of her stories have an Irish setting, including The Charming of Estercel (1904) set in Elizabethan Ireland, which was illustrated by Howard Pyle in Harper’s Magazine.

Her other work includes The Wooing of Sheila (1901), The Bride (1909), and Five Beads on a String (1907), a book of essays. She also wrote poetry and books for children, and had a son and two daughters of her own.

The Rhys were known for entertaining writers and critics at their London home on Sunday afternoons. Grace died in Washington DC while accompanying her husband on an American lecture tour.

Source: Wikipedia:

Oxford Companion to Edwardian Fiction 1900-14: New Voices in the Age of Uncertainty, ed.Kemp, Mitchell, Trotter (OUP 1997)

Katharine Chubbuck, Ernest Percival Rhys in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004)

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