Biography (Cyclopedia of World Authors, Fourth Revised Edition)
Richard Doddridge Blackmore’s father was an Anglican curate. When Blackmore’s mother died shortly after his birth in Longworth, Berkshire, England, on June 7, 1825, his father sent him to live with a grandmother. Blackmore was an unusually shy person and was reticent about his life, so relatively little is known about him. The reason for his shyness may have been a tendency toward strokes that became evident even during his childhood and that plagued Blackmore throughout his life. After attending Blundell School, Blackmore entered Exeter College of Oxford University in 1843, receiving his M.A. in 1852. Following graduation from Oxford, he studied law and was admitted to the bar. Blackmore married Lucy Maguire in 1853. Although his wife was an invalid during most of their married life, her death was a severe blow to Blackmore when she died thirty-six years later.
Dissatisfied with the practice of law soon after he had been admitted to the bar, Blackmore turned to teaching. Teaching, which he did only from 1855 to 1857, also proved unsatisfactory. Fortunately for him, an inheritance and poor health gave him the excuse to retire to a life of writing and gardening at Gomer House, Teddington, on the River Thames just outside London. As early as his student days at Oxford, Blackmore had begun writing poetry, publishing under the pseudonym of Melanter. Two volumes of poems “by Melanter” appeared in 1854 and 1855. They received little attention from...
(The entire section is 550 words.)
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Richard Doddridge Blackmore was born at Longworth, Berkshire, England, on June 7, 1825. He was the third son of the Reverend John Blackmore and Anne Basset Knight Blackmore, the daughter of a distinguished vicar. His mother died of typhus a few months after Blackmore's birth, and he and his older brother, Henry, lived with relatives during much of their childhood. The Blackmore family had originated in western Devonshire, and the author spent many of his formative years in the west country, the setting of Lorna Doone. Like his hero, John Ridd, Blackmore attended Blundell's School, Tiverton. He entered Exeter College, Oxford, in 1843 and received his degree four years later. While in college, Blackmore met and fell in love with Lucy Macguire.
Both the Blackmore and the Knight families produced several clergymen, but despite family tradition Blackmore decided against the church as a career and decided to go into the law instead. He was admitted to the Middle Temple in 1849, and after being called to the bar in 1852, he worked as a conveyancer, or preparer of legal documents. An epileptic, Blackmore wished to avoid actually appearing in court because of the possibility of suffering an attack there. He married Lucy Macguire secretly on November 8, 1853; the secrecy was probably the result of Blackmore's fears that his family, with its strong Anglican roots, would oppose his marriage to a Catholic woman, especially one who lacked financial...
(The entire section is 892 words.)