Biography of Augusta Davies Webster

Augusta Webster (30 January 1837 – 5 September 1894) born in Poole, Dorset as Julia Augusta Davies, was an English poet, dramatist, essayist, and translator.


Augusta was the daughter of Vice-admiral George Davies and Julia Hume, she spent her younger years on board the ship he was stationed, the Griper.She studied Greek at home, taking a particular interest in Greek drama, and went on to study at the Cambridge School of Art. She published her first volume of poetry in 1860 under the pen name Cecil Homes.

In 1863, she married Thomas Webster, a fellow at Trinity College, Cambridge. They had a daughter, Augusta Georgiana, who married Reverend George Theobald Bourke, a younger son of the Joseph Bourke, 3rd Earl of Mayo.Much of Webster's writing explored the condition of women, and she was a strong advocate of women's right to vote, working for the London branch of the National Committee for Women's Suffrage. She was the first female writer to hold elective office, having been elected to the London School Board in 1879 and 1885. In 1885 she travelled to Italy in an attempt to improve her failing health. She died on 5 September 1894, aged 57.During her lifetime her writing was acclaimed and she was considered by some the successor to Elizabeth Barrett Browning. After her death, however, her reputation quickly declined. Since the mid-1990s she has gained increasing critical attention from scholars such as Isobel Armstrong, Angela Leighton, and Christine Sutphin. Her best-known poems include three long dramatic monologues spoken by women: A Castaway, Circe, and The Happiest Girl In The World, as well as a posthumously published sonnet-sequence, "Mother and Daughter".

She died on the 5th September 1894 and was buried on the western side of Highgate Cemetery. Her grave (plot no.8187), which is situated above the cuttings catacombs, has suffered badly from tree roots.

Literary works


Blanche Lisle: And Other Poems. 1860

Lilian Gray. 1864

Dramatic Studies. 1866

A Woman Sold and Other Poems. 1867

Portraits 1870

A Book of Rhyme 1881

Mother and Daughter 1895 Translations into verse

Prometheus Bound 1866

Medea 1868

Yu-Pe-Ya's Lute. A Chinese Tale in English Verse. 1874Plays

The Auspicious Day 1874

Disguises 1879

In a Day 1882

The Sentence 1887Novels

Lesley's Guardians 1864

Daffodil and the Croaxaxicans: A Romance of History 1884Essays

A Housewife's Opinions 1878



Crawford, Elizabeth. The Women's Suffrage Movement in Britain and Ireland: A Regional Survey. Women's and gender history. London: Routledge, 2006. googlebooks Accessed 27 September 2008

"Webster, Augusta" . Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.

This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Cousin, John William (1910). A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature. London: J. M. Dent & Sons – via Wikisource.

External links

Works by Augusta Webster at LibriVox (public domain audiobooks)

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