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Amy Levy was born in London, England in 1861, the second of seven in a fairly wealthy Anglo-Jewish family. The children read and participated in secular literary activities and became firmly integrated into Victorian life.
Her education was at Brighton High School, Brighton, before studies at Newnham College, Cambridge; she was the first Jewish student when she arrived in 1879, but left after four terms.
Amy’s writing career began early; her poem ‘Ida Grey’ appeared when she was only fourteen. Her acclaimed short stories ‘Cohen of Trinity’ and ‘Wise in Their Generation,’ were published by Oscar Wilde in his magazine ‘Women's World’.
Her poetic writings reveal feminist concerns; ‘Xantippe and Other Verses’, from 1881 includes a poem in the voice of Socrates's wife. ‘A Minor Poet and Other Verse’ from 1884 comprises of dramatic monologues and lyric poems.
In 1886, Amy began a series of essays on Jewish culture and literature for the Jewish Chronicle, including ‘The Ghetto at Florence’, ‘The Jew in Fiction’, ‘Jewish Humour’ and ‘Jewish Children’.
That same year while travelling in Florence she met the writer Vernon Lee. It is generally assumed they fell in love and this inspired the poem ‘To Vernon Lee’.
Her first novel ‘Romance of a Shop’, written in 1888 is based on four sisters who experience the pleasures and hardships of running a London business during the 1880s. This was followed by Reuben Sachs (also 1888) and concerned with Jewish identity and mores in the England of her time and was somewhat controversial.
Her final book of poems, ‘A London Plane-Tree’ from 1889, shows the beginnings of the influence of French symbolism.
Despite many friendships and an active life, Amy suffered for many years with serious depressions and this, together with her growing deafness, led her to commit suicide by inhaling carbon monoxide on September 10th, 1889. She was 27.
In this compilation -
|01 - The Poetry of Amy Levy - An Introduction|
|02 - Xantippe (A Fragment) by Amy Levy|
|03 - At Dawn by Amy Levy|
|04 - In the Night by Amy Levy|
|05 - Sonnet by Amy Levy|
|06 - A March Day in London by Amy Levy|
|07 - The First Extra - A Waltz Song by Amy Levy|
|08 - A Game of Lawn Tennis by Amy Levy|
|09 - On the Wye in May by Amy Levy|
|10 - A June Tide Echo by Amy Levy|
|11 - A London Plane Tree by Amy Levy|
|12 - London In July by Amy Levy|
|13 - In the Black Forest by Amy Levy|
|14 - On the Threhold by Amy Levy|
|15 - The Dream by Amy Levy|
|16 - In September by Amy Levy|
|17 - A Dirge by Amy Levy|
|18 - In a Minor Key (An Echo From a Larger Lyre) by Amy Levy|
|19 - The Old House by Amy Levy|
|20 - Out of Town by Amy Levy|
|21 - In the Mile End Road by Amy Levy|
|22 - Ballade of a Special Edition by Amy Levy|
|23 - Ballade of An Omnibus by Amy Levy|
|24 - A Reminisence by Amy Levy|
|25 - To Lallie (Outside the British Museum) by Amy Levy|
|26 - Oh, Is it Love by Amy Levy|
|27 - Philosophy by Amy Levy|
|28 - Contradictions by Amy Levy|
|29 - To Sylvia by Amy Levy|
|30 - A Prayer by Amy Levy|
|31 - The Lost Friend by Amy Levy|
|32 - To A Dead Poet by Amy Levy|
|33 - London Poets by Amy Levy|
|34 - The Old Poet by Amy Levy|
|35 - The Sick Man and the Nightingale by Amy Levy|
|36 - Epitaph (On a Commonplace Person Who Died in Bed) by Amy Levy|
|37 - Run to Death by Amy Levy|
|38 - A Cross Road Epitaph by Amy Levy|
|39 - Twilight by Amy Levy|
|40 - The Two Terrors by Amy Levy|
|41 - Last Words by Amy Levy|
|42 - The Promise of Sleep by Amy Levy|
|43 - A Farewell by Amy Levy|
|44 - A Minor Poet by Amy Levy|