«Lorna Doone: A Romance of Exmoor» is a novel by English author Richard Doddridge Blackmore, firsly published in 1869. It is a romance based on a group of historical characters and set in the late 17th century in Devon and Somerset, particularly around the East Lyn Valley area of Exmoor. In 2003, the novel was listed on the BBC’s survey The Big Read.
According to the preface, the work is a romance and not a historical novel, because the author neither «dares, nor desires, to claim for it the dignity or cumber it with the difficulty of an historical novel.» As such, it combines elements of traditional romance, of Sir Walter Scott’s historical novel tradition, of the pastoral tradition, of traditional Victorian values, and of the contemporary sensation novel trend. The basis for Blackmore’s historical understanding is Macaulay’s History of England and its analysis of the Monmouth rebellion. Along with the historical aspects are folk traditions, such as the many legends based around both the Doones and Tom Faggus.
The ebook «Lorna Doone: A Romance of Exmoor» from Animedia Company contains a preface by Katharine Hillard and an essay ‘Lorna Doone’ from ‘Essays On Modern Novelists’ by William Lyon Phelps, and also 17 colorful illustrations by Charles Edmund Brock and and Gordon Frederick Browne.
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About the Author
Richard Doddridge Blackmore (1825-1900) was an English novelist. Born in Longworth, Berkshire, Blackmore was the son of a Anglican curate. Following his mother’s death from typhus, Blackmore was raised by his aunt for several years before returning to live with his father in the rural countryside of Exmoor. He excelled as a student of classics, earning a scholarship to Exeter College, Oxford, where he graduated in 1847. As he worked on his first novel, Blackmore found employment as a tutor before switching career paths and entering law school. Due to ill health, however, he returned to teaching and later moved to the riverside town of Teddington with his wife and children. There, he devoted himself to his writing, publishing Lorna Doone: A Romance of Exmoor (1869), his most successful novel, to resounding acclaim. Recognized as a pioneering author whose work inspired Robert Louis Stevenson and Thomas Hardy, Blackmore spent the rest of his life at Gomer House in Teddington, where he remains buried next to his beloved wife Lucy.