About the Author

Ralph Rylance, born at Bolton in 1782, moved from Lancashire to London in 1806, hoping to make his mark as a poet and dramatist. Literary success eluded him, however, and Rylance was forced instead to support himself by working for various publishers as ghostwriter, editor, translator, proofreader, and indexer. Affected by what would today be called bipolar syndrowme or manic depression—a condition unnamed and barely understood in his own day—rylance was institutionalized several times, and died in a London asylum in 1834.