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Distributed for University of Wales Press

Amy Dillwyn

New Updated Edition

 Born into one of Swansea’s most distinguished families, Amy Dillwyn (1845–1935) was a Welsh novelist who tackled complex class issues in her works. Following the deaths of her brother in 1890 and her father in 1892, Dillwyn inherited her father’s bankrupt business and, employing an aggressive management style, restored it to prosperity. In this biography, based largely on Dillwyn’s diaries, David Painting sheds light on this extraordinary woman of exceptional spirit and personality, revealing her to be not just a pioneering female British industrialist and novelist but also an ardent proponent of social justice.

120 pages | 17 halftones | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 | © 1987

Biography and Letters

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“This reissue of David Painting’s 1987 biography of a remarkable Victorian woman is in itself remarkable for being a document of its time. . . . Amy Dillwyn evokes with significant skill the ethos of the age that bred the woman, and in its detailed familial, social, and political discussions can still count as a ‘touchstone’ for subsequent exploration of her life and work.”

Clare Morgan | Times Literary Supplement

“Dillwyn’s was a fascinating life.”

Victorian Studies

“One of the most remarkable women in Welsh history.”

Western Mail

“[A] thoroughly readable and entertaining account of a quite remarkable Victorian gentlewoman.”

Welsh History Review

“[Amy Dillwyn] offer[s] the reader a remarkably strong sense of Dillwyn’s own voice through quotations from her diaries. Painting’s discussion of his subject’s deep religiosity is illuminating. Even more skillful is his consideration of Dillwyn’s philanthropy from which his subject emerges as someone who possessed a profound and unsentimental compassion for those she sought to help.”

New Welsh Review

Table of Contents

Foreword to the New Edition

Preface to the New Edition



Selected Reading

Royal Prologue

Family Background

Early Years at Parkwern and Hendrefoilan

Debut into Society

Picking up the Threads

Mistress of Hendrefoilan

Charity begins at Killay

Society and Suitors

Moral Amazons

Amy in the Literary World

Catastrophe and Salvation

The Celebrity

Grand Old Lady



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