Mabel Esther Allan: Contribution as British Author

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      Mabel Esther Allan (1915-1998) Young people's author, who also wrote as 'Jean Estoril', 'Anne Pilgrim' and 'Priscilla Hagon'. Despite life-long eye problems, she published over 150 novels and more than 300 short stories, printed her poems, autobiography and travel accounts and maintained a lively correspondence with admirers worldwide. Born in Cheshire to a non-bookish family; bored by a perfunctory education in private schools, she nevertheless resolved extremely young to be an author. During World War II, working in the Women's Land Army; teaching in infant schools, and putting on displays of country dancing, she persisted with her writing.

      After years frustrated by wartime publishing conditions, she saw The Glen Castle Mystery appear in 1948. Success allowed more of the travel which so enriched her novels (The Background Came First, 1988). She embraced many genres - including thrillers, adventures, the inner-city Liverpool 'Wood Street' books, ballet novels (most famously; the 'Drina’ series) and progressive school stories, which she described as 'Self-government, self-discipline and no games' (To Be An Author, 1982). Always open to new ideas, she remained constant in her respect for individuals and her writing remained refreshingly free from pious orthodoxies.

      Alleine, Theodosia d. before 1685 British memoirist, who was born in Somerset, the daughter of a preacher. After marrying a kinsman, radical minister Joseph Alleine, in 1659, they taught together at a school in Taunton until her husband's removal in 1662 under the Acts of Uniformity. Alleine's biography of her husband describes his ensuing bouts of imprisonment and ill-health, and provides an interesting early account of the struggle between wifely obedience and the need for a loving companion: "I know nothing I could complain of, but that he was so taken up, that I could have but very little converse with him.' Along with Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle, Alleine is remarkable for being one of the very few women in the 17th century to write her autobiography.

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