Whitfield Estate, Whitfield, Hereford HR2 9BA, UK
Caroline Clive, sometimes known as Caroline Wigley Clive (24 June 1801 – 13 July 1873) was an English writer. She was known chiefly as the author of IX Poems that when first published, took their place in the forefront of then-contemporary feminine verse. Clive wrote all her life, was a brilliant conversationalist, was held in the highest regard within an exceptionally notable intellectual circle, and carried on a large correspondence. Caroline Clive, reflected in an 1838 diary entry about her friendship with novelist Catherine Gore: “When I was so many years younger I used to fall into the most violent friendships and the one I felt for her was nearly the strongest of my passions. Of course she did not return it to an ugly, half-taught, unintelligible girl like me, and I remember crying for half a night because she went out of London without bidding me farewell.” After marriage, Caroline Clive began to keep a diary jointly with her husband, in which she wrote of an 1845 meeting with poet Caroline Norton in lengthy detail only excerpted here: “Perfect beauty, eyes with long eye-lashes on both lids, the lower touching her cheek, a mouth that opens in a way like ideal mouths . . . lovely skin and shape, a flowing, glowing silk gown and cashmere shawl edged with gold”.
Caroline Meysey-Wigley was born in Brompton Grove, London, 24 June 1801. She was the daughter and co-heiress of Edmund Meysey-Wigley, Esq., of Shakenhurst, Worcestershire, M.P. for Worcester, and his wife, Anna Maria Meysey, only surviving daughter of Charles Watkins Meysey. At the age of three, she had a severe illness, one issue of which was life-long lameness and consequent hindrance in many ways.
On 10 November 1840, she married the Reverend Archer Clive, son of Edward Bolton Clive, then rector of Solihull, Warwickshire, and Harriet Archer. By him she had one son and one daughter: Charles Meysey Bolton Clive (1842–1883) who married Lady Katherine Elizabeth Mary Julia Fielding, and who succeeded to the Whitfield estate on the death of his father; and Alice Clive (1843–1915) who married Major General William Wilberforce Harris Greathed.
A second edition of IX Poems was published in 1841, with nine other poems. There followed at intervals, I watched the Heavens (1842); The Queen's Ball (1847); Valley of the Rea (1851); and The Morlas (1853). The whole of these were included, with short additions, in the volume of 1890 but a considerable number were left unpublished. Paul Ferroll (1853), a sensational novel, and others, kept her before the public, still as V. Clive's reputation chiefly rested upon her story of Paul Ferroll and its sequel, Why Paul Ferroll Killed his Wife. The second story was, however, in no way equal to the first; and a subsequent novel, John Greswold, which appeared in 1864, was decidedly inferior to its predecessors, although containing passages of considerable literary merit. Paul Ferroll passed through several editions, and was translated into French. It was not until the fourth edition that the concluding chapter, which brought the story down to the death of Paul Ferroll, was added. Paul Ferroll may be considered as the precursor of the purely sensational novel, or of what may be called the novel mystery. Clive was placed in the forefront of the sensational novelists of the 19th-century. She anticipated the work of Wilkie Collins, Charles Reade, Miss Braddon, and many others of their school, in showing human nature as expressed by its energies, neither diagnosing it like a physician, nor analysing it like a priest. Neither the longer poems nor the lesser additions, approached the high level of the inspired IX, albeit there were "brave translunary things" in all. In after-editions, Clive capriciously withdrew the last of the nine poems and went on adding. Even the slightest additions showed inestimable technique if in common with her longer poems of "The Queen's Ball", "Valley of the Rea", and "The Morlas", though they were characterized as being 'somewhat thin of substance'. Nonetheless, none failed to yield 'immortal phrases five words long', and certain ones recalled Shakespeare's metaphor of the dolphin showing its shining back above the element it moves in. Her works were all published anonymously, using the pen name, "V".
Clive was a confirmed invalid for some years prior to her death. She died in a fire accident while seated in her boudoir and among her papers on 13 July 1873, at Whitfield, Herefordshire.
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