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Gertrude Dix (1867–1950) was a Victorian novelist. She was part of a social networks including Edward Carpenter, Olive Schreiner, Eleanor Marx, and Amy Levy. Women novelists made greater use of a romantic friendship model in the representation of female relationships such as that of Hadria Fullerton and Valeria Du Prel in Mona Caird's The Daughters of Danaus (1894), Lucretia Bampfylde and Kitty Manners in Isabella Ford's On the Threshold (1895) and Rosalind Dangerdield and Leslie Ardent in Gertrude Dix's The Image Breakers (1900).
Gertrude Dix was born in 1867 in Brixton, the daughter of William Chatterton Dix (1837–1898), a manager for an insurance agency and a noted hymn writer. (The Christmas carol "What Child is This?" is perhaps his lasting legacy.) Her paternal grandfather was the novelist and biographer John Dix (1800–1865). Dix and her large family lived in the Bristol area.
Gertrude Dix, grew up and was radicalised in Bristol. She trained as a nurse and, appalled by the conditions, campaigned for improved working environments for women. She wrote novels expressing women’s issues, moved to London and joined Fabian, Independent Labour Party and Christian Socialist circles. She met Robert Allen Nicol in Bristol, through their joint interest in Carpenter.
Robert Allan Nicol was a former Edinburgh medical student turned socialist. Nicol eloped with the married fellow socialist Elizabeth Miriam Daniell in August 1890—in Boston, Massachusetts, they declared their free-love union, had a daughter (named "Sunrise"), and weathered Daniell's husband's petition for divorce. Meantime, in London, Dix turned to literature, writing the New Woman novel The Girl from the Farm (1895) for the Keynotes series and the socialist-themed novel The Image Breakers (1900) in addition to various journalism. Shortly after the turn of the century, Dix reconnected with Nicol and the couple moved to California and had three children. Thereafter, Dix appears to have given up literary work. Dix and Nicol lived their last years in the San Francisco area where Dix died in 1950 and Nicol in 1956.
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