The Baldwin Project: Frances Browne
(1816 - 1887)
Charles Madison Curry and Erle Elsworth Clippinger in their
Children's Literature (1920, 1921) give the following introduction
to an excerpt from Granny's Wonderful Chair:
One of the really successful modern attempts at telling new fairy stories
was Granny's Wonderful Chair (1857) by the blind poet France Browne (1816-1887).
In spite of the obstacles due to blindness, poverty. and ill-health,
she succeeded in educating herself, and after achieving some fame as a poet
left her mountain village
in county Donegal, Ireland, to make a literary career in Edinburgh and London.
She published many volumes of poems, novels, and children's books.
Only one of these is now much read or remembered,
but it has taken a firm place in the affections of children.
In Granny's Wonderful Chair there are seven stories,
set in an interesting framework which tells of the adventures of the little
girl Snowflower and her chair at the court of King Winwealth.
This chair had magic power to transport Snowflower wherever she wished to go,
like the magic carpet in the Arabian Nights.
When she laid down her head and said, "Chair of my grandmother, tell me a story,"
a clear voice from under the cushion would at once begin to speak.
Besides the story that follows
[Fairyfoot], two of the most satisfactory in the collection
"The Greedy Shepherd" and
"The Story of Merrymind."
Perhaps one of the secrets of their charm is in the power of visualization which
the author possessed. The pictures are all clear and definite,
yet touched with the glamor of fairyland.
For more information about Frances Browne you may want to consult the
Preface to New Edition
of Granny's Wonderful Chair
, written by Katharine Pyle
to Granny's Wonderful Chair
, written by D.R. This contains a much fuller
description of her life and her work.
of her works.