The Life and Letters of William Sharp and “Fiona Macleod”: Volume 1: 1855–1894 - cover image


William F. Halloran

Published On





  • English

Print Length

710 pages (x + 700)


Paperback156 x 36 x 234 mm(6.14" x 1.42" x 9.21")
Hardback156 x 38 x 234 mm(6.14" x 1.5" x 9.21")


Paperback2165g (76.37oz)
Hardback2571g (90.69oz)



OCLC Number





  • BJ
  • DS
  • DSK
  • DSC
  • 3JH


  • BIO007000
  • BIO025000
  • LCO011000


  • PR5357


  • William Sharp
  • Fiona Macleod
  • diaries
  • letters
  • poetry
  • biography
  • Victorian Era
  • Britain

The Life and Letters of William Sharp and “Fiona Macleod”

Volume 1: 1855–1894

  • William F. Halloran (author)
William Sharp (1855-1905) conducted one of the most audacious literary deceptions of his or any time. Sharp was a Scottish poet, novelist, biographer and editor who in 1893 began to write critically and commercially successful books under the name Fiona Macleod. This was far more than just a pseudonym: he corresponded as Macleod, enlisting his sister to provide the handwriting and address, and for more than a decade "Fiona Macleod" duped not only the general public but such literary luminaries as William Butler Yeats and, in America, E. C. Stedman.

Sharp wrote "I feel another self within me now more than ever; it is as if I were possessed by a spirit who must speak out". This three-volume collection brings together Sharp’s own correspondence – a fascinating trove in its own right, by a Victorian man of letters who was on intimate terms with writers including Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Walter Pater, and George Meredith – and the Fiona Macleod letters, which bring to life Sharp’s intriguing "second self".

With an introduction and detailed notes by William F. Halloran, this richly rewarding collection offers a wonderful insight into the literary landscape of the time, while also investigating a strange and underappreciated phenomenon of late-nineteenth-century English literature. It is essential for scholars of the period, and it is an illuminating read for anyone interested in authorship and identity.


What an achievement! It is a major work. The letters taken together with the excellent introductory sections - so balanced and judicious and informative - what emerges is an amazing picture of William Sharp the man and the writer which explores just how fascinating a figure he is. Clearly a major reassessment is due and this book could make it happen.

Andrew Hook

Emeritus Bradley Professor of English and American Literature, Glasgow University


The three volumes of the Sharp/Macleod letters edited by William F. Halloran mark a major intervention in our understanding of Sharp, shedding light on his life, on his literary networks, and on Macleod’s literary development. Through decades of research and his detailed editorial apparatus (including lengthy introductions to each year of Sharp’s life), Halloran not only contextualises the surviving letters but unlocks and interprets many otherwise opaque details within them, such as Sharp’s coded references to his muse and the inspiration for Macleod, the writer Edith Wingate Rinder. As such, these volumes provide the most detailed portrait available on Sharp, his networks and movements, and how Fiona Macleod came to be.

Michael Shaw

"Moulding A Persona: The Life and Letters of William Sharp and Fiona Macleod". Studies in Scottish Literature, vol. 47, no. 1,


  • William F. Halloran
  • William F. Halloran
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Chapter Five: 1889

(pp. 221–266)
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Chapter Six: 1890

(pp. 267–316)
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Chapter Seven: 1891

(pp. 317–358)
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Chapter Eight: 1892a

(pp. 359–408)
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Chapter Nine: 1892b

(pp. 409–458)
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Chapter Ten: 1893

(pp. 459–516)
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Chapter Eleven: 1894

(pp. 517–592)
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(pp. 1–8)
  • William F. Halloran


William F. Halloran

Emeritus Professor of English at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee