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Novelists and Poets

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R. D. Blackmore
Name : R. D. Blackmore

R. D. Blackmore (1825-1900)

Richard Doddridge Blackmore, who was known as R. D. Blackmore, is most famous for his 1869 novel 'Lorna Doone', an historical romance set in the West Country during the late 17th Century. Sampson Low, Son & Marston first published the novel in a three volume edition in 1869. 500 copies were printed but only 300 were sold in the U.K. The rest were shipped to Australia. Despite the poor sales Sampson Low agreed to a one-volume edition which sold much better. This was partly due to the timing of the engagement of Queen Victoria's daughter Princess Louise to the Marquis of Lorne, despite there being no connection to the family portrayed in the novel.


"I... am greatly pleased to find that Mrs Low & yourself

like Lorna Doone."


In August 1869, the year 'Lorna Doone' was published, R.D. Blackmore writes to Sampson Low and expresses his appreciation for him and his wife liking his new novel. He admits that should the book fail he would have little heart for writing another. He also refers to a "most kind and cheering" review that it received in the Spectator magazine. Sampson Low was the only publisher to initially offer Blackmore a publishing deal for 'Lorna Doone'. Ultimately it was a great success for both author and publisher, and many further editions were printed in the years that followed. 


View R. D. Blackmore's letter [opens in a new window]


Image Rights: Frederick Jenkins / Stringer / Getty Images

Novelists and Poets (page 1 of 19)