Angela Brazil

Born in Preston, Lancashire in 1868, Angela Brazil (pronounced "brazzle") was the youngest child of cotton mill manager Clarence Brazil, and his wife, Angelica McKinnel. She was educated at the Turrets - a small private school in Wallasey - and then, when the Brazils were living in Manchester, at the preparatory department of the Manchester High School, and (as a boarder) at Ellerslie, an exclusive girls’ school near Victoria Park. She subsequently attended Heatherley's Art School, in London, with her sister Amy, and sketching remained a life-long interest.With the death of Clarence Brazil in 1899, the family left the North-West of England for Llanbedr, Wales, where they took up residence in their former summer house. It is believed that, at some point during this period (1899-1911), Brazil worked as a governess, although she does not mention it in her autobiography, My Own Schooldays (1925). In 1911, she moved to Coventry, where she kept house for her doctor brother, living in that city until her death, in 1947.Brazil's first children's novel, A Terrible Tomboy, was published in 1904, and is believed to have been autobiographical, featuring the adventures of a young Angela (Peggy), and her friend Leila Langdale (Lilian). It was only with the 1907 publication of her second novel, The Fortunes of Philippa, that she turned to the genre in which she would become so influential: the Girls' School Story.Brazil is often described by readers as "the first author of modern girls' school stories," and her publisher Blackie once claimed, in a bit of promotional hyperbole, that she had originated the genre! While not actually true - the genre predates her by some time, and other authors of modern girls school stories, such as May Baldwin, were publishing before she was - Brazil was certainly immensely influential, in the genre's move away from a didactic, moralistic model, towards one aimed more at entertainment. Her books are told from the perspective of her girl characters themselves, and were immensely popular with young readers, both in her own lifetime, and afterward. All told, she published close to sixty children's novels, most of them girls' school stories.




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