Louise Imogen Guiney was born in Roxbury, MA in 1861 to Patrick and Jeanette Guiney. An only child, Louise attended Elmhurst, a convent school in Providence, Rhode Island, where she was well-prepared to enter the literary world around her. Two years before graduating Louise lost her father, a brigadier-general in the Civil War, to a wound from the war. His life remained an example to her as a man of morals and dignity. During his service in the war, he wrote encouraging and descriptive letters home which were later published. Louise shared her father's talent in the many letters she sent home from Elmhurst, which letters showed her ease for writing and expressive personality. Her father's early death gave her the responsibility to support herself and her mother, so she began submitting her writing to newspapers and magazines. Although her work was well respected, it did not pay well. She later worked as a postmistress as well as in the Boston Public Library to help subsidize the veteran's pension her mother received. She visited England on numerous occasions in later years and in 1901 she moved to Oxford permanently. Here she continued writing until her death in 1920. With 32 published books and hundreds of magazine contributions, Louise certainly made her mark on the literary world. Though her writing has mostly remained hidden in out-of-print books, her free spirit can still be found in these entertaining and clearly personal essays.
"He is so big and so unsophisticated, that you daily feel the incongruity, and wish, in a vague sort of way, that there was a street boarding-school in your town, where he could rough it away from an adoring family, and learn to be responsible and self-opinionated, like other dogs.
The moment [art] speaks out fully, lets us know all, ceases to represent a choice and a control of its own material, ceases to be, in short, an authority and a mystery, and prefers to set up for a mere Chinese copy of life.
Patrick Madden's New Book
Quotidiana site founder Patrick Madden has just published a book of his own personal essays, including pieces formerly published in the Best American Spiritual Writing and Best Creative Nonfiction anthologies.
If you enjoy the classical essays on this site, you'll enjoy these contemporary ruminations as well. Soon there'll be a web page here with further information, but for now, you can find out more (and perhaps purchase a copy) at Amazon.com.
"Patrick Madden is an essayist of verve, passion, wit, and dependable moral compass. Quotidiana drew me in powerfully, from page to page and from pleasure to pleasure." —Ian Frazier
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Quotidiana is an online anthology of "classical" essays, from antiquity to the early twentieth century. All essays and images are in the public domain. Commentaries are copyrighted, but may be used with proper attribution. Special thanks to the BYU College of Humanities and English Department for funding, and to Joey Franklin and Lara Burton, for tireless research assisting.