Foto do autor

Eliza Fay (1756–1816)

Autor(a) de Original Letters from India

3 Works 129 Membros 3 Reviews

About the Author

Includes the name: Mrs. Eliza. Fay

Obras de Eliza Fay


Conhecimento Comum

Data de nascimento
Data de falecimento
Local de nascimento
Rotherhithe, London, England, UK
Local de falecimento
Calcutta, India
Locais de residência
London, England, UK
Calcutta, India
Pequena biografia
Although very little is recorded about her early life, Eliza was was one of three known daughters of Edward Clement, a London shipwright. In about 1772, she married Anthony Fay, a barrister, and went to India with him. After separating from her husband in 1781/1782, Eliza Fay travelled extensively through France, Egypt, India, Italy, and New York. She made several voyages to Calcutta, and left letters and memoirs of her experiences that were published in the 20th century. They reveal great narrative power and include what E. M. Forster, as her editor, described as "little character sketches... delightfully malicious." Eliza Fay found her way into Calcutta society during her first period there, meeting several prominent people, including Warren Hastings.



I hate when life interferes with my reading, and interfering is what it did of lately. Eliza Fay deserved better of me than putting this book down for days at time, just to return to it without great emotional commitment. So, be aware that my impression of this collection of letters was maybe impaired by my own lack of time to devout to it. But, as much as I was impressed by Mrs. Fay strength of character, and the challenges that she faced to reach India, I wanted more of her person in it.

I too have wrote letters that I knew were going to be read by many in my family, and I recognize the “holding back” that it requires, as compared to a letter written to a close friend that we are certain will not share our deep feelings with others.

Anyway, I am still glad I read it, and I would still recommend it to anyone curious of the time period. Just keep in mind that Eliza Fay describes more of the scenery than of her heart.
… (mais)
RosanaDR | outras 2 resenhas | Apr 15, 2021 |
Eliza Fay was 23 when she accompanied her husband Anthony Fay, a lawyer, to India in 1779. Not much is known about her early life, but her editor, EM Forster, surmises that her father might have been a sailor. On her first journey out to India, she traveled through France and Egypt, and she and her husband were imprisoned when they arrived in Calcutta.

Due to Anthony Fay’s mismanagement of money and infidelity, Eliza Fay split from her husband a few years later, and set herself up briefly as a milliner. Over the next 30 years she was to travel to India a few more times, and each time she traveled, she kept a journal of her journey. It was a time when the British turned from mere merchants and traders in India to a major imperial power. Eliza Fay wasn’t of the wealthiest class, but she nonetheless was an active participant in middle-class social life.

Most of the contents of this diary were from her first journey. Eliza Fay was an astute observer of her surroundings and undaunted by new experiences. She proves herself to be courageous and resourceful where her weak-willed husband is not. For example, during their captivity, the couple hid their valuables in an old glove and hid them under the eaves of the house. When a rainstorm came and washed the glove away, her spineless husband whined about it… while Eliza used a bit of common sense and footwork in order to find the glove lying in the grass nearby.

Judging from her “letters to friends back at home,” Eliza Fay wasn’t particularly educated, but she had the capacity to learn, particularly foreign languages. Her observations are astute, and while she wasn’t a particularly skilled writer, her style is all her own: immensely entertaining and energetic. Eliza Fay was a precursor to other colonial-era English female travelers to India—Emily Eden primarily among them. It’s fortunate that EM Forster accidentally stumbled across this book while researching A Passage to India.
… (mais)
1 vote
Kasthu | outras 2 resenhas | May 2, 2012 |
Introduced and annotated with qualified enthusiasm by E M Forster (she is "underbred" he says) this collection of journal-letters by Eliza Fay, each signed off at a cliffhanger,evoke an angry bustling woman with a hint of Austen's Aunt Norris.

Alternately sanctimonious and vindictive, martyred and acquisitive, she's always alive to the main chance. Or just alive, really; her energy crackles off the page. There are suggestions throughout that her companions' sympathies were worn out listening to her catalogue of sorrows. She is notably stoic about the sorrows of others.

But what a resource for a historic novelist of her place and time - dresses worn, meals eaten, how much for a dish of asparagus, the relative comfort of houses - all itemised in period idiom. No wonder EMF pestered Woolf to republish these letters.
… (mais)
nessreader | outras 2 resenhas | Feb 28, 2012 |

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½ 3.5

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