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At the Circulating Library

A Database of Victorian Fiction, 1837–1901

A Database of Victorian Fiction, 1837–1901

Author: Joseph Fearn

Author: Joseph Fearn (1816–1888)

Biography: Joseph Fearn was born on 1 June 1816 in South London, the youngest child of Samuel Fearn and Selina Catherine Greening. His father was himself the son of a prominent London stockbroker also named Samuel Fearn (died 1825) who seems to have been from a well-to-do family of stockbrokers. Fearn’s schooling cannot be traced, but he must have received a somewhat substantial, though not university-level, education given his later employment and literary career. His father worked as a senior clerk in the Phoenix Fire Office where his son eventually joined him. In addition to his business duties, Fearn began contributing poems and essays to religious periodicals as well as writing two novels. Fearn married twice. His first wife Frances Barker, who he married in 1841, died in 1849 without issue. A few months later, Fearn married Emma Rowton and the couple would have a daughter Charlotte Emma born in 1855. Emma Fearn was herself a poet who contributed to several periodicals. Fearn abandoned his literary career and became a moderately successful lecturer on literary subjects. By 1851 the family moved Hackney and by 1861 lived at 3, Albion Square, Dalston, until failing health prompted a move to St. Leonards-on-the-Sea, Hastings in 1878. He died in Hastings ten years later on 2 January 1888 and was buried in Abney Park, Stoke Newington which was his family resting place. His wife followed in 1897.

References: British Census (1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881); “Death of Mr. Joseph Fearn--A Worthy Career,” Hastings and St. Leonards Observer (14 January 1888)

Fiction Titles:

  1. Belief and Unbelief: A Tale for the Sceptical.  1 vol.  London: Wightman, 1840.
  2. Schism and Repentance: A Subject in Season.  1 vol.  London: Smith, Elder, 1844.