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At the Circulating Library

A Database of Victorian Fiction, 1837–1901

A Database of Victorian Fiction, 1837–1901

Author: Walter Lionel Bicknell

Author: Walter Lionel Bicknell (1853–1895)

Alternate Name(s): Austin Pember (pseudonym)

Biography: Walter Lionel Bicknell was born in 1853 in Ryde, the Isle of Wight, the third son of clergyman John Bicknell. He attended Lincoln College, Oxford, where he earned a B.A. (1877) and M.A. (1882). Bicknell worked as a schoolmaster at Arden House, Warwickshire. In 1881, he married Mary Pemberton, eight years his senior and the widow of the Rev. William Nelson, the headmaster of King Edward VI School, Birmingham. In the 1880s, Bicknell began writing fiction under his own name with Keep Troth (1884), the plot of which centers on the substitution of a poor child for a rich child. Poor reviews, perhaps, led to writing under the pseudonym "Austin Pember" thereafter. His novel Victa Victrix (1885) features a denunciation of society and society journals. In addition, he wrote contributions to Macmillan's Magazine and National Review as well as a biography of Ivan the Terrible (1895). He died suddenly at the young age of forty two in 1895.

References: Allibone; Alumni Oxonienses; Birmingham Daily Post (17 December 1895); British Census (1881)

Fiction Titles:

  1. Keep Troth.  3 vol.  London: Hurst and Blackett, 1884.
  2. Pericles Brum: or, The Last of the De Veres. A Satirical Romance.  1 vol.  London: John Maxwell, 1884.
  3. Alter Ego.  1 vol.  London: John Maxwell, 1884.
  4. Victa Victrix: or, A Shrug, a Hum, a Ha!.  3 vol.  London: John Maxwell, 1885.
  5. Croesus Minor: His Education and its Results.  1 vol.  London: Swan Sonnenschein, 1888.