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Flora Annie Steel (April 2, 1847-1929) was an English writer. She was the daughter of George Webster. In 1867 she married a member of the Indian civil service, and for the next twenty-two years lived in India, chiefly in the Punjab, with which most of her books are connected.

"The Three Bears", Arthur Rackham's illustration to Steel's English Fairy Tales
Fee-fi-fo-fum,
I smell the blood of an Englishman.

Illustration by Arthur Rackham from a 1918 English Fairy Tales, by Flora Annie Steel

When her husband's health was weak, Flora Annie Steel looked after some of his responsibilities. She acted as school inspector and mediator in local arguments.

She was interested in relating to all classes of Indian society. The birth of her daughter gave her a chance to interact with local women and learn their language.

She encouraged the production of local handicrafts and collected folk-tales.

Her interest in schools and the education of women gave her a special insight into native life and character.

In 1889 the family moved back to Scotland, and she continued her writing there.

Some of her best work is contained in two collections of short stories:

  • From the Five Rivers (1893)
  • Tales of the Punjab (1894),

while her most ambitious effort was her novel, On the Face of the Waters (1896), describing incidents of the Indian Mutiny.

She also wrote a popular history of India. Her later works were

  • In the permanent way, and other stories (1897),
  • Voices in the Night (1900),
  • The Hosts of the Lord (1900),
  • In the Guardianship of God (1903),
  • A Sovereign Remedy (1906),
  • India through the ages; a popular and picturesque history of Hindustan (1908),
  • Mistress of men : a novel (1918).

References

This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

FLORA ANNIE STEEL (1847-), English writer, was born on the 2nd of April 1847, the daughter of George Webster. In 1867 she married an Indian civilian, and for the next twentytwo years lived in India, chiefly in the Punjab, with which most of her books are connected; her interest in the education of women, as an inspectress of schools, gave her a special insight into native life and character. Some of her best work is contained in two collections of short stories: From the Five Rivers (1893) and Tales from the Punjab (1894); while her most ambitious effort was her novel, On the face of the Waters (1896), describing incidents of the Indian Mutiny. She also wrote a popular history of India. Later works are In the Permanent Way (1897), Voices in the Night (1900), The Hosts of the Lord (1900), In the Guardianship of God (1903), A Sovereign Remedy (1906).


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