The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century Poetry in English.
Edited by Ian Hamilton.
Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994.
p. 579-580.
WILCOX, Ella Wheeler (1850-1919), was born in Wisconsin, her father a dance-teacher, her precocity encouraged--at the age of 8 she was earning a substantial writing income. Poetry remained her favourite mode, starting with her first collection, Drops of Water (1872), which preached temperance, although she also wrote a number of prose volumes, including The Story of a Literary Career (1905) and The Worlds and I (1918). She snared a national audience when her innocuous Poems of Passion (1876) was rejected by the first publisher approached on the grounds of 'immorality'. In 1884 she married Robert Wilcox, and they moved to Connecticut. The forty-odd volumes of verse perpetrated by Wilcox, which evolved from prosy didactism and pseudo-eroticism to Theosophist mysticism, have deservedly disappeared, her sole claim to poetic fame two lines paraphrased from Shakespeare in 'Solitude': 'Laugh, and the world laughs with you; | weep, and you weep alone.'
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