A Sheaf of Corn

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Mary Elizabeth Mann, née Rackham (1848-1929) was an English writer. She took up writing in the 1880s with the guidance of an in-law relative, Thomas Fairman Ordish. Her first novel, The Parish of Hilby (1883) began a career lasting some 35 years during which she produced 40 works that focused on the experiences of Norfolk yeoman farmers during the late 19th century agricultural and economic upheaval. Formerly regarded as a novelist belonging to the 'earthy' rural genre, her short stories in Tales of Victorian Norfolk are grim but authentic accounts of poverty and deprivation. Her novels include The Patten Experiment (1899) where a group of well-meaning middle class folk try to live on a labourer's wage for a week, and Mrs Day's Daughters (1913). Her work has recently been rediscovered as a major contributor to East Anglian literature, championed among others by A. S. Byatt, who in 1998 included her story Little Brother in The Oxford Book of English Short Stories. Her other works include: Mrs Peter Howard (1886), One Another's Burdens (1890), The Cedar Star (1898), Fortune's Cap (1905) and A Sheaf of Corn (1908).
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