Charles Lever was born in
Dublin on 31 August, 1806 , the son of a well-to-do English immigrant father and
an Irish mother descended from Cromwellian settlers. After graduating from Trinity
College in 1827, he travelled on the Continent and met both Goethe and the future
emperor, Napoleon III. Having sailed to Quebec on an emigrant ship, he returned
to Dublin to study for his medical degree at St Steven's hospital.
Practising medicine in Kilkee, Clare and Portstewart, he served under the Board
of Health during the worst ravages of the cholera epidemic of 1832. This experience
is reflected in two of his best novels: St Patrick's Eve (1845) and The Martins
of Cro' Martin (1856).
the late 1830s, Lever began to contribute articles and stories to a number of
periodicals, achieving enormous success with his contribution of Harry Lorrequer
to the Dublin University Magazine. Over the next thirty years he completed a further
twenty-nine novels and five volumes of essays.
1840 he left Ireland to live in Brussels, but returned in 1842 to become editor
of the DUM. His tenure lasted until 1845, when he again went to live abroad.
was appointed to the vice-consulship of Spezzia in Italy in 1857 and subsequently
to the consulship of Trieste. Perhaps his most important official duty during
these years was to represent Britain at the funeral of the executed Emperor of
Mexico, Maximilian Bonaparte. Lever died on 1 June, 1872 leaving two daughters
(he was predeceased by his wife Catherine and by his only son, Charles). He is
buried next to his wife in the English cemetery at Trieste.
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