Emily Eden, from a drawing by George Richmond. MEL, facong p. 397.

An intelligent observer of life and politics, Emily was a constant, witty and confidential letter-writer. She was fond of her family and women friends, and slowly gained confidence in independent friendships with men. In her thirties she formed a close, chaste relationship with the recently widowed Lord Melbourne, refusing his probably half-meant proposal of marriage. (‘He frightens me and bewilders me, and he swears too much,’ she protested to her friend Theresa Lister in January 1832 (MEL 215). Soon after that she wrote a novel, The Semi-Attached Couple, describing a tissue of misunderstandings between a newly married, aristocratic couple – a novel with Jane Austen-like overtones and imaginative psychological depth, in which a senior politician, ‘Mr G’, who becomes Prime Minister, is an idealized combination of Melbourne and her brother George. — Brigid Allen

Biographical Material


Eden, Emily. Miss Eden’s Letters. Ed. Violet Dickinson. London: Macmillan, 1919 [MEL].

Eden, Emily. Letters from India. 2 vols. Ed. Eleanor Eden. London: Bentley, 1872 [LI].

[Eden, Emily]. The Semi-Attached Couple, by the author of The Semi-Detached House. London: Bentley, 1860.

Created 23 May 2020