British essayist and poet Alice Meynell was born to educated parents in 1847. She and her sister, a painter, spent their bohemian childhood partly in Italy. Meynell published Preludes (1875), her first book of poems, under her maiden name, Thompson. A convert to Roman Catholicism, Meynell and her husband, Wilfrid Meynell, edited the Weekly Register, a Catholic paper, and founded the magazine Merry England. Meynell regularly contributed essays to periodicals, wrote poetry, and raised a large family—seven children survived childhood. She worked for women’s suffrage, and her poems show her feminist concerns as well as her reactions to the events of World War I. Both Alfred, Lord Tennyson and Coventry Patmore admired her work, which included the volumes Poems (1893), Later Poems (1902), and the posthumous Last Poems (1923).
Meynell was the subject of a biography by her daughter Violet Meynell: Alice Meynell: A Memoir (1929), reviewed in the March 1930 edition of Poetry. Meynell died in 1922.