Glasgow, Scotland. William, born 13 November 1841, died 10 December 1898, was a novelist born in Glasgow. During his own lifetime Black's novels were immensely popular, and were compared favourably with those of Anthony Trollope. However, his fame and popularity did not survive long into the twentieth century. William was born to James Black and his second wife Caroline Conning. He was educated to be a landscape painter, a training that influenced his literary life, and as a writer he became celebrated for the detailed and atmospheric descriptions of landscapes and seascapes in novels such as White Wings: A Yachting Romance. At the age of twenty three he went to London, England, after some experience with Glasgow journalism, and joined the staff of The Morning Star, and, later, the Daily News, of which journal he became assistant editor. t was the publication of his novel A Daughter of Heth in 1871 that at once established his popularity. It is the story of a young girl brought up in Catholic France, who comes to live with her more austere Protestant relatives in southern Scotland, and ends with personal tragedy. The travel story The Strange Adventures of a Phaeton followed in 1872, and in 1874 A Princess of Thule was another big success and was later adapted into a musical play, The Maid of Arran, by a young L. Frank Baum. Black's first wife, Augustus Wenzel, died on 14 May 1866 of a fever contracted not long after the birth of their son, Martin. They had only been married since 8 April 1865. Martin would die on 29 March 1871. He first met his second wife, Eva Simpson, daughter of Wharton Simpson, a fellow journalist and fellow member of Whitefriars Club, in 1869. He saw her again in 1872 and used her as the basis for Bell in The Phaeton. They were married in April 1874 and she was still alive when Wemyss Reid, who had offered Black a contributor's role on the Leeds Mercury, published his biography. From 1879 until his death William Black lived at 1 Paston Place, Brighton.
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