(1851-1935) Australian-born novelist, neé Rosa Caroline Murray-Prior; in the UK after her marriage in the late 1880s. Many of her novels were romances set in her native land; once in the UK she developed a keen interest in Occultism, then fashionable, and increasingly incorporated its themes into her novels. Affinities: A Romance of Today (1885) is a tale of the psychic domination of a vulnerable young woman by a decadent poet. H P Blavatsky's ideas, which play a marginal role in Affinities, provide the basis for the brief but wholehearted Theosophical fantasy (see Theosophy) The Brother of the Shadow: A Mystery of Today (1886). The Soul of Countess Adrian: A Romance (1891) and The Insane Root: A Romance of a Strange Country (1902) are both tales of personality displacement, the latter being the more interesting by virtue of its intriguingly confused morality. "As a Watch in the Night": A Drama of Waking and Dream, in Five Acts (1901) is a Visionary Fantasy of problematic Reincarnation which draws upon the same sources of inspiration as the allegedly documentary Nyria (1904; rev vt The Soul of Nyria 1931). The Body of His Desire: A Romance of the Soul (1912) and The Mystery Woman (1913) are feebler occult romances in the same vein. Some of the short stories in Stubble Before the Wind (coll 1908) exhibit the same preoccupations as the novels. Fugitive Anne (1902) is a Lost-Race novel set in Australia. [BS]
other works: The Ghost (1903).
Mrs Rosa Campbell Praed