Pierce Egan the Younger (1814 - 6 July 1880) was an English journalist and novelist. The son of Pierce Egan, the author of Life in London, he associated with his father in several of his works.
He was born in London, and his mother died when he was eleven years old. Early on he showed a taste for drawing. He was educated to follow art professionally, frequented theatres, and made sketches during the performances. He etched these designs, which were published as frontispieces to the plays in George Bolwell Davidge's Acting Drama. His most ambitious work as an artist was a series of etchings to illustrate his father's serial The Pilgrims of the Thames in Search of the National (1837).
He contributed to the early volumes of the Illustrated London News, started in 1842, and from 7 July 1849 to the end of 1851 edited the Home Circle. In Nos. 53-119, vols, iii-v. of this work, ending 11 October 1851, reappeared, extended and recast, his 'Quintyn Matsys, the Blacksmith of Antwerp,' afterwards reissued separately in library form with illustrations. An early edition had been published about 1839.
He wrote in January 1857 for Reynolds's Miscellany, Nos. 444-8, a popular Christmas story called 'The Waits;' later republished in John Thomas Dicks's series of 'English Novels,' No. 106. Also in Reynolds's Miscellany was 'The False Step; or the Castle and the Cottage' (begun 21 Feb. 1867, ended 3 Oct., Nos. 450-82). He then transferred to The London Journal as a major contributor until the end of his life. Sir John Gilbert illustrated many of the works. On 5 Dec. 1857, in vol. xxvi. No. 667, appeared the first chapters of Egan's 'Flower of the Flock.' It ended in No. 689, and was next week followed by 'The Snake in the Grass' (8 May 1858, ending 27 Nov. 1858, in No. 720).
In 1858 and 1869 a new proprietor of the Journal dispensed with Egan's services and reprinted three novels by Sir Walter Scott. But the circulation diminished, so that Egan was again summoned to restore its popularity. This he attempted, somewhat hurriedly, with a slight story called 'The Love Test' (15 January 1869, in vol. xxix., completed in No. 746 on 28 March). After a short interval he began a new story, with his best power, 'Love me. Leave me Not' (22 Oct. 1859, ending 30 June 1860, Nos. 767-803).
Further stories followed in his later life: My Love Kate; or the Dreadful Secret; The Poor Girl, followed by a companion novel entitled The Poor Boy, and Snake in the Grass.
Other novels were part publishing of weekly numbers, and later in volumes. Several of them contained woodcuts and etchings by the author. Among these were:
Other early works were:
Egan's Robin Hood text was later translated and resumed into two French language parts by Alexandre Dumas (The Prince of Thieves, 1872, and Robin Hood the Outlaw, 1873; re-translated back into English in 1904 by Alfred Richard Allinson). The first book of the Dumas interpretation was translated into Spanish by Colombia's Editorial Oveja Negra, but it was billed as being written by Sir Walter Scott, the author of Ivanhoe.
He was singularly unobtrusive, and avoided conflicts. He married and had several children, enjoying a fair income derived from his literary work. He later developed a different style from his early feudal extravagances, of rural scenes intermingled with tragic incidents of town poverty and aristocratic splendor. Although the first edition of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography stated that 'he was a liberal in politics', recent research into Egan's novels has shown him to have been a radical writer, arguing against Old Corruption and advocating republicanism in the United Kingdom. He died on 6 July 1880 at his residence, Ravensbourne, Burnt Ash, Lee, Kent (now London).