Samuel Smiles (1812-1904)
Samuel Smiles was one of Murray's most prolific, popular and profitable 19th century authors. As well as hundreds of articles, some for Murray's 'Quarterly Review' and 'Murray's Magazine', he wrote over 20 books. The most famous of these was 'Self-Help' (1859).
'Self-Help' sought to encourage working class and lower-middle-class men to climb the ladder of social and economic success through self-improvement. It promoted the virtues of hard work, thrift, sobriety and perseverance. It did so through biographical sketches, anecdotes and quotes from a wide range of men who for Smiles displayed the necessary qualities of character to inspire working men.
The success of 'Self-Help' encouraged similar works: 'Character' (1871), 'Thrift' (1875), 'Duty' (1880) and 'Life and Labour' (1887).
Highlighted items from the archive
NRA Name: Smiles, Samuel (1812-1904), biographer and didact.
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