Poem by celebrated Victorian feminist sold at auction

By Jennifer Lipman, May 9, 2013

One of the final writings of a Victorian Jew who Oscar Wilde praised as a "girl of genius" has been auctioned for £3,500.

The poem by Amy Levy, At Dawn, was sold at Bonhams on Wednesday for £500 more than anticipated.

Written around 1889, shortly before Levy's suicide, it is the first time any of her work had been made for sale.

A feminist who had a relationship with the novelist Vernon Lee, Levy defied the expectations of her middle-class Jewish upbringing, becoming Newnham College Cambridge's first Jewish woman student.

Despite her premature death at 27, she was a prolific writer, publishing books and essays and attracting praise from Wilde.

"When you think of the prejudices women of the time faced, and for her to face them as a Jew, then [her story] is even more extraordinary," said Roy Davids, who sold the poem.

Last updated: 4:34pm, May 9 2013