Reid, Thomas Mayne

Reid, Thomas Mayne

(Mayne Reid), 1818–83, British novelist, b. Ireland. He emigrated to the United States in 1840 and after various adventures in the West served as a lieutenant in the Mexican War. He returned to England and began writing adventure stories that were especially popular with boys. The first of these was The Rifle Rangers (1850). Others include The Scalp Hunters (1851), The White Chief (1855), and The Headless Horseman (1866).

Reid, Thomas Mayne


Born Apr. 4, 1818, in Ballyroney, Ireland; died Oct. 22, 1883, in London. British writer.

The son of a clergyman, Reid moved to the USA in 1838, where he worked as a journalist. He fought in the Mexican War (1846–48). In 1849 he returned to Europe.

In 1850, Reid published the novel The Rifle Rangers (vols. 1-2; Russian translation, 1867), which depicts the Mexican insurgents’ resistance to the American invasion. In the 1850’s he wrote his best adventure novels, which focus on the struggle of the oppressed peoples of America. The horrors of the slave trade in the American South are vividly depicted in The Quadroon (vols. 1–3, 1856; Russian translation, 1861). In the novels The White Chief (vols. 1–3, 1855; Russian translation, 1867) and Oceola the Seminole (1858; Russian translation, 1881), Reid gave a sympathetic account of the Indians’ struggle against white colonizers. Descriptions of the flora and fauna of Asia, Africa, and America constitute an important aspect of his works, particularly in the two-volume work that comprises The Plant Hunters (1857; Russian translation, 1863) and The Cliff Climbers (1864; Russian translation, 1866) and in the trilogy that comprises The Bush Boys, or The Adventures of a Cape Farmer and His Family in The Wild Karoos of Southern Africa (1856; Russian translation, Children of the Woods, 1864), The Boy Hunters (1852; Russian translation, 1864), and The Giraffe Hunters (vols. 1–3, 1867; Russian translation, 1872). Reid’s adventure-detective story The Headless Horseman (vols. 1–2, 1866; Russian translation, 1868) realistically depicts the life and mores of Texas. His novels of the 1870’s and 1880’s, including The Death Shot (vols. 1–3, 1873; Russian translation, 1876), are dominated by adventure motifs. The humanist social tendencies and absorbing plots of his novels have made Reid one of the most popular writers in many countries.


In Russian translation:
Sobr. soch., vols. 1–23. Moscow-Leningrad, 1929–30.
Soch., vols. 1–6. Moscow, 1956–58. (Introduction by R. M. Samarin.)


Narkevich, A. “Main Rid.” Detskaia literatura, 1938, no. 14.
Reid, E. Mayne Reid: A Memoir of His Life. London, 1890.


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