The Gentleman Digger: Being Studies and Pictures of Life in Johannesburg


The Gentleman Digger is a fictional work set in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1889. Following the discovery of gold in the 1880s, Johannesburg became a boomtown that attracted miners and prospectors from all over the world. The book depicts the rapid growth of the city and the squalor, glitter, drunkenness, and crime that characterized the early mining camps. The book’s author, the Comtesse de Brémont (1864–1922), was born Anna Dunphy to Irish parents in Cincinnati, Ohio. At the age of 17, she married the Comte de Brémont, a French medical doctor. Widowed in 1882, she began a career as a journalist and writer. She worked in Kimberley and Johannesburg in the 1880s and in the 1890s divided her time between London and South Africa. Her other books include a volume of sonnets and poems, a memoir of English poet Oscar Wilde and his mother, Lady Wilde, and two other books about Africa: The Ragged Edge: Tales of the African Gold Fields (1895) and A Son of Africa: A Romance (1899).

Last updated: September 18, 2015