James Montgomery, (born Nov. 4, 1771, Irvine, Ayrshire, Scot.--died April 30, 1854, Sheffield, Yorkshire, Eng.), Scottish poet and journalist best remembered for his hymns and versified renderings of the Psalms, which are among the finest in English, uniting fervour and insight in simple verse. The son of a Moravian minister, Montgomery was first a shop assistant, then a journalist. He wrote some 22 books of verse. In 1835, through the agency of Sir Robert Peel, then prime minister, he was given a pension...
Marie Corelli, pseudonym of Mary Mackay, (born 1855, London, Eng.--died April 21, 1924, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwick), best-selling English author of more than 20 romantic melodramatic novels.Her first book, A Romance of Two Worlds (1886), dealt with psychic experience--a theme in many of her later novels. Her first major success was Barabbas: A Dream of the World's Tragedy (1893), in which her treatment of the Crucifixion was designed to appeal to popular taste. The Sorrows of Satan (1895), also based on a melodramatic treatment of a religious theme, had an even wider vogue.Throughout..
Anthony Hope, in full Sir Anthony Hope Hawkins, (born Feb. 9, 1863, London, Eng.--died July 8, 1933, Walton-on-the-Hill, Surrey), English author of cloak-and-sword romances, notably The Prisoner of Zenda.Educated at Marlborough and at Balliol College, Oxford, he became a lawyer in 1887. The immediate success of The Prisoner of Zenda (1894), his sixth novel--and its sequel, Rupert of Hentzau (1898)--turned him entirely to writing. These novels describe the perilous adventures of the Englishman Rudolph Rassendyll in the mythical kingdom of Ruritania. Hope's other works include the high-society..
James Howell, (born c. 1594, probably in Abernant, Carmarthenshire, Wales--died 1666, London), Anglo-Welsh writer known for his Epistolae Ho-Elianae, 4 vol. (1645-55), early and lively essays in letter form. Though vividly recording contemporary phenomena, they lack historical reliability because of plagiarizing and the addition of fictitious dates--despite the author's position as historiographer royal, a post created for him at the Restoration (1660). He also did translations and wrote dictionaries, imaginative works, and political pamphlets.Educated at Oxford University,..
Frederick William Faber, (born June 28, 1814, Calverly, Yorkshire, Eng.--died Sept. 26, 1863, London), British theologian, noted hymnist, and founder of the Wilfridians, a religious society living in common without vows.Faber was elected fellow of University College, Oxford, in 1837. Originally a Calvinist, he became a disciple of John Henry Newman (later cardinal) and, in 1843, was appointed rector of Elton, Huntingdonshire. He converted to Roman Catholicism in 1845 and soon after founded the Wilfridians, a community at Birmingham, Warwickshire, which was merged in the Oratory of..
Gilbert Murray, (born January 2, 1866, Sydney, N.S.W., Australia--died May 20, 1957, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England), British classical scholar whose translations of the masters of ancient Greek drama--Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, and Aristophanes--brought their works to renewed popularity on the contemporary stage.Murray became professor of Greek at Glasgow University at age 23 and in 1908 regius professor of Greek at the University of Oxford, where he remained until his retirement in 1936. Between 1904 and 1912 he personally directed many of the productions that made Greek theatre..
Mark Rutherford, pseudonym of William Hale White, (born Dec. 22, 1831, Bedford, Bedfordshire, Eng.--died March 14, 1913, Groombridge, Sussex), English novelist noted for his studies of Nonconformist experience.While training for the Independent ministry, White lost his faith and became disillusioned with what he saw as the narrowness of Nonconformist culture. He practiced journalism, then spent the rest of his life in the civil service at the Admiralty. The story of his inner life, however, is largely told in his novels and other writings, published under the name of Mark Rutherford...
Norman Douglas, in full George Norman Douglas, (born December 8, 1868, Thuringen, Austria--died February 9, 1952, Capri, Italy), essayist and novelist who wrote of southern Italy, where he lived for many years, latterly on the island of Capri--the setting of his most famous book, South Wind. All his books, whether fiction, topography, essays, or autobiography, have a charm arising from Douglas's uninhibited expression of a bohemian, aristocratic personality. His prose is considered somewhat near the perfection of the conversational style.Douglas was born of an old Scottish landowning..
Lascelles Abercrombie, (born Jan. 9, 1881, Ashton upon Mersey, Cheshire, Eng.--died Oct. 27, 1938, London), poet and critic who was associated with Georgian poetry.He was educated at Malvern College, Worcestershire, and Owens College, Manchester, after which he became a journalist and began to write poetry. His first book, Interludes and Poems (1908), was followed by Mary and the Bramble (1910), a dramatic poem--Deborah--and Emblems of Love (1912), and the prose work Speculative Dialogues (1913). All were marked by lyric power, lucidity, love of natural beauty, and mysticism.After..
Eliza Haywood, nee Fowler, (born 1693?--died February 25, 1756, London), prolific English writer of sensational romantic novels that mirrored contemporary 18th-century scandals.Haywood mentions her marriage in her writings, though little is known about it. She supported herself by writing, acting, and adapting works for the theatre. She then turned to the extravagantly passionate fiction for which there was then a vogue, adopting the technique of writing novels based on scandals involving leaders of society, whom she denoted by initials. (The British Museum in London has a key giving..
Thomas Hughes, (born Oct. 20, 1822, Uffington, Berkshire, Eng.--died March 22, 1896, Brighton, Sussex), British jurist, reformer, and novelist best known for Tom Brown's School Days.Hughes attended Rugby School from 1834 to 1842. His love for the great Rugby headmaster Thomas Arnold and for games and boyish high spirits are admirably captured in the novel Tom Brown's School Days (1857). The book's success--it ran into nearly 50 editions by 1890--helped create an enduring image of the public-school product and popularize the doctrine of "muscular Christianity."From 1842 to 1845 Hughes..
Anthony Powell, in full Anthony Dymoke Powell, (born December 21, 1905, London, England--died March 28, 2000, near Frome, Somerset), English novelist, best known for his autobiographical and satiric 12-volume series of novels, A Dance to the Music of Time.As a child, Powell lived wherever his father, a regular officer in the Welsh Regiment, was stationed. He attended Eton College from 1919 to 1923 and Balliol College, Oxford, from 1923 to 1926. Thereafter he joined the London publishing house of Duckworth, which published his first novel, Afternoon Men (1931). The book was followed by four..
Charlotte Lennox, nee Charlotte Ramsay, (born 1729/30, probably Gibraltar--died Jan. 4, 1804, London, Eng.), English novelist whose work, especially The Female Quixote, was much admired by leading literary figures of her time, including Samuel Johnson and the novelists Henry Fielding and Samuel Richardson.Charlotte Ramsay was the daughter of a British army officer who was said to have been lieutenant governor of the colony of New York. This claim has been dismissed, however, in light of evidence that she went to live in or near Albany, New York, in 1739, when her father was posted there as..
Arthur Symons, in full Arthur William Symons, (born Feb. 28, 1865, Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire, Eng.--died Jan. 22, 1945, Wittersham, Kent), poet and critic, the first English champion of the French Symbolist poets.Symons's schooling was irregular, but, determined to be a writer, he soon found a place in the London literary journalism of the 1890s. He joined the Rhymers' Club (a group of poets including William Butler Yeats and Ernest Dowson), contributed to The Yellow Book, and became editor of a new magazine, The Savoy (1896), with Aubrey Beardsley as art editor. Symons was well versed..
Dick Francis, in full Richard Stanley Francis, (born Oct. 31, 1920, Tenby, Wales--died Feb. 14, 2010, Grand Cayman), British jockey and mystery writer known for his realistic plots centred on the sport of horse racing.The son of a jockey, Francis took up steeplechase riding in 1946, turning professional in 1948. In 1957 he had an accident that cut short his riding career. That same year he published The Sport of Queens: The Autobiography of Dick Francis, and until 1973 he was a racing correspondent for London's Sunday Express.In 1962 Francis turned to fiction with a successful first novel, Dead..
Ruth Rendell, in full Ruth Barbara Rendell, Baroness Rendell of Babergh, original surname Grasemann, pseudonym Barbara Vine, (born February 17, 1930, South Woodford, Essex, England--died May 2, 2015, London), British writer of mystery novels, psychological crime novels, and short stories who was perhaps best known for her novels featuring Chief Inspector Reginald Wexford.Rendell initially worked as a reporter and copy editor for West Essex newspapers. Her first novel, From Doon with Death (1964), introduced Wexford, the clever chief inspector of a town in southeastern England, and..
Anne Bronte, pseudonym Acton Bell, (born Jan. 17, 1820, Thornton, Yorkshire, Eng.--died May 28, 1849, Scarborough, Yorkshire), English poet and novelist, sister of Charlotte and Emily Bronte and author of Agnes Grey (1847) and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1848).The youngest of six children of Patrick and Marie Bronte, Anne was taught in the family's Haworth home and at Roe Head School. With her sister Emily, she invented the imaginary kingdom of Gondal, about which they wrote verse and prose (the latter now lost) from the early 1830s until 1845. She took a position as governess briefly in 1839..
Roald Dahl, (born September 13, 1916, Llandaff, Wales--died November 23, 1990, Oxford, England), British writer, a popular author of ingenious, irreverent children's books.Following his graduation from Repton, a renowned British public school, in 1932, Dahl avoided a university education and joined an expedition to Newfoundland. He worked from 1937 to 1939 in Dar es Salaam, Tanganyika (now in Tanzania), but he enlisted in the Royal Air Force (RAF) when World War II broke out. Flying as a fighter pilot, he was seriously injured in a crash landing in Libya. He served with his squadron in Greece..
Lawrence Durrell, in full Lawrence George Durrell, (born Feb. 27, 1912, Jullundur, India--died Nov. 7, 1990, Sommieres, France), English novelist, poet, and writer of topographical books, verse plays, and farcical short stories who is best known as the author of The Alexandria Quartet, a series of four interconnected novels.Durrell spent most of his life outside England and had little sympathy with the English character. He was educated in India until he reached age 11 and moved in 1935 to the island of Corfu. During World War II he served as press attache to the British embassies in Cairo and..
Edith Sitwell, in full Dame Edith Sitwell, (born September 7, 1887, Scarborough, Yorkshire, England--died December 9, 1964, London), English poet who first gained fame for her stylistic artifices but who emerged during World War II as a poet of emotional depth and profoundly human concerns. She was equally famed for her formidable personality, Elizabethan dress, and eccentric opinions.A member of a distinguished literary family, she was the daughter of Sir George Sitwell and the sister of Sir Osbert and Sir Sacheverell Sitwell. Her first book, The Mother and Other Poems, appeared in 1915...
Sir Thomas Browne, (born Oct. 19, 1605, London--died Oct. 19, 1682, Norwich, Norfolk, Eng.), English physician and author, best known for his book of reflections, Religio Medici.After studying at Winchester and Oxford, Browne probably was an assistant to a doctor near Oxford. After taking his M.D. at Leiden in 1633, he practiced at Shibden Hall near Halifax, in Yorkshire, from 1634, until he was admitted as an M.D. at Oxford; he settled in Norwich in 1637. At Shibden Hall Browne had begun his parallel career as a writer with Religio Medici, a journal largely about the mysteries of God, nature,..
George Herbert, (born April 3, 1593, Montgomery Castle, Wales--died March 1, 1633, Bemerton, Wiltshire, Eng.), English religious poet, a major metaphysical poet, notable for the purity and effectiveness of his choice of words.A younger brother of Edward Herbert, 1st Baron Herbert of Cherbury, a notable secular metaphysical poet, George in 1610 sent his mother for New Year's two sonnets on the theme that the love of God is a fitter subject for verse than the love of woman, a foreshadowing of his poetic and vocational bent.Educated at home, at Westminster School, and at Trinity College, Cambridge,..
Martin Amis, (born August 25, 1949, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England), English satirist known for his virtuoso storytelling technique and his dark views of contemporary English society.As a youth, Amis, the son of the novelist Kingsley Amis, thrived literarily on a permissive home atmosphere and a "passionate street life." He graduated from Exeter College, Oxford, in 1971 with first-class honours in English and worked for several years as an editor on such publications as the Times Literary Supplement and the New Statesman.Amis's first novel was The Rachel Papers (1973), the tale of a young..
Zadie Smith, originally Sadie Smith, (born October 27, 1975, London, England), British author known for her treatment of race, religion, and cultural identity and for her novels' eccentric characters, savvy humour, and snappy dialogue. She became a sensation in the literary world with the publication of her first novel, White Teeth, in 2000.Smith, the daughter of a Jamaican mother and an English father, changed the spelling of her first name to Zadie at age 14. She began writing poems and stories as a child and later studied English literature at the University of Cambridge (B.A., 1998). While..
Mike Leigh, (born February 20, 1943, Salford, Lancashire, England), British writer and director of film and theatre, known for his finely honed depictions of quotidian lives and for his improvisational rehearsal style.Leigh studied acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London in the early 1960s, but his interest in writing and directing led him to switch schools several times, and he ultimately graduated from the London School of Film Technique (now London Film School) in 1965. About that time he began developing a method for creating narratives that relied on actors' improvisations..
Mary Wollstonecraft, married name Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, (born April 27, 1759, London, England--died September 10, 1797, London), English writer and passionate advocate of educational and social equality for women.The daughter of a farmer, Wollstonecraft taught school and worked as a governess, experiences that inspired her views in Thoughts on the Education of Daughters (1787). In 1788 she began working as a translator for the London publisher Joseph Johnson, who published several of her works, including the novel Mary: A Fiction (1788). Her mature work on woman's place in society..
Ian McEwan, in full Ian Russell McEwan, (born June 21, 1948, Aldershot, England), British novelist, short-story writer, and screenwriter whose restrained, refined prose style accentuates the horror of his dark humour and perverse subject matter.McEwan graduated with honours from the University of Sussex (B.A., 1970) and studied under Malcolm Bradbury at the University of East Anglia (M.A., 1971). He earned renown for his first two short-story collections, First Love, Last Rites (1975; film 1997)--winner of a Somerset Maugham Award for writers under age 35--and In Between the Sheets..
Christina Rossetti, in full Christina Georgina Rossetti, pseudonym Ellen Alleyne, (born Dec. 5, 1830, London, Eng.--died Dec. 29, 1894, London), one of the most important of English women poets both in range and quality. She excelled in works of fantasy, in poems for children, and in religious poetry.Christina was the youngest child of Gabriele Rossetti and was the sister of the painter-poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti. In 1847 her grandfather, Gaetano Polidori, printed on his private press a volume of her Verses, in which signs of poetic talent are already visible. In 1850, under the pseudonym..
Martin Rees, in full Martin John Rees, Baron Rees of Ludlow, (born June 23, 1942, York, England), English cosmologist and astrophysicist who was a main expositor of the big-bang theory of the origins of the universe.Rees was raised in Shropshire, in the English Midlands. After receiving a bachelor's degree in mathematics (1963) and master's and doctorate degrees in theoretical astronomy (1967) at Trinity College, Cambridge, he pursued an academic career in cosmology, mainly at Cambridge but with interludes in the United States at Princeton (1969-70; 1982; 1996; 1997) and Harvard (1972;..
Philip Pullman, in full Philip Nicholas Pullman, (born October 19, 1946, Norwich, England), British author of novels for children and young adults who is best known for the fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials (1995-2000).Pullman was the son of a Royal Air Force officer. His family moved many times during his childhood and settled for some years in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). On the long journeys dictated by his father's various postings, he regaled his younger brother with his fantasy tales. After his father died in a plane crash, young Philip was sent back to England to live with his grandparents...
Karl Pearson, (born March 27, 1857, London, England--died April 27, 1936, Coldharbour, Surrey), British statistician, leading founder of the modern field of statistics, prominent proponent of eugenics, and influential interpreter of the philosophy and social role of science.Pearson was descended on both sides of his family from Yorkshire Quakers, and, although he was brought up in the Church of England and as an adult adhered to agnosticism or "freethought," he always identified with his Quaker ancestry. Until about age 24 it seemed that he would follow his father, a barrister who rose..
Arthur Conan Doyle, in full Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle, (born May 22, 1859, Edinburgh, Scotland--died July 7, 1930, Crowborough, Sussex, England), Scottish writer best known for his creation of the detective Sherlock Holmes--one of the most vivid and enduring characters in English fiction.Conan Doyle, the second of Charles Altamont and Mary Foley Doyle's 10 children, began seven years of Jesuit education in Lancashire, England, in 1868. After an additional year of schooling in Feldkirch, Austria, Conan Doyle returned to Edinburgh. Through the influence of Dr. Bryan Charles Waller,..
Graham Greene, in full Henry Graham Greene, (born October 2, 1904, Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, England--died April 3, 1991, Vevey, Switzerland), English novelist, short-story writer, playwright, and journalist whose novels treat life's moral ambiguities in the context of contemporary political settings.His father was the headmaster of Berkhamsted School, which Greene attended for some years. After running away from school, he was sent to London to a psychoanalyst in whose house he lived while under treatment. After studying at Balliol College, Oxford, Greene converted to Roman..
Sir Richard Steele, pseudonym Isaac Bickerstaff, (born 1672, Dublin, Ire.--died Sept. 1, 1729, Carmarthen, Carmarthenshire, Wales), English essayist, dramatist, journalist, and politician, best known as principal author (with Joseph Addison) of the periodicals The Tatler and The Spectator.Early life and works.Steele's father, an ailing and somewhat ineffectual attorney, died when the son was about five, and the boy was taken under the protection of his uncle Henry Gascoigne, confidential secretary to the Duke of Ormonde, to whose bounty, as Steele later wrote, he owed "a liberal education."..
Samuel Butler, (born Dec. 4, 1835, Langar Rectory, Nottinghamshire, Eng.--died June 18, 1902, London), English novelist, essayist, and critic whose satire Erewhon (1872) foreshadowed the collapse of the Victorian illusion of eternal progress. The Way of All Flesh (1903), his autobiographical novel, is generally considered his masterpiece.Butler was the son of the Reverend Thomas Butler and grandson of Samuel Butler, headmaster of Shrewsbury School and later bishop of Lichfield. After six years at Shrewsbury, the young Samuel went to St. John's College, Cambridge, and was graduated..
George Orwell, pseudonym of Eric Arthur Blair, (born June 25, 1903, Motihari, Bengal, India--died January 21, 1950, London, England), English novelist, essayist, and critic famous for his novels Animal Farm (1945) and Nineteen Eighty-four (1949), the latter a profound anti-utopian novel that examines the dangers of totalitarian rule.Born Eric Arthur Blair, Orwell never entirely abandoned his original name, but his first book, Down and Out in Paris and London, appeared in 1933 as the work of George Orwell (the surname he derived from the beautiful River Orwell in East Anglia). In time his..
Charlotte Bronte, married name Mrs. Arthur Bell Nicholls, pseudonym Currer Bell, (born April 21, 1816, Thornton, Yorkshire, England--died March 31, 1855, Haworth, Yorkshire), English novelist noted for Jane Eyre (1847), a strong narrative of a woman in conflict with her natural desires and social condition. The novel gave new truthfulness to Victorian fiction. She later wrote Shirley (1849) and Villette (1853).LifeHer father was Patrick Bronte (1777-1861), an Anglican clergyman. Irish-born, he had changed his name from the more commonplace Brunty. After serving in several parishes,..
Jane Austen, (born December 16, 1775, Steventon, Hampshire, England--died July 18, 1817, Winchester, Hampshire), English writer who first gave the novel its distinctly modern character through her treatment of ordinary people in everyday life. She published four novels during her lifetime: Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814), and Emma (1815). In these and in Persuasion and Northanger Abbey (published together posthumously, 1817), she vividly depicted English middle-class life during the early 19th century. Her novels defined the era's..
Lord Byron, in full George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron, (born January 22, 1788, London, England--died April 19, 1824, Missolonghi, Greece), British Romantic poet and satirist whose poetry and personality captured the imagination of Europe. Renowned as the "gloomy egoist" of his autobiographical poem Childe Harold's Pilgrimage (1812-18) in the 19th century, he is now more generally esteemed for the satiric realism of Don Juan (1819-24).Life and careerByron was the son of the handsome and profligate Captain John ("Mad Jack") Byron and his second wife, Catherine Gordon, a Scots heiress...
Bertrand Russell, in full Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell of Kingston Russell, Viscount Amberley of Amberley and of Ardsalla, (born May 18, 1872, Trelleck, Monmouthshire, Wales--died February 2, 1970, Penrhyndeudraeth, Merioneth), British philosopher, logician, and social reformer, founding figure in the analytic movement in Anglo-American philosophy, and recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1950. Russell's contributions to logic, epistemology, and the philosophy of mathematics established him as one of the foremost philosophers of the 20th century...
Winston Churchill, in full Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, (born November 30, 1874, Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, England—died January 24, 1965, London), British statesman, orator, and author who as prime minister (1940–45, 1951–55) rallied the British people during World War II and led his country from the brink of defeat to victory.After a sensational rise to prominence in national politics before World War I, Churchill acquired a reputation for erratic judgment in the war itself and in the decade that followed. Politically suspect in consequence, he was a lonely figure until..
Virginia Woolf, original name in full Adeline Virginia Stephen, (born January 25, 1882, London, England—died March 28, 1941, near Rodmell, Sussex), English writer whose novels, through their nonlinear approaches to narrative, exerted a major influence on the genre.While she is best known for her novels, especially Mrs. Dalloway (1925) and To the Lighthouse (1927), Woolf also wrote pioneering essays on artistic theory, literary history, women’s writing, and the politics of power. A fine stylist, she experimented with several forms of biographical writing, composed painterly short..
Jackie Collins, byname of Jacqueline Jill Collins, (born October 4, 1937, London, England—died September 19, 2015, Los Angeles, California), English author known for her provocative romantic thrillers, which were liberally salted with sex, crime, and entertainment-industry gossip. Collins’s glamorous public persona—she frequently appeared in leopard-print clothing and was adorned with expensive jewelry—echoed the lavish lifestyles of many of her characters. She sold more than 400 million copies of her books.Collins, the middle child of a theatrical agent and a former dancer,..
Ian Fleming, in full Ian Lancaster Fleming, (born May 28, 1908, London, England—died August 12, 1964, Canterbury, Kent), suspense-fiction novelist whose character James Bond, the stylish, high-living British secret service agent 007, became one of the most successful and widely imitated heroes of 20th-century popular fiction.The son of a Conservative MP and the grandson of a Scottish banker, Fleming was born into a family of wealth and privilege. He was educated in England, Germany, and Switzerland, and he was a journalist in Moscow (1929–33), a banker and stockbroker (1935–39), a high-ranking..
George Eliot, pseudonym of Mary Ann, or Marian, Cross, née Evans, (born November 22, 1819, Chilvers Coton, Warwickshire, England—died December 22, 1880, London), English Victorian novelist who developed the method of psychological analysis characteristic of modern fiction. Her major works include Adam Bede (1859), The Mill on the Floss (1860), Silas Marner (1861), Middlemarch (1871–72), and Daniel Deronda (1876).Early yearsEvans was born on an estate of her father’s employer. She went as a boarder to Mrs. Wallington’s School at Nuneaton (1828–32), where she came under the influence..
Robin Skelton, British-born Canadian poet, scholar, and witch who published scores of books, founded the creative writing department at the University of Victoria, B.C., cofounded the Malahat Review literary journal, and publicly promoted his belief in witchcraft (b. Oct. 12, 1925--d. Aug. 27, 1997).
David Gemmell, British fantasy novelist (born Aug. 1, 1948, London, Eng.--died July 28, 2006, Udimore, East Sussex, Eng.), wrote more than 30 historic fantasy adventure stories, notably his first novel, Legend (1984), and its sequels; Waylander (1986); and the Drenai saga. Although his novels were often filled with violence and supernatural evil, Gemmell emphasized characters who defied their own self-doubt to face seemingly insurmountable obstacles with courage and honour. At the time of his death, Gemmell was working on the last part of a trilogy set during the siege of Troy...
James Herriot, orig.James Alfred Wight, (born Oct. 3, 1916, Glasgow, Scot.--died Feb. 23, 1995, Thirlby, near Thirsk, Yorkshire, Eng.), British veterinarian and writer. Wight joined the practice of two veterinarian brothers working in the Yorkshire Dales and at age 50 was persuaded by his wife to write down his collection of anecdotes. His humorous, fictionalized reminiscences were published under the name James Herriot in If Only They Could Talk (1970) and It Shouldn't Happen to a Vet (1972), which were issued in the U.S. as All Creatures Great and Small (1972). The instant best-seller inaugurated..
Malcolm Muggeridge, (born March 24, 1903, Croydon, Surrey, Eng.--died Nov. 24, 1990, Hastings, East Sussex), British journalist and social critic. A lecturer in Cairo in the late 1920s, he worked for newspapers in the 1930s before serving in British intelligence during World War II. He then resumed his journalistic career, including a stint as editor of Punch (1953-57). An outspoken and controversial iconoclast, he targeted liberalism and other aspects of contemporary life with his stinging wit and elegant prose. He was early an avowed atheist but moved gradually to embrace Roman Catholicism..
Jan Mark, (Janet Marjorie Brisland Mark), British children's author (born June 22, 1943, Welwyn, Hertfordshire, Eng.--died Jan. 15, 2006, Oxford, Eng.), was admired for the high quality of her prolific output of more than 80 works for children, ranging from picture books to young-adult novels, many of which were in the speculative-fiction genre. Mark won the Kestrel/Guardian competition for unpublished writers with her first book, Thunder and Lightnings (1976), which also received the Carnegie Medal for most distinguished children's book. She won a rare second Carnegie Medal for her..
Owen Felltham, (born 1602?--died Feb. 23, 1668, London), English essayist and poet, best known for his essays Resolves Divine, Morall, and Politicall, in which the striking images (some borrowed by the poet Henry Vaughan) are held to be more original than the ideas.Felltham wrote the first edition of Resolves (1623), which contained 100 essays, when he was 18. The second edition, Resolves, a Second Centurie, published in 1628, contained a further 100 essays. After becoming the Earl of Thomond's steward sometime before 1640, Felltham printed A brief Character of the Low Countries under the..
Leslie Charteris, original name (until 1928) Leslie Charles Bowyer Yin, (born May 12, 1907, Singapore--died April 15, 1993, Windsor, Berkshire, Eng.), author of highly popular mystery-adventure novels and creator of Simon Templar, better known as "the Saint" and sometimes called the "Robin Hood of modern crime." From 1928 some 50 novels and collections of stories about "the Saint" were published; translations existed in at least 15 languages.The son of a Chinese surgeon and his English wife, Charteris (who changed his name in 1928) briefly attended King's College, Cambridge (1926), and..
Alice Thomas Ellis, (Anna Margaret Lindholm Haycraft), British author and editor (born Sept. 9, 1932, Liverpool, Eng.--died March 8, 2005, London, Eng.), crafted spare, perceptive novels of middle-class domesticity under the pseudonym Alice Thomas Ellis. She also wrote magazine columns, most notably for the Catholic Herald and "Home Life" for The Spectator. In her novels--including The Sin Eater (1977) and The 27th Kingdom (1982), which was short-listed for the Booker Prize--she combined wit with melancholy and often incorporated supernatural elements. Her conservative Catholicism..
James Agate, in full James Evershed Agate, (born Sept. 9, 1877, Pendleton, Lancashire, Eng.--died June 6, 1947, London), English drama critic for the London Sunday Times (1923-47), book reviewer for the Daily Express, novelist, essayist, diarist, and raconteur. He is remembered for his wit and perverse yet lovable personality, the sparkle and fundamental seriousness of his dramatic criticism, and his racy, entertaining diary, called, characteristically, Ego, 9 vol. (1932-47).Educated at the Giggleswick and Manchester grammar schools, Agate went to London to become a journalist,..
Nevil Shute, original name Nevil Shute Norway, (born Jan. 17, 1899, Ealing, Middlesex, Eng.--died Jan. 12, 1960, Melbourne, Vic., Australia), English-born Australian novelist who showed a special talent for weaving his technical knowledge of engineering into the texture of his fictional narrative. His most famous work, On the Beach (1957), reflected his pessimism for humanity in the atomic age.Shute was educated at Shrewsbury, served in the British army late in World War I, and then completed his education at the University of Oxford. He became an aeronautical engineer, a job he combined..
Vernon Lee, pseudonym of Violet Paget, (born Oct. 14, 1856, Boulogne-sur-Mer, France--died Feb. 13, 1935, San Gervasio Bresciano, Italy), English essayist and novelist who is best known for her works on aesthetics.Paget was born to cosmopolitan and peripatetic intellectuals who in 1873 settled their family in Florence. In 1878 she determined to publish under a masculine pseudonym in order to be taken seriously, and in 1880 her collection of essays that had originally appeared in Fraser's Magazine was published under the name by which she came to be known both personally and professionally...
Renee Vivien, pseudonym of Pauline M. Tarn, (born 1877, London--died 1909, Paris), French poet whose poetry encloses ardent passion within rigid verse forms. She was an exacting writer, known for her mastery of the sonnet and of the rarely found 11-syllable line (hendecasyllable).Of Scottish and American ancestry, she was educated in England, but she lived nearly all her life in Paris and wrote in French. Her poetry was influenced by Keats and Swinburne; by Baudelaire; by Hellenic culture; by her extensive travels in Norway, Turkey, and Spain; and by her lesbianism. Like her contemporary..
Louis MacNeice, (born Sept. 12, 1907, Belfast, Ire.--died Sept. 3, 1963, London, Eng.), British poet and playwright, a member, with W.H. Auden, C. Day-Lewis, and Stephen Spender, of a group whose low-keyed, unpoetic, socially committed, and topical verse was the "new poetry" of the 1930s.After studying at the University of Oxford (1926-30), MacNeice became a lecturer in classics at the University of Birmingham (1930-36) and later in Greek at the Bedford College for Women, London (1936-40). In 1941 he began to write and produce radio plays for the British Broadcasting Corporation. Foremost..
Robert Bolt, in full Robert Oxton Bolt, (born Aug. 15, 1924, Sale, near Manchester, Eng.--died Feb. 20, 1995, near Petersfield, Hampshire), English screenwriter and dramatist noted for his epic screenplays.Bolt began work in 1941 for an insurance company, attended Victoria University of Manchester in 1943, and then served in the Royal Air Force and the army during World War II. After earning a B.A. in history at Manchester University in 1949, he worked as a schoolteacher until 1958, when the success of his play Flowering Cherry (London, 1957), a Chekhovian study of failure and self-deception,..
Nina Bawden, (Nina Mary Mabey), British author (born Jan. 19, 1925, Ilford, Essex, Eng.--died Aug. 22, 2012, London, Eng.), wrote acclaimed adults and children's books, several of which were inspired by incidents in her own life. Bawden's best-known work, Carrie's War (1973), was based on her experiences as a young evacuee in the Welsh countryside during World War II. The book won the Phoenix Award in 1993 and was twice filmed for television (1974 and 2004). Circles of Deceit (1987), which was short-listed for the Booker Prize, included a character inspired by her schizophrenic elder son, who..
Richard Hughes, (born April 19, 1900, Weybridge, Surrey, England--died April 28, 1976, near Harlech, Gwynedd, Wales), British writer whose novel A High Wind in Jamaica (1929; filmed 1965; original title The Innocent Voyage) is a minor classic of 20th-century English literature.Hughes was educated at Charterhouse School, near Godalming, Surrey, and at Oriel College, Oxford, from which he graduated in 1922, the same year in which his one-act play The Sister's Tragedy was produced in London. In 1924 his radio play Danger, believed to be the first radio play, was broadcast by the British Broadcasting..
Enid Bagnold, married name Lady Jones, (born October 27, 1889, Rochester, Kent, England--died March 31, 1981, London), English novelist and playwright who was known for her broad range of subject and style.Bagnold, the daughter of an army officer, spent her early childhood in Jamaica and attended schools in England and France. She served with the British women's services during World War I; her earliest books--A Diary Without Dates (1917) and The Happy Foreigner (1920)--describe her wartime experiences. In 1920 she married Sir Roderick Jones (1877-1962), who for 25 years was chairman of..
Robert Robinson, in full Robert Henry Robinson, (born December 17, 1927, Liverpool, England--died August 12, 2011, London), British journalist and broadcaster known for his intelligence and acerbic wit as the host of a wide variety of often simultaneous television and radio programs.After graduating from Exeter College, Oxford, Robinson began his career in the print media and was film critic for the London Sunday Graphic and a columnist for the Sunday Chronicle. He made his first television appearance in 1959 reviewing current cinema for the program Picture Parade. In 1962 he became the..
Sir Clement Raphael Freud, British celebrity, politician, author, and raconteur (born April 24, 1924, Berlin, Ger.--died April 15, 2009, London, Eng.), excelled in a wide range of careers, punctuated by his hangdog appearance, sharp intellect, and acerbic wit. Freud's immediate family emigrated in 1933 from Germany to England (though his grandfather Sigmund Freud did not join the family there until 1938). Freud apprenticed in cooking and hotel management, and after his World War II military service in the Royal Ulster Rifles, he became a chef, restaurateur, and cookery writer. The latter..
Thom Gunn, original name Thomson William Gunn, (born August 29, 1929, Gravesend, Kent, England--died April 25, 2004, San Francisco, California, U.S.), English poet whose verse is notable for its adroit, terse language and counterculture themes.The son of a successful London journalist, Gunn attended University College School in London and Trinity College in Cambridge, where he received a B.A. (1953) and M.A. (1958). In 1954 he moved to San Francisco, California, to study at Stanford University. He later taught at the University of California at Berkeley.Gunn's first volume of verse was..
Paul Scott, in full Paul Mark Scott, (born March 25, 1920, Palmers Green, Eng.--died March 1, 1978, London), British novelist known for his chronicling of the decline of the British occupation of India, most fully realized in his series of novels known as The Raj Quartet (filmed for television as The Jewel in the Crown in 1984).Scott left school at 16 to train as an accountant. He joined the British army in 1940 and was sent to India. From 1943 to 1946 he served with the Indian army, during which time he traveled throughout India, Burma (now Myanmar), and Malaya. Upon returning to London he worked in..
Margaret Forster, (born May 25, 1938, Carlisle, Cumberland, England--died February 8, 2016, London), British novelist and biographer whose books are known for their detailed characterizations.Forster studied at Somerville College, Oxford (B.A., 1960). Her novels generally feature ordinary heroines struggling with issues of love and family. Her first novel, Dames' Delight, was published in 1964. The following year she released her best-known work, Georgy Girl, the title character of which is a warmhearted ugly duckling looking for love in "Swinging Sixties" London. Forster also..
Stevie Smith, pseudonym of Florence Margaret Smith, (born Sept. 20, 1902, Hull, Yorkshire, Eng.--died March 7, 1971, London), British poet who expressed an original and visionary personality in her work, combining a lively wit with penetrating honesty and an absence of sentiment.For most of her life Smith lived with an aunt in the same house in Palmers Green, a northern London suburb. After attending school there, she worked, until the early 1950s, as a secretary in the London offices of a magazine publisher. She then lived and worked at home, caring for her elderly aunt who had raised her and..
Still in doubt about getting professional help? Give it a go!
Describe what you need done, and hire a suitable tutor for qualified help
Secure and confidential - your email will be used only for logging in; we'll never show it to anyone.
Nigel Dennis, in full Nigel Forbes Dennis, (born January 16, 1912, Bletchingley, Surrey, England--died July 19, 1989, Gloucestershire), English writer and critic who used absurd plots and witty repartee to satirize psychiatry, religion, and social behaviour, most notably in his novel Cards of Identity (1955).Dennis spent his early childhood in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and was educated, in part, at the Odenwald School in Germany. He moved to Britain and in 1930 wrote his first novel. Traveling to the United States in 1934, he worked for the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures..
Len Deighton, (born Feb. 18, 1929, Marylebone, London, Eng.), English author, journalist, film producer, and a leading writer of spy stories, his best-known being his first, The Ipcress File (1962), an account of deception and betrayal in an espionage agency.Deighton was educated at the Royal College of Art, London, after service in the Royal Air Force.In Funeral in Berlin (1964), The Billion Dollar Brain (1966), and An Expensive Place to Die (1967), he continued his blend of espionage and suspense. Like The Ipcress File, these novels centre on an unnamed hero and show Deighton's craftsmanship,..
Saki, pseudonym of H(ector) H(ugh) Munro, (born Dec. 18, 1870, Akyab, Burma [now Myanmar]--died Nov. 14, 1916, near Beaumont-Hamel, France), Scottish writer and journalist whose stories depict the Edwardian social scene with a flippant wit and power of fantastic invention used both to satirize social pretension, unkindness, and stupidity and to create an atmosphere of horror.Munro was the son of an officer in the Burma police. At the age of two he was sent to live with his aunts near Barnstaple, Devon, England. He later took revenge on their strictness and lack of understanding by portraying..
Christopher Nolan, Irish author (born Sept. 6, 1965, Mullingar, Ire.--died Feb. 20, 2009, Dublin, Ire.), suffered severe brain damage at birth that left him speechless and paralyzed with cerebral palsy, yet he nevertheless earned recognition as a gifted writer at an early age and at age 21 won the prestigious Whitbread Book of the Year award for Under the Eye of the Clock (1987). This autobiographical novel, written in the third person, tells the story of Joseph Meehan, whose life closely resembles Nolan's. His vivid memoir is never bitter, though it recounts some of the more traumatic moments..
Sarah Fielding, (born Nov. 8, 1710, East Stour, Dorset, Eng.--died April 9, 1768, Bath, Somerset), English author and translator whose novels were among the earliest in the English language and the first to examine the interior lives of women and children.Fielding was the younger sister of the novelist Henry Fielding, whom many readers believed to be the author of novels she published anonymously, although he denied these speculations in print. She lived with her brother following the death of his wife in 1744. That year she published her first book, The Adventures of David Simple, a novel whose..
Benjamin Robert Haydon, (born Jan. 25, 1786, Plymouth, Devon, Eng.--died June 22, 1846, London), English historical painter and writer, whose Autobiography has proved more enduring than his painting.The son of a Plymouth bookseller, Haydon went to London to attend the Royal Academy schools. He first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1807, but because of subsequent quarrels most of his later paintings were shown at private exhibitions. Haydon's ambition was to become the greatest historical painter England had ever known, and he went on to produce a series of stiffly heroic canvases on such..
Thomas Traherne, (born 1637, Hereford, Eng.--died 1674, Teddington), last of the mystical poets of the Anglican clergy, which included most notably George Herbert and Henry Vaughan.The son of a shoemaker, Traherne was educated at Brasenose College, Oxford, ordained in 1660, and presented in 1661 to the living of Credenhill, which he held until 1674. From 1669 to 1674 Traherne lived in London and Teddington, serving as chaplain to Sir Orlando Bridgeman, lord keeper from 1667 to 1672. That year he became minister of Teddington Church, where he was buried when he died two years later.The only..
Ellis Peters, pseudonym of Edith Mary Pargeter, (born Sept. 28, 1913, Horsehay, Shropshire, Eng.--died Oct. 14, 1995, Madelay, Shropshire), English novelist especially noted for two series of mysteries: one featuring medieval monastics in Britain and the other featuring a modern family.Peters worked as a pharmacist's assistant during the 1930s and served in the Women's Royal Navy Service from 1940 to 1945. Beginning in the mid-1930s she wrote historical fiction and crime novels, using her own name and several pseudonyms. Though her first crime novel, Murder in the Dispensary, was published..
David Storey, in full David Malcolm Storey, (born July 13, 1933, Wakefield, Yorkshire, England--died March 26, 2017, London), English novelist and playwright whose brief professional rugby career and lower-class background provided material for the simple, powerful prose that won him early recognition as an accomplished storyteller and dramatist.After completing his schooling at Wakefield at age 17, Storey signed a 15-year contract with the Leeds Rugby League Club; he also won a scholarship to the Slade School of Fine Art in London. When the conflict between rugby and painting became..
Nicholas Mosley, in full Sir Nicholas Mosley, 7th baronet, also called (from 1966) Lord Ravensdale, (born June 25, 1923, London, England--died February 28, 2017, London), British novelist whose work, often philosophical and Christian in theology, won critical but not popular praise for its originality and seriousness of purpose.Mosley graduated from Eton College (1942) and was an officer in the British army during World War II, after which he studied for one year at Balliol College, Oxford. In 1947 he became a full-time writer.During Mosley's long writing career, his work underwent several..
George Gissing, in full George Robert Gissing, (born November 22, 1857, Wakefield, Yorkshire, England--died December 28, 1903, Saint-Jean-de-Luz, France), English novelist, noted for the unflinching realism of his novels about the lower middle class.Gissing was educated at Owens College, Manchester, where his academic career was brilliant until he was expelled (and briefly imprisoned) for theft. His personal life remained, until the last few years, mostly unhappy. The life of near poverty and constant drudgery--writing and teaching--that he led until the mid-1880s is described..
Frederick Forsyth, (born August 25, 1938, Ashford, Kent, England), British author of best-selling thriller novels noted for their journalistic style and their fast-paced plots based on international political affairs and personalities.Forsyth attended the University of Granada, Spain, and served in the Royal Air Force before becoming a journalist. He was a reporter for the British newspaper the Eastern Daily Press from 1958 to 1961 and a European correspondent for the Reuters news agency from 1961 to 1965. He worked as a correspondent for the British Broadcasting Corporation until he..
Graham Swift, in full Graham Colin Swift, (born May 4, 1949, London, England), English novelist and short-story writer whose subtly sophisticated psychological fiction explores the effects of history, especially family history, on contemporary domestic life.Swift grew up in South London and was educated at Dulwich College, York University, and Queens' College, Cambridge (B.A., 1970; M.A., 1975). His first novel, The Sweet-Shop Owner (1980), juxtaposes the final day of a shopkeeper's life with memories of his life as a whole. Shuttlecock (1981) concerns a police archivist whose work..
Robert Fisk, (born July 12, 1946, Maidstone, Kent, England), British journalist and best-selling author known for his coverage of the Middle East.Fisk earned a B.A. in English literature at Lancaster University in 1968 and a Ph.D. in political science from Trinity College, Dublin, in 1985. He began his journalism career in 1972 as the Belfast correspondent of The Times of London, covering political turmoil in Northern Ireland. As the paper's Middle East correspondent from 1976 to 1987 he again reported on violent and tumultuous political events, such as the Lebanese civil war (1975-90),..
David Lodge, in full David John Lodge, (born January 28, 1935, London, England), English novelist, literary critic, playwright, and editor known chiefly for his satiric novels about academic life.Lodge was educated at University College, London (B.A., 1955; M.A., 1959), and at the University of Birmingham (Ph.D., 1967). His early novels, known mostly in England, included The Picturegoers (1960), about a group of Roman Catholics living in London; Ginger, You're Barmy (1962), Lodge's novelistic response to his army service in the mid-1950s; The British Museum Is Falling Down (1965), which..
Hugh Lofting, (born Jan. 14, 1886, Maidenhead, Berkshire, Eng.--died Sept. 26, 1947, Santa Monica, Calif., U.S.), English-born American author of a series of children's classics about Dr. Dolittle, a chubby, gentle, eccentric physician to animals, who learns the language of animals from his parrot, Polynesia, so that he can treat their complaints more efficiently. Much of the wit and charm of the stories lies in their matter-of-fact treatment of the doctor's bachelor household in Puddleby-on-the-Marsh, where his housekeeper, Dab-Dab, is a duck and his visitors and patients are animals.Lofting..
Jonathan Miller, in full Sir Jonathan Wolfe Miller, (born July 21, 1934, London, England--died November 27, 2019, London), English actor, director, producer, medical doctor, and man of letters noted for his wide-ranging abilities.Miller was the son of a psychiatrist and a novelist. He graduated from St. John's College, Cambridge, in 1956 and studied medicine at the University College School of Medicine of London University, from which he took a degree in medicine in 1959. Miller made his professional stage debut at the Edinburgh Festival in 1961 as actor and coauthor in the satirical review..
Arthur Ransome, in full Arthur Michell Ransome, (born January 18, 1884, Leeds, Yorkshire, England--died June 3, 1967, Cheadle, near Manchester), English writer best known for the Swallows and Amazons series of children's novels (1930-47), which set the pattern for "holiday adventure" stories.After studying science for only two terms at Yorkshire College, Leeds, Ransome pursued a literary career. His ambition was to be an essayist like William Hazlitt and to write books for children. In 1902 he moved to London, worked as an errand boy for publishers, and became a freelance writer of articles,..
Carol Ann Duffy, in full Dame Carol Ann Duffy, (born December 23, 1955, Glasgow, Scotland), British poet whose well-known and well-liked poetry engaged such topics as gender and oppression, expressing them in familiar, conversational language that made her work accessible to a variety of readers. In 2009-19 she served as the first woman poet laureate of Great Britain.Duffy lived in Glasgow, Scotland, until age six, when she and her family moved to Stafford, England. Her father, a fitter for an electric company, ran an unsuccessful bid for Parliament in 1983. Duffy grew up attending convent..
Stephen Fry, in full Stephen John Fry, (born August 24, 1957, London, England), British actor, comedian, author, screenwriter, and director, known especially for his virtuosic command and comical manipulation of the English language--in both speech and writing. He is especially admired for his ability to desacralize even the most serious or taboo of topics.Fry spent most of his childhood and youth at assorted boarding schools in England. At age seven he was sent far from his home in Norfolk to a boarding school where he soon earned a reputation as a troublemaker, which he retained--and, indeed,..
John Donne, (born sometime between Jan. 24 and June 19, 1572, London, Eng.--died March 31, 1631, London), leading English poet of the Metaphysical school and dean of St. Paul's Cathedral, London (1621-31). Donne is often considered the greatest love poet in the English language. He is also noted for his religious verse and treatises and for his sermons, which rank among the best of the 17th century.Life and careerDonne was born of Roman Catholic parents. His mother, a direct descendant of Sir Thomas More's sister, was the youngest daughter of John Heywood, epigrammatist and playwright. His..