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Hugh Walpole
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Author
    (March 13, 1884-June 1, 1941)
    Born in Auckland, New Zealand
    Wrote the novels ‘The Wooden Horse’ (1909), ‘Mr. Perrin and Mr. Traill’ (1911), ‘Fortitude’ (1913), ‘The Dark Forest’ (1916), ‘The Secret City’ (1919), ‘The Old Ladies’ (1924), ‘Portrait of a Man with Red Hair’ (1925), ‘Rogue Herries’ (1930), ‘The Sea Tower’ (1939), ‘The Bright Pavilions’ (1940), and ‘The Killer and the Slain’ (1942)
    Published the short story collections ‘The Golden Scarecrow’ (1915), ‘The Thirteen Travelers’ (1920), ‘All Soul’s Night’ (1933), ‘Head in Green Bronze and Other Stories’ (1938), and ‘Mr. Huffman and Other Stories’ (1948)
    Wrote the children’s books ‘Jeremy’ (1919), ‘Jeremy and Hamlet’ (1923), and ‘Jeremy at Crale’ (1927)
    Wrote screenplays for ‘David Copperfield’ (1935) and ‘Little Lord Fauntleroy’ (1936)
    Knighted for services to literature (1937)
    Descendant of author Horace Walpole
    Rather than confess to his clergyman father that he had lost his faith, he took a post as a lay preacher at the Mersey Mission in Liverpool. The head of the Mission upbraided him for his lack of commitment, and he left after six months, calling the experience ‘one of the great failures of my life.’
    He believed himself to be the reincarnation of Sir Walter Scott.
    He was caricatured by W. Somerset Maugham in ‘Cakes and Ale’ as Alroy Kear, a superficial novelist with more ambition than literary talent.
    When he accepted his knighthood, he noted, ‘Kipling, Hardy, Galsworthy all refused. But I’m not of their class.’
    P.G. Wodehouse wrote, ‘"I always think Hugh Walpole's reputation was two thirds publicity. He was always endorsing books and speaking at lunches and so on.’
    While serving with the Red Cross on the Russian front during World War I, he was awarded the Cross of St. George for single-handedly rescuing a wounded soldier.
    He made a memorable cameo appearance in ‘David Copperfield’ as a vicar whose boring sermon sends the title character to sleep.
    He provided financial help and encouragement to other authors, with Osbert Sitwell commenting, ‘I don't think there was any younger writer of any worth who has not at one time or another received kindness of an active kind, and at a crucial moment, from Hugh.’
    He was one of the few literary figures of the time willing to testify on behalf of Radclyffe Hall during her obscenity trial.
    Kenneth Clark called him ‘one of the three or four real patrons of art in this country, and of that small body he was perhaps the most generous and the most discriminating.’

Credit: C. Fishel


 
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