Friday, 22 December 2017

Arthur Machen: A Biography

Aidan Reynolds & William Charlton
The Richards Press

One of the real joys of the whole Wyrd Britain project I embarked on a few years back has been the discovery of a couple of authors of the wonderful that are ... well ... wonderful.  Algernon Blackwood is one, A.M. Burrage is too and Arthur Machen is most definitely another.

This biography, published in 1963 some 16 years after Machen's death, is a fairly dry affair but then I wasn't expecting an extravaganza of rock 'n' roll excess.

What we have is a fairly steady and affectionate retelling of his working life with a small amount of personal details and a fairly personal (on the author's parts) take on the relative merits of his work but little in the way of analysis.  This was entirely what I was expecting from the book and indeed what I was hoping for as I wanted something that would give me some background info on the man to help me when I came to read his classic novel 'The Hill of Dreams' - which is waiting here on the shelf - and for which I understand he drew heavily on his own life.*

As I said it proved to be a slightly dry and maybe a little pedestrian but ultimately an interesting overview of the life of a very intriguing man.

*I've since read the book (review to follow) and I wasn't misinformed.

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