Tuesday, March 13, 2018

English novelist Sir Hugh Walpole wrote popular British romances in 1920s, 1930s

Hugh Walpole
It is the birthday of English novelist Sir Hugh Walpole (1884), whose  popular historical romance, Rogue Harries (1930), is set in 1730 in Cumberland, and tells the story of Francis Herries and her family who settle in a family estate there. Subsequent novels in the series, Judith Paris (1931), The Fortress (1932), and Vanessa (1933) bring the story of the family into the 20th century. Walpole believed the novels maintained the traditions and vitality of the English novel, though it explored nothing new. Walpole was a celebrated author in the 1920s and 1930s, and was in demand as a speaker in Britain and America. Early in his career, Henry James and Joseph Conrad, among others, encouraged his work. Virginia Woolf praised his attention to detail in his writing. In his novel, Cakes and Ale (1930), Somerset Maugham depicted him as superficial and ambitious. Kenneth Clark, T.S. Eliot and J.B. Priestly were among literary giants who sprung to Walpole's defense.  Two biographies, Walpole, Sir Hugh Seymour (1884-1941) (2004) and Hugh Walpole (1952), were published after his death.

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