Coulson Kernahan

(1858—1943) writer and promoter of compulsory military service

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(1858–1943) married Mrs Coulson Kernahan. Born in Ilfracombe, the son of a biblical scholar, he was educated at home and at St Albans School, and became a journalist and miscellaneous author. He worked as a reader at Ward, Lock & Co, from 1889, succeeding his wife's former husband as chief literary adviser in 1891; while there he discovered the work of Joseph Hocking. His first book was A Dead Man's Diary (1890), published serially in Lippincott's Magazine, of which he was the British editor. His religious works, God and the Ant (1895) and The Child, the Wise Man and the Devil (1896), had combined sales exceeding 100,000. Like W. P. Drury, William Le Queux, Kipling, and others, he was associated with the campaign for rearmament led by Field Marshal Earl Roberts (1832–1914); his book An Author in the Territorials (1908) emphasizes the superiority of military life to sport as a training for young men. The Red Peril (1908) is an invasion scare novel about the mutual hatred of Britain and Germany. He had some reputation as a poet, being included in A. H. Miles, The Poets and the Poetry of the Century (1898). He assisted Frederick Locker-Lampson (1821–1895) in compiling a once-popular anthology, Lyra Elegantiarum (1891). Several of his later works are memoirs of writers he had known; Celebrities: Little Stories about Famous Folk (1923) is an example; he also wrote against spiritualism and its proponents, including Arthur Conan Doyle. His sister Mary Kernahan was a contributor to magazines and author of nonsense verse.

From The Oxford Companion to Edwardian Fiction in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Literature.

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