Harold Bindloss


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(1866–1945). Born in Liverpool, Bindloss spent more than a decade at sea and in Britain's various colonies, particularly in Africa, then settled in London in 1896 and began a career as a journalist. His first published book was a non-fictional account of African life, In the Niger Country (1898), but thereafter he used his experiences as the basis for stories of colonial adventure. Amazingly prolific (publishing two or three novels a year throughout the first decades of the century) his yarns have convincing geographical detail, and thus he supplied the continuing demand for credible imperial romance with such books as The Concession-Hunters (1902): ‘Where Government official, scientific explorer, and capitalist's servant have followed and finished, the unknown, and sometimes rascally, adventurer has usually pointed the way.’ The adventurer in question, Alexander Cummings, discovers a mahogany forest on the west coast of Africa and persuades a British company to invest in it. The resulting story is down-market Conrad, with a full complement of desolate outposts, jungle-fever, steamers, and bullets-against-spears skirmishes. Bindloss juggled his frontiers skilfully: His Master Purpose (1903) has a Canadian setting, as does The Impostor (1905). The Liberationist (1908) returns to Portuguese West Africa, where red-faced Anglo-Saxon master purpose is contrasted with Iberian indolence. His other books include A Wide Dominion (1899), Ainslie's Ju-Ju (1900), The Gold Trail (1910), and The Wastrel (1913).

From The Oxford Companion to Edwardian Fiction in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Literature.

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