Paul Creswick


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(1866–1947) married (1893) Maude Lavinia Morris. He was born in Kingston-on-Thames, the son of an art-dealer, and was great-nephew of the well-known Victorian actor William Creswick (1813–88). He went to South Lambeth Grammar School, and then, from the age of 16 (1882), worked for the Prudential Assurance Company, after 1910 as a departmental manager. He was a great supporter of its magazine, Ibis, to which he contributed fiction and verse. He took up writing in his spare time in 1890. He founded and edited a shortlived periodical The Windmill: An Illustrated Quarterly (1898) in which he published creepy, fragmentary, soft-centred, sub-Wildean pieces. There is a story of his in the Quarto (1897), which was started to publicize painters from the Slade. Of his The Temple of Folly, Edward Garnett (1868–1937), the publisher's reader, commented: ‘he has piled Anthony Hope on Stanley Weyman, put in a dash of Q and invented some brave mannerisms a la Crockett, and lo and behold we have a very typical story of adventure.’ Creswick wrote several historical romances for children: the boy hero of With Richard the Fearless (1904) discovers he is the son of Richard the Lionheart but keeps it a secret to marry Blondel's sister. In A Hand of Steel, or, The Great Thatchmere Mystery (1907) is another boy's book; large pieces of plot are taken from Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories. Idols of the Flesh (1909) is a melodrama about a publisher who falls in love with a working-class girl, who gives him up at his mother's demand. The atmosphere of squalid tragedy is characteristic of Creswick's adult fiction. He served in the First World War. On his retirement from the Prudential in 1925 he went to live in Hove, where he became a member of the town council.

From The Oxford Companion to Edwardian Fiction in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Literature.

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