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Coningsby Dawson

(1883—1959)


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Maurice Hewlett (1861—1923) novelist and poet

 

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(1883–1959) married (1918) Helen Wright-Clark née Campbell. Born in High Wycombe, one of the six children of William James Dawson, he read history at Merton College Oxford, and emigrated to America with his parents in 1905. After a year at theological college in New York he decided against joining the Methodist ministry, and worked first as a journalist and then for the publisher George H. Doran 1910–13. He served with the Canadian forces in the First World War, and published several reminiscences of this experience. The House of the Weeping Woman (1908) is set in London, where a businessman's son wants to become a great writer; he lives with his friend Lancaster, an altruist who seeks to emulate Christ, keeping his house open to all comers. In the end Lancaster dies; and art is abandoned for Christianity. The Road to Avalon (1911) is a pseudo-medieval, Arthurian tale, apparently indebted to Maurice Hewlett, but forming a Christian allegory. The Garden Without Walls (1913), which Kunitz and Haycraft call ‘a somewhat sultry and poetically written romance, [which] was a best-seller’, describes the emotional adventures of Dante Condover, who is in love with a married American, Vi, has a pure stepsister, Ruthita, and desires a beautiful, amoral dancer, Fiesole. By the end he has lost all three, and analyses his problem as a conflict between his puritan conscience and his pagan temperament.

From The Oxford Companion to Edwardian Fiction in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Literature.


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