(1912–72), English popular novelist and playwright, born in Greenwich, London. Many of his best-selling novels are family sagas with romantic overtones, often spanning the period between the First and Second World Wars and beyond. He often focused on middle-aged love between men and women, one of whom, at least, had already been married, or between a more experienced partner and a virtual novice. God Is an Englishman (1970) is perhaps his best novel, and its title was apparently not meant to be ironic. It chronicles the twists and turns of a marriage between an older man, Adam Swan, and his young, vulnerable wife, who strongly values her independence. Other novels include Cheap Day Return (1967; US title Return Journey, 1974), The Green Gauntlet (1968), and Long Summer Days (1974). His plays, which were more ephemeral than his novels, include Peace Comes to Peckham (1948), The Old Lady of Cheadle (1952), The Mayerling Affair (1958), and Wild Mink (1962). Napoleon in Love (1959), his best-known work of popular history, is one of several books he wrote about the French emperor. For My Own Amusement (1968) and Overture for Beginners (1970) are autobiographical works. See Sanford Sternlicht, R. F. Delderfield (1988).
From The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century Literature in English in Oxford Reference.
Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards).