9 thoughts on “Rupert Hart-Davis, Hugh Walpole

  1. I’ve read his Jeremy books, about a small boy growing up in a cathedral city. They are rather charming. Also Mr Perrin & Mr Thrale about two teachers. I tried Judith Paris, part of the Herries chronicles, but found it melodramatic and didn’t like it. It seems he could write about anything!


  2. Mr Perrin and Mr Traill, about two schoolmasters at odds, is back in print. It’s early enough that it was executed with a little more care. I tried one of the Herries novels in college and got nowhere with it. His output is a solemn reminder that once the tale-spinning has begun, for some writers, it’s easy enough to go on and on without producing anything lasting or valuable.

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  3. Worth reading are his bizarre novels, Portrait of a Man with Red Hair and The Killer and the Slain as well as Mr Perrin and Mr. Traill. I think he’s underrated and his reputation may have been damaged by Somerset Maugham in Cakes and Ale


  4. Nice to see Hugh Walpole being discussed again. As an avid collector of his I’ve got all of his books. Hugh Walpole is a very fascinating character and his writing is prolific, I’ve found there is much more to the man than is in the biography and since I’ve started collecting his books and associated ephemera I’ve been researching ephemera and some of his rare personal works. I’ve very recently started a blog to celebrate the life and works of Hugh Walpole at hughwalpole.com to start sharing some of my research.


  5. I know the name but couldn’t tell you the title of any of his books which – together with lack of availability – tells you that he has very much dropped out of our consciousness.. I always wonder why this happens with certain authors.


  6. I have followed Hart-Davies finger tips through the card-index archives in HRC Texas and can vouch for that. His formative time in Russia, exploration of Modernist theatre and the pleasures of Moscow and St Petersburg up to his witnessing of the 1917 revolution, the late Giannandrea Poesio, theatre critic and Russianist and I have written about in ‘The origins of the ‘Broadbrow’: Hugh Walpole, Konstantine Somov and Russian modernism’, Book History 2019. I am now writing about his film and broadcasting career. John Hartley writes persuasively about Walpole’s short stories, which, I have to say, I prefer to his novels. His symbolism and generic horror techniques make for some spine chilling moments. They are also available as audiobooks.

    He was an enthusiastic promoter of books and reading, one of the powerhouses behind The Book Society and a prolific contributor to periodicals about other peoples books, as well as a publisher’s reader for Martin Secker. Credit to Hart-Davies his correspondence is huge – or may be people just kept his letters, petulant, querulous, gossipy and often incredibly generous too, he needed to be the centre of a wide circle of literary acquaintances.

    There is a newly founded Hugh Walpole Society https://hughwalpole.org/ which is publishing about him.


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