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David Lindsay (novelist)

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David Lindsay


David Lindsay (novelist) wwwligottinetpicturephpalbumid319amppictureid4155

3 March 1876
Lewisham, England

Insurance Clerk, Writer

July 16, 1945, Hove, United Kingdom

A Voyage to Arcturus, The Haunted Woman, Devil's Tor, The Violet Apple & The Witch, A Voyage to Arcturus & The Ha

David Lindsay (3 March 1876 – 16 July 1945) was an English author now best remembered for the philosophical science fiction novel A Voyage to Arcturus (1920).


David Lindsay (novelist) David LindsayAbaire Music Theatre International


Lindsay was born into a middle-class Scottish Calvinist family in London, and was brought up partly in Jedburgh, where he had family background. He was educated at Colfe's School, Lewisham, and won a scholarship to university, but for financial reasons went into business, becoming an insurance clerk at Lloyd's of London. He was successful, but his career was interrupted by service in the World War I, at the age of 40. He first joined the Grenadier Guards, then the Royal Army Pay Corps, where he was promoted to Corporal.

After the war Lindsay moved to Cornwall with his young wife to become a full-time writer. A Voyage to Arcturus was published in 1920, but it was not a success, selling fewer than six hundred copies. This work has links with Scottish fantasists (for example, George MacDonald, whose work Lindsay was familiar with), and it was in its turn a central influence on C. S. Lewis's Out of the Silent Planet. Also, J. R. R. Tolkien said he read the book "with avidity", and characterised it as a work of philosophy, religion, and morality.

Lindsay attempted to write a more commercial novel with his next work The Haunted Woman (1922), but this was barely more successful than the Voyage. He continued to write novels, including the humorous potboiler The Adventures of Monsieur de Mailly, but after Devil's Tor in 1932 he found it increasingly difficult to get his work issued, and spent much of his time on his last work The Witch which was not published in his lifetime.

He and his wife opened a boarding house in Brighton, but they did not prosper and their marriage underwent considerable strain. The house was damaged by the first bomb to fall on Brighton in the World War II and Lindsay, who was in his bath at the time, never recovered from the shock. His death from an infection resulting from an abscess in his tooth was unrelated to the bomb.


A Voyage to Arcturus has been described as the major "underground" novel of the 20th century. The secret of Lindsay's apparent originality as a novelist lies in his metaphysical assumptions. Like the gnostics he seems to have viewed the "real" world as an illusion, which must be rejected in order to perceive genuine "truth". In The Haunted Woman, the two main characters discover a room which seems to exist only some of the time; while they are there together, they can see more clearly and express themselves honestly. In The Violet Apple, the fruit of the title is of the species eaten by Adam and Eve, and Lindsay's description of its effects is a startling, lyrical episode in a novel which is otherwise concerned with rather ordinary matters.

Lindsay's austere vision of "true reality" seems to have been influenced by Norse mythology. After being out of print for many decades, Lindsay's work has become increasingly available. In 1971, A Voyage to Arcturus was produced as a 35mm feature film by William J. Holloway. It was the first film to be funded by a National Endowment for the Arts grant and has recently been re-released. Harold Bloom has also taken an interest in Lindsay's life and career, going so far as to publish a novel, The Flight to Lucifer, which he thought of as a Bloomian misprision, an homage and deep revision of A Voyage to Arcturus. Bloom, however, has conceded that his late-comer imitation is overwhelmed by Lindsay's great original.


David Lindsay (novelist) Wikipedia

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