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David Lindsay Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

A Voyage to Arcturus (1920)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Haunted Woman (1922)Description / Buy at Amazon
Sphinx (1923)Description / Buy at Amazon
Adventures of Monsieur de Mailly (1926)Description / Buy at Amazon
Devil's Tor (1932)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Violet Apple & The Witch (1976)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

Tales Before Tolkien(2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
Shoreline of Infinity 3(2016)Description / Buy at Amazon

A Scottish author, the writer David Lindsay is well known and equally well regarded for the contributions to the genre of science-fiction that he made during his lifetime as a writer, with his best known work probably being A Voyage To Arcturus, written in 1920, a book which has become remembered for since his death. Writing a number of other works, he didn’t really get the recognition he so deserved during his lifetime, but has managed to since, with a large following built behind his work now. Philosophical in nature his work also came to be well regarded by such peers and contemporaries as J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis.

Early and Personal Life

Born in London on the third of March in 1876 to Scottish Calvinist middle-class family, whilst also being partly raised in Jedburgh as well, providing him with a diverse and unique upbringing, letting him have a variety of different experiences and perspectives. All of this was to feature heavily in his writing allowing him to gain an even deeper level of insight than he would have had otherwise. He was also to start developing his passion for both reading and writing from an early age as well, giving him a strong foundation with which to steadily build his writing career up from over the years.

Getting educated in Lewisham at Colfe’s School, he soon won a scholarship to study at university, but was unfortunately prevented from doing so as he needed to go into business for financial reasoning that meant he needed to work in the Lloyd’s of London as an insurance clerk for some time. This proved to be a highly successful and lucrative career path for some years, but he soon was disrupted by his service during the first world war. Taking time out he was called away to join up the Grenadier Guards, followed by the Royal Army Pay Corps, where he also served a stint.

Coming out of the army he went to live in Cornwall with his wife and it was during this time that he attempted to become a full-time writer, with his first novel A Voyage To Arcturus being released in 1920 to a small and very limited release, as he only managed to sell just under six hundred copies. Each subsequent novel also faced the same sort of reception despite his best efforts to play to a mainstream crowd and, soon enough, went onto open up a Brighton based boarding house with his wife. In time though his first novel would go on to become heralded as a great underground classic of the twentieth century, with many citing his novel as their big inspiration.

It was on the 16th of July, 1945, that he died having had a tooth infection due to an abscess occurring within his tooth. During his time in Brighton he also had a bomb fall on his house during the second world war, a tragedy that caused his wife to suffer from lifelong shock after being in the bath at the time. Whilst his life may not have been so successful in terms of recognition, his legacy that he left behind was an important one.

Writing Career

Whilst he made his debut with the novel A Voyage To Arcturus in 1920, he later wrote the novel The Haunted Woman in 1922 in an attempt to be more appealing to the general public. This didn’t work as the public were yet to catch up to his work, with him releasing another three books during his lifetime, and another two that were released posthumously after his death. Many important writers cited his work as a strong influence upon their own, leading to him becoming one of the most important and influential writer within his relatively new field.

Largely credited as being one of the, if not the major Scottish fantasist of the twentieth century, he incorporated a number of different practices into his work such as magical realism and surrealism. These were relatively new areas for the time, hence being part of the reason why he would not achieve the success he so deserved during his lifetime. It is his legacy that he has provided though, something which still lives on today, as his influence is clear to see still in many up and coming writers, something which will continue for some time to come.

A Voyage to Arcturus

First brought out in 1920, this was to be debut release from David Lindsay as a full-time writer, published through the Methuen and Company Ltd label. Portraying many of Lindsay’s own philosophical musings and in-depth thoughts, it seeks to provide a profound and metaphorical journey discovering the true nature of life itself. Whilst it incorporates a number of different genres, such as science-fiction and fantasy, it successfully works to meld them all together so Lindsay can articulate his own feelings essentially.

Starting with Maskull as its protagonist and driving narrative device, it sees him accepting an invitation to journey to Tormance following a seance. Along the way he meets a number of life changing people as he passes through different lands, each one containing only a couple of inhabitants within. Seeking the truth about the nature of the universe though, he looks to make his way there and find more on the origin of all life itself and how it is perceived. The lands themselves have different types too, and the story largely acts as an interesting conduit into some deeper and more intricate concepts.

The Haunted Woman

Hoping to be more easy going than his previous novel, David Lindsay found difficulty yet again due to the still dense nature of his strong second novel. Originally published in 1922 it still contained many of his original ideas embedded in the overall nature, providing his readers with an even greater insight into his own mind. Following along the lines of a fantasy themed novel, it still retains a somewhat ethereal ambiance throughout, something which Lindsay clearly relishes with in his writing. The story itself features the character of Isabel Loment, as she comes across a room where time seemingly ceases to exist, as she partakes in a relationship with the owner of home containing it, Henry Judge. Whilst she is set to be married to the bland Marshall Stokes, she finds that this alternative relationship is completely forgotten when they leave the mysterious room. The relationship itself seems so articulate and profound, but things soon start to fall apart along with her entire world and life as she knows it.

Book Series In Order » Authors » David Lindsay

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