E. H. Visiak

Edward Harold Physick (20 July 1878 – 30 August 1972) was an English writer, known chiefly as a critic and authority on John Milton; also a poet and fantasy writer.[1] He used the pseudonym E. H. Visiak from 1910.


He was born in Ealing, London. Both his father, Edward James Physick (the younger), and his grandfather, Edward James Physick (the elder), were sculptors. His maternal uncle was W. H. Helm, writer and critic.

He went to Hitchin Grammar School (now Hitchin Boys School), and became a clerk with the Indo-European Telegraph Company. He contributed poetry to The New Age and Dora Marsden's Freewoman.

During World War I the poetry he wrote, in opposition to it, cost him his job. When conscription was introduced, he became a conscientious objector. After a short time teaching he became an independent scholar, living very quietly. During the 1930s he collaborated on some short stories, with John Gawsworth in particular.

A friend and enthusiast of the Scottish novelist David Lindsay, Visiak wrote three short macabre novels, The Haunted Island, Medusa and The Shadow, and the autobiography Life's Morning Hour. He provided an introductory note for Lindsay's novel A Voyage to Arcturus.

The Haunted Island (1st edition Elkin Mathews, 1910; reprint Peter Lund, 1946) features the adventures of Francis and Dick Clayton in the seventeenth century, who sail a seized ship to one of the Juan Fernandez Islands. They there fall into the hands of pirates, meet a ghost, and a wizard who rules over a colony of slaves. Ultimately they find a treasure.

The Shadow was not published separately but was incorporated in John Gawsworth's anthology Crimes, Creeps and Thrills (1936) (which also included Visiak's story "Medusan Madness").

Much of Visiak's supernatural work bears similarities to that of William Hope Hodgson since both writers were fascinated by the lure and power of the sea, which forms the focus of the majority of their literary work.

Critical reception

His novel Medusa: A Story of Mystery (1929) became popular in the 1960s. Mike Ashley describes Medusa as Visiak's "premier achievement".[1] Medusa was also included by horror historian Robert S. Hadji in his list of "unjustly neglected" horror novels.[2] An essay on the novel by Karl Edward Wagner appears in the anthology Horror: 100 Best Books (1988; revised edition 1992). China Miéville has also expressed admiration for Visiak's work.[3]



  • Buccaneer Ballads (1910)
  • Flints and Flashes (1911)
  • The Phantom Ship (1912)
  • The Battle Fiends (1916)


  • The Haunted Island (1910)
  • Medusa: A Story of Mystery (1929)
  • The Shadow (1936)

Literary criticism

  • Milton's Agonistes: a metaphysical criticism (1923)
  • Mirror of Conrad (1956)
  • The Portent of Milton: Some Aspects of His Genius (1958)
  • The Strange Genius of David Lindsay (1970; with J. B. Pick and Colin Wilson)

As editor

  • The Mask of Comus (1937)
  • Milton's Lament for Damon and his other Latin poems (1935; with Walter W. Skeat)
  • Richards' Shilling Selections from Edwardian Poets (1936)
  • Milton: Complete Poetry and Selected Prose, with English Metrical Translations of the Latin, Greek and Italian Poems (1938)


  • Life's Morning Hour (1969)

Critical study/anthology

  • Harrison-Barbet, Anthony (Introduction by Colin Wilson). E. H. Visiak: Writer and Mystic (2007), Nottingham, England: Paupers' Press ISBN 978-0-946650-92-7


  1. ^ a b "Visiak, E(dward) H(arold)," Mike Ashley in David Pringle, St. James guide to Horror, Ghost & Gothic Writers. London : St. James Press, 1998, ISBN 1558622063 (pp. 611-12).
  2. ^ R.S. Hadji, "13 Neglected Masterpieces of the Macabre", in Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone Magazine, July–August 1983. TZ Publications, Inc. (p. 62)[1]
  3. ^ "I like people like E. H. Visiak..." China Miéville profile in David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer, Year's Best Fantasy 3. New York, Harpercollins/Eos, ISBN 978-0-06-052180-6. (p. 339)

External links

Colin Wilson

Colin Henry Wilson (26 June 1931 – 5 December 2013) was an English writer, philosopher and novelist. He also wrote widely on true crime, mysticism and the paranormal, eventually writing more than a hundred books. Wilson called his philosophy "new existentialism" or "phenomenological existentialism", and maintained his life work was "that of a philosopher, and (his) purpose to create a new and optimistic existentialism".

Colin Wilson bibliography

This is a bibliography of works by Colin Wilson.

The lists below provide information on Colin Wilson's major works. Individual essays, short stories and other short items are not listed separately, but most are reproduced in the items below.

David Lindsay (novelist)

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

Hitchin Boys' School

Hitchin Boys' School is a state school secondary school and sixth form with academy status, located in Hitchin, Hertfordshire, England. The school currently has around 1,000 boys as pupils. The school is part of a consortium for sixth form teaching with other schools in the town whereby the classes are mixed with the pupils from Hitchin Girls' School and The Priory School.

John Gawsworth

Terence Ian Fytton Armstrong (29 June 1912 – 23 September 1970), better known as John Gawsworth (and also sometimes known as T. I. F. Armstrong), was a British writer, poet and compiler of anthologies, both of poetry and of short stories. He also used the pseudonym Orpheus Scrannel (alludes to Milton's Lycidas). He became the king of Redonda in 1947 and became known as King Juan I.

John Pick

John Barclay Pick (26 December 1921 – 25 January 2015), often credited as J. B. Pick, was a British poet, novelist, and biographer. He was a Quaker and a conscientious objector during the Second World War, serving in the Friends' Ambulance Unit and then as a coalminer.Pick was born in Leicester. He was married to Gene Pick with two children, both sons (Peter Pick and David Pick). Pick received his education at Sidcot School, a Quaker institution in Somerset. He attended Cambridge University for a year but left at the outbreak of Second World War to join the Friends' Ambulance Unit. In the 1980s he moved to live in Balmaclellan in Galloway.Pick was the author of the novels Out of the Pit, The Lonely Aren't Alone, Under the Crust and A Land Fit for Eros, the last co-authored with John Atkins. He also wrote a number of short stories, articles, poetry, and nonfiction works. The Last Valley was his first book to be published in the United States.

List of English writers (R-Z)

List of English writers lists writers in English, born or raised in England (or who lived in England for a lengthy period), who already have Wikipedia pages. References for the information here appear on the linked Wikipedia pages. The list is incomplete – please help to expand it by adding Wikipedia page-owning writers who have written extensively in any genre or field, including science and scholarship. Please follow the entry format. A seminal work added to a writer's entry should also have a Wikipedia page. This is a subsidiary to the List of English people. There are or should be similar lists of Irish, Scots, Welsh, Manx, Jersey, and Guernsey writers.

Abbreviations: AV = Authorized King James Version of the Bible, c. = circa; century; cc. = centuries; cleric = Anglican priest, fl. = floruit, originally = originally, RC = Roman Catholic, SF = science fiction, YA = young adult fiction

Weird fiction

Weird fiction is a subgenre of speculative fiction originating in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. John Clute defines weird fiction as a "Term used loosely to describe Fantasy, Supernatural Fiction and Horror tales embodying transgressive material". China Miéville defines weird fiction thus: "Weird Fiction is usually, roughly, conceived of as a rather breathless and generically slippery macabre fiction, a dark fantastic (“horror” plus “fantasy”) often featuring nontraditional alien monsters (thus plus “science fiction”)." Discussing the "Old Weird Fiction" published in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock says, "Old Weird fiction utilises elements of horror, science fiction and fantasy to showcase the impotence and insignificance of human beings within a much larger universe populated by often malign powers and forces that greatly exceed the human capacities to understand or control them." Weird fiction either eschews or radically reinterprets ghosts, vampires, werewolves, and other traditional antagonists of supernatural horror fiction. Weird fiction is sometimes symbolised by the tentacle, a limb-type absent from most of the monsters of European folklore and gothic fiction, but often attached to the monstrous creatures created by weird fiction writers such as William Hope Hodgson, M. R. James, and H. P. Lovecraft. Weird fiction often attempts to inspire awe as well as fear in response to its fictional creations, causing

commentators like Miéville to say that weird fiction evokes a sense of the numinous. Although "weird fiction" has been chiefly used as a historical description for works through the 1930s, the term has also been increasingly used since the 1980s, sometimes to describe slipstream fiction that blends horror, fantasy, and science fiction.

William Kean Seymour

William Kean Seymour (1887–1975) was a British writer, by profession a bank manager. He was a poet and critic, novelist, journalist and literary editor.

His first wife was the novelist and short story writer Beatrice Kean Seymour, who died in 1955. His second wife was the novelist and short story writer Rosalind Wade, with whom a had two sons, one of whom is the writer Gerald Seymour.

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