M. P. Shiel

Matthew Phipps Shiell (21 July 1865 – 17 February 1947), known as M. P. Shiel, was a British writer. His legal surname remained "Shiell" though he adopted the shorter version as a de facto pen name.

He is remembered mostly for supernatural horror and scientific romances. His work was published as serials, novels, and as short stories. The Purple Cloud (1901, revised 1929) remains his most famous and often reprinted novel.

M. P. Shiel
M. P. Shiel
BornMatthew Phipps Shiell
21 July 1865
Died17 February 1947 (aged 81)
Alma materHarrison College, Barbados
King's College, London
SpousesCarolina "Lina" Garcia-Gómez
Esther Lydia Jewson (née Furley)
ChildrenDolores Katherine "Lola" Shiell (by 1st marriage)
Ada Phipps Seward (illegitimate)
Caesar Kenneth Price/Shiel (illegitimate)[1]
RelativesPriscilla Ann Blake
Matthew Dowdy Shiell


Caribbean background

Born on the island of Montserrat in the West Indies, Matthew Phipps Shiell's mother was Priscilla Ann Blake; his father was Matthew Dowdy Shiell, most likely the illegitimate child of an Irish Customs officer and a slave woman.[2][3] Shiell was educated at Harrison College, Barbados.[4]

Early years in the UK

Shiell moved to England in 1885, eventually adopting Shiel as his pen name. After working as a teacher and translator he broke into the fiction market with a series of short stories published in The Strand and other magazines. His early literary reputation was based on two collections of short stories influenced by Poe published in the Keynote series by John LanePrince Zaleski (1895) and Shapes in the Fire (1896) – considered by some critics to be the most flamboyant works of the English decadent movement.[5] His first novel was The Rajah's Sapphire (1896),[6] based on a plot by William Thomas Stead, who probably hired Shiel to write the novel.[7]

Serial publication

Shiel's popular reputation was made by another work for hire. This began as a serial contracted by Peter Keary (1865–1915), of C. Arthur Pearson Ltd, to capitalise on public interest in a crisis in China (which became known as the Scramble for Concessions.)[8]

The Empress of the Earth ran weekly in Short Stories from 5 February – 18 June 1898. The early chapters incorporated actual headline events as the crisis unfolded, and proved wildly popular with the public. Pearson responded by ordering Shiel to double the length of the serial to 150,000 words, but Shiel cut it back by a third for the book version, which was rushed out that July as The Yellow Danger.

Some contemporary critics described this novel as a fictionalisation of Charles Henry Pearson's National Life and Character: A Forecast (1893). Shiel's Asian villain, Dr. Yen How, has been cited as a possible basis for Sax Rohmer's much better-known Dr. Fu Manchu.[9] Dr. Yen How was probably based on the Chinese revolutionary Sun Yat-sen (1866–1925), who had first gained fame in England in 1896 when he was kidnapped and imprisoned at the Chinese embassy in London until public outrage pressured the British government to demand his release.[10] Similar kidnapping incidents occurred in several of Shiel's subsequent novels.[11] The Yellow Danger was Shiel's most successful book during his lifetime, going through numerous editions, particularly when the Boxer Rebellion of 1899–1901 seemed to confirm his fictional portrayal of Chinese hostility to the West. Shiel himself considered the novel hackwork, and seemed embarrassed by its success. It was a likely influence on H. G. Wells in The War in the Air (1908),[12] Jack London in The Unparalleled Invasion (1910),[13] and others.

His next novel was another serial contracted by Pearson to tie into the Spanish–American War. Contraband of War ran in Pearson's Weekly 7 May – 9 July 1898, again incorporating headline events into the serial as the war progressed. It was published as a book the following year.

Genre innovator

Famous fantastic mysteries 194906
The Purple Cloud was reprinted in the June 1949 issue of Famous Fantastic Mysteries

Around 1899–1900 Shiel conceived a loosely linked trilogy of novels which were described by David G. Hartwell in his introduction to the Gregg Press edition of The Purple Cloud as possibly the first future history series in science fiction. Each was linked by similar introductory frame purporting to show that the novels were visions of progressively more distant (or alternative?) futures glimpsed by a clairvoyant in a trance. Notebook I of the series had been plotted at least by 1898, but would not see print until published as The Last Miracle (1906). Notebook II became The Lord of the Sea (1901), which was recognised by contemporary readers as a critique of private ownership of land based on the theories of Henry George.[14]

Shiel's lasting literary reputation is largely based on Notebook III of the series which was serialised in The Royal Magazine in abridged form before book publication that autumn as The Purple Cloud (1901). The Purple Cloud is a landmark text of early British science fiction, a dystopian, post-apocalytic novel that tells the tale of Adam Jeffson, who, returning alone from an expedition to the North Pole, discovers that a worldwide catastrophe has left him as the last man alive.[15] Demonstrative of the speculative, philosophical impulse that pervades Shiel's work, The Purple Cloud engages with Victorian developments in the sciences of geology and biology, tending to home in on their dark sides of geological cataclysm and racial decline in keeping with what has been termed the fin-de-siècle 'apocalyptic imaginary', while ultimately putting forward a positive if unorthodox view of catastrophe.[16]

Shiel had married a young Parisian-Spaniard, Carolina Garcia Gomez in 1898, who was the model for a character in Cold Steel (1900) and several short stories. (The Welsh author and mystic Arthur Machen and decadent poet Theodore Wratislaw were among the wedding guests.)[17] They separated around 1903 and his daughter was taken to Spain after Lina's death around 1904. Shiel blamed the failure of the marriage on the interference of his mother-in-law, but money was at the heart of their problems. Shiel was caught between his desire to write high art and his need to produce more commercial fare. When his better efforts did not sell well, he was forced to seek more journalistic work, and began to collaborate with Louis Tracy on a series of romantic mystery novels, some published under Tracy's name, others under the pseudonyms Gordon Holmes and Robert Fraser. The last of their known collaborations appeared in 1911.[18]

Edwardian times

In 1902 Shiel turned away from the more dramatic future war and science fiction themes which had dominated his early serial novels and began a series which have been described as his middle period romantic novels. The most interesting was the first, serialised as In Love's Whirlpool in Cassell's Saturday Journal, 14 May – 3 September 1902, and published in book form as The Weird o'It (1902). Shiel later described it as a "true Bible or Holy Book" for modern times, in which he had attempted to represent "Christianity in a radical way." This novel was far from hackwork, and besides apparent autobiographical elements (including a minor character based on Ernest Dowson with whom Shiel is rumoured to have roomed briefly in the 1890s), contains some of his finest writing, but it was not reprinted in England, nor formally published in America.[19]

Shiel returned to contemporary themes in The Yellow Wave (1905), an historical novel about the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–1905. The novel was a recasting of Romeo and Juliet into the ongoing war with leading families of the two nations standing in for the feuding Capulets and Montagues of Shakespeare's play. Shiel modelled his hero on Yoshio Markino (1874–1956), the Japanese artist and author who lived in London from 1897–1942.[20] In February 1904 Shiel had offered to Peter Keary to go to the front as a war correspondent with letters of introduction from Markino.[21] He may have met Markino through Arthur Ransome who dedicated Bohemia in London (1907) to Shiel and used him as the model for the chapter on "The Novelist."[22]

Faced with declining sales of his books, Shiel tried to recapture the success of The Yellow Danger when China and Sun Yat-sen returned to the headlines during the Chinese Revolution of 1911–1912.[23] Though a better novel in most respects, The Dragon (1913), serialised earlier that year as To Arms! and revised in 1929 as The Yellow Peril, failed to catch the public's interest. As the hero of the story had oddly predicted, Shiel turned away from novels for ten years.


It had been popularly believed that Shiel had spent time in prison for fraud. However, it was discovered in 2008 that in 1914 Shiel had actually been convicted under the Criminal Law Amendment Act (1885) for 'indecently assaulting and carnally knowing' his 12-year-old de facto stepdaughter.[24] Unrepentant, Shiel served sixteen months hard labour in prison, complaining to the Home Secretary about the law, though he assured his publisher Grant Richards in a letter that he had been treated well. Shiel's discussion of his crime is disingenuous; he conceals from Richards the identity of his victim in addition to misleading him about her age. Instead he refers to 'love-toyings' with an older girl on the cusp of maturity. Nor does Shiel mention the fact that he had known both the girl and her mother's sisters long before his conviction, perhaps intimately, as contemporary letters from one of the sisters to Shiel suggests. Court records described Shiel as a 'clerk and metal worker', though one of the witnesses was a metal worker and the records may have transposed some information.[25] He appealed the conviction unsuccessfully.

It is too early to assess whether this new revelation about Shiel will have an impact upon his literary legacy. However, as Macleod argues in her essay, young heroines abound in Shiel's novels, where they are romanticised, idealised and sexualised through the eyes of the male author. She cites the example of the two-thousand-year-old Rachel in This Above All (1933), who is portrayed as part "child," part "harlot," part "saint", since she still inhabits the young girl's body she possessed when raised from the dead and thus rendered immortal by the Biblical Christ. Lazarus (also a 2,000-year-old immortal for the same reason) is warned ruefully against her: “If Rachel and you co-habit without some marriage-rite, you may see yourself in prison here in Europe, since it cannot be believed that she is as old as fourteen.”[26]

Georgian times

Over the next decade Shiel wrote five plays, dabbled in radical politics and translated at least one, though probably more, pamphlets for the Workers Socialist Federation.[27] In 1919 he married his second wife, Esther Lydia Jewson (née Furley) (August 16, 1872 – February 16, 1942).[28] Esther Lydia's first husband was William Arthur Jewson (July 12, 1856 - April 26, 1914), a prominent musician who had been born in London and died of a heart attack. Shiel and Esther travelled in Italy in the early 1920s, probably living largely off her income, and separated around 1929, but did not divorce. The separation was precipitated by Shiel's sexual interest and possible abuse of Esther Lydia's young female relatives. Shiel then lived at Harold's Cross, close to Esther Lydia's house, 'The Kiln' at Wisborough Green, East Sussex.

He returned to writing around 1922 and between 1923 and 1937 published a further ten or so books, as well as thorough revisions of five of his older novels. Shiel spent most of his last decade working on a "truer" translation of the Gospel of Luke with extensive commentary. He finished it, but half of the final draft was lost after his death in Chichester.

In 1931 Shiel met a young poet and bibliophile, John Gawsworth, who befriended him and helped him obtain a Civil List pension. Gawsworth talked Shiel into allowing him to complete several old story fragments, sometimes roping literary friends like Oswell Blakeston into helping. The results were largely unsuccessful, but Gawsworth used them as filler in various anthologies with his name prominently listed as co-author.[29]

Redonda: the legend of the kingdom

As King Felipe, Shiel was purportedly the king of Redonda, a small uninhabited rocky island in the West Indies, situated a short distance northwest of the island of Montserrat, where Shiel was born.[30]

The Redonda legend was probably created out his imagination by Shiel himself, and was first mentioned publicly in a 1929 booklet advertising the reissue of four of his novels by Victor Gollancz. According to the story Shiel told, he was crowned King of Redonda on his 15th birthday in 1880. However, there is little evidence that Shiel took these claims seriously, and his biographer, Harold Billings, speculates that the story may have been an intentional hoax foisted on the gullible press.[31] At this late date, either verifying or discrediting the story may be impossible.

On his death John Gawsworth became both his literary executor and his appointed heir to the "kingdom". Gawsworth took the legend of Redonda to heart. He never lost an opportunity to further elaborate the tale and spread the story to the press.[32]

According to John Sutherland's 'Lives of the Novelists', "the excessively minor poet John Gawsworth" kept the ashes of M. P. Shiel "in a biscuit tin on his mantelpiece, dropping a pinch as condiment into the food of any particularly honoured guest".


Excluding the collaborations with Tracy, Shiel published over 30 books, including 25 novels and various collections of short stories, essays and poems. Arkham House issued two posthumous collections, Xelucha and Others (1975) and Prince Zaleski and Cummings King Monk (1977). The Purple Cloud remains his most famous and often reprinted novel. It has been variously described as both a neglected masterpiece and the best of all Last Man novels.[33] It was credited as the loose inspiration for the 1959 MGM film, The World, the Flesh and the Devil, starring Harry Belafonte, Inger Stevens, and Mel Ferrer.[34] Stephen King cited it as an influence on his novel The Stand.[35]

A number of the short stories continue to be reprinted,[36][37][38][39][40] but many of his other novels, including the middle period romantics, have been nearly forgotten.

As of January 1, 2018, all of the works published during Shiel's lifetime have entered the public domain in the United Kingdom and all other countries with a copyright term of Life of the Author plus 70 years.



  • The Rajah's Sapphire (1896), with uncredited W. T. Stead[41]
  • An American Emperor: The Story of the Fourth Estate of France (1897), uncredited, with Louis Tracy[41]
  • The Yellow Danger (1898); full title The Yellow Danger; Or, what Might Happen in the Division of the Chinese Empire Should Estrange All European Countries, serialised 1898 as The Empress of the Earth: The Tale of the Yellow War; issued in the U.S. 1898 as China in Arms, 1899 revised as The Yellow Danger: The Story of the World's Greatest War[41]
  • Contraband of War (1899)
  • Cold Steel (1899, revised 1929)
  • The Man-Stealers (1900)
  • The Lord of the Sea (1901, revised 1924), plotted as Notebook II
  • The Purple Cloud (1901, revised 1929), serialised 1901 as Notebook III
  • The Weird o' It (1902), serialised 1902 as In Love's Whirlpool
  • Unto the Third Generation (1903)
  • The Evil That Men Do (1904)
  • The Lost Viol (1905)
  • The Yellow Wave (1905) – non-fantastic, based on the contemporary Russo-Japanese War[41]
  • The Last Miracle (1906, revised 1929), plotted by 1898 as Notebook I
  • The White Wedding (1908)
  • The Isle of Lies (1909)
  • This Knot of Life (1909)
  • The Dragon (1913), serialised 1913 as To Arms!, revised as The Yellow Peril (1929) – another Yellow Peril fiction[41]
  • Children of the Wind (1923)
  • How the Old Woman Got Home (1927)
  • Dr. Krasinski's Secret (1929)
  • The Black Box (1930)
  • Say Au R'Voir But Not Goodbye (1933)
  • This Above All (1933), reissued as Above All Else (1943)
  • The Young Men Are Coming! (1937)
  • The New King (1981), alternately entitled The Splendid Devil, written c. 1934–45

Short story collections

  • Prince Zaleski (1895)
    • "The Race of Orven", "The Stone of the Edmundsbury Monks", "The S.S."
  • Shapes in the Fire: Being a Mid-Winter's Nights Entertainment in Two Parts and an Interlude (1896)
    • "Xélucha", "Maria in the Rose-Bush", "Vaila", "Premier and Maker (An Essay)", "Tulsah", "The Serpent Ship" (poem), "Phorfor"
  • The Pale Ape and Other Pulses (1911)
    • "The Pale Ape", "The Case of Euphemia Raphash", the three-part "Cummings King Monk", "A Bundle of Letters", "Huguenin's Wife", "Many a Tear", "The House of Sounds" (revision of "Vaila"), "The Spectre Ship", "The Great King", "The Bride"
  • Here Comes the Lady (1928)
    • "The Tale of Hugh and Agatha", "The Tale of Henry and Rowena", "The Tale of Gaston and Mathilde", "No. 16 Brook Street", "The Tale of One in Two", "The Tale of Charley and Barbara", "The Bell of St. Sépulcre", "The Primate of the Rose", "The Corner in Cotton", "Dark Lot of One Saul", "The Tale of Adam and Hannah"
  • The Invisible Voices (1935)
    • "The Panel Day", "The Adore Day", "The Rock Day (The Vulture's Rock)", "The Diary Day", "The Cat Day", "The Lion Day", "The Place of Pain Day", "The Vengeance Day", "The Venetian Day", "The Future Day", "The Goat Day"
  • The Best Short Stories of M. P. Shiel (1948)
    • "The Race of Orven", "The Stone of the Edmundsbury Monks", "The S.S.", "Xélucha", "Vaila", "Tulsah", "Phorfor", "Huguenin's Wife", "Monk Wakes an Echo", "The Bride", "Dark Lot of One Saul", "The Primate of the Rose"
  • Xelucha and Others (1975)
  • Prince Zaleski and Cummings King Monk (1977)
  • The Empress of the Earth; The Purple Could; and Some Short Stories (1979)
    • The Works of M. P. Shiel Vol. I, Writings – offprints of the original periodical editions, with period illustrations; The Empress of the Earth was the original serial version of The Yellow Danger; stories from 1893–1911: "Guy Harkaway's Substitute", "The Eagle's Crag", "A Puzzling Case", "Huguenin's Wife", "The Case of Euphemia Raphash", "Wayward Love", "The Spectre Ship", "The Secret Panel", "A Night in Venice", "The Battle of Waterloo", "Ben", "The Bride", "Many a Tear", "Miche", "A Good Thing"
  • Xélucha and The Primate of the Rose (1994)
    • Xélucha, The Primate of the Rose
  • The House of Sounds and Others (2005)
    • "Xélucha", "The Pale Ape", "The Case of Euphemia Raphash", "Huguenin's Wife", "The House of Sounds", "The Great King", "The Bride", "The Purple Cloud", "Vaila"

Short stories

  • "The Race of Orven" (1895)
  • "The S.S." (1895)
  • "The Stone of the Edmundsbury Monks" (1895)
  • "Xélucha" (1896)
  • "Vaila" (1896)
  • "Huguenin's Wife" (1895)
  • "A Shot at the Sun" (1903)
  • "The Case of Euphemia Raphash" (1911)
  • "The Pale Ape" (1911)
  • "The House of Sounds" (1911)
  • "The Great King" (1911)
  • "The Bride (short story)|The Bride" (1911)
  • "The Place of Pain" (1914)
  • "The Primate of the Rose" (1928))
  • "The Flying Cat" (1932)
  • "A Night in Venice" (1932)
  • "Dark Lot of One Saul" (1933)
  • "The Globe of Gold-Fish" (1934)
  • "How Life Climbs" (1934)
  • "The Purchester Instrument" (1935)
  • "The Death Dance" (1935)
  • "At the Eleventh House" (1935)
  • "The 'Master'" (1936)
  • "Dr. Todor Karadji" (1936)
  • "The Mystery of The Red Road" (1936)
  • "The Hanging of Ernest Clark (1936)

Miscellaneous works

  • Richard's Shilling Selections from Edwardian Poets – M. P. Shiel (1936)
  • Science, Life and Literature (1950), essays, with a Foreword by John Gawsworth

See also


  1. ^ M. P. (Matthew Phipps) Shiel, 1865-1947, Literary File, Photography Collection.
  2. ^ MATTHEW DOWDY SHIELL (1824–1888).
  3. ^ MATTHEW PHIPPS SHIEL (1865-1947)
  4. ^ Billings, 2005.
  5. ^ Brian Stableford, Introduction to Tartarus Press reprint of Shapes in the Fire.
  6. ^ Georges T. Dodds, (review) of The Rajah's Sapphire.
  7. ^ John D. Squires, "Shiel's Collaborators I: William Thomas Stead (1849–1912)".
  8. ^ Billings 2010, 54.
  9. ^ Precursors of Fu Manchu, The Page of Fu Manchu.
  10. ^ Sun Yat Sen, Kidnapped in London, Bristol: J. W. Arrowsmith & London: Simpkin, Marshall (1897).
  11. ^ John D. Squires, "The Dragon's Tale: M. P. Shiel on the Emergence of Modern China". Collected in Morse (1983). Pp. 267–68.
  12. ^ Squires, "The Dragon's Tale", 299.
  13. ^ Yorimitsu Hashimoto, "Germs, Body-Politics and Yellow Peril: Relocation of Britishness in The Yellow Danger," Australasian Victorian Studies Journal (Vol. 9, 2003,) 56.
  14. ^ R. D. Mullen, (review of Arno Press edition of The Lord of the Sea), retrieved 2010-10-22 from Selected Authors of Supernatural Fiction (alangullette.com/lit). Excerpt from R.D. Mullen, "The Arno Reprints", Science Fiction Studies 6, vol. 2, part 2 (July 1975), pp. 179 and 186–87.
  15. ^ Ailise Bulfin, "One Planet One Inhabitant: Mass Extermination as Progress in M. P. Shiel's The Purple Cloud", Trinity College Dublin, Journal of Postgraduate Research (2008) 7 JPR, 101–18.]
  16. ^ Ailise Bulfin, '“The End of Time”: M. P. Shiel and the “Apocalyptic Imaginary”', Victorian Time: Technologies, Standardizations, Catastrophes, Trish Ferguson (ed.), (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), 155.
  17. ^ Billings 2010, 84.
  18. ^ John D. Squires, "A Whiff of Collaboration: The Tracy-Shiel Connection".
  19. ^ Squires, "A Whiff of Collaboration".
  20. ^ Squires, "The Dragon's Tale", 276.
  21. ^ Billings 2010, 173.
  22. ^ Roger Dobson, "Arthur Ransome's Bohemia in London" Archived 26 July 2009 at the Wayback Machine, Lost Club Journal.
  23. ^ Cantlie & Jones, Sun Yat Sen and the Awakening of China, NY & London: Fleming H. Revell Co, 1912.
  24. ^ Kirsten MacLeod, 'M. P. Shiel and the Love of Pubescent Girls: The Other “Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name”', University of Alberta.
  25. ^ Billings 2010, 285.
  26. ^ MacLeod, p. 370.
  27. ^ Billings 2010, 307–08.
  28. ^ Billings 2010, 300.
  29. ^ Steve Eng, "John Gawsworth ... Pioneer Collaborator".
  30. ^ John D. Squires, "Of Dreams and Shadows: An Outline of the Redonda Legend with Some Notes on Various Claimants to its Uncertain Throne".
  31. ^ Billings 2005, 83–85.
  32. ^ John D. Squires, "The Redonda Legend: A Chronological Bibliography".
  33. ^ R. D. Mullen, #3 M.P. Shiel. The Purple Cloud. One of five short reviews of the first volumes and oldest works reprinted in David G. Hartwell, ed., The Gregg Press Science Fiction Studies: Series Three, 25 volumes (Boston: Gregg Press). "Books in Review". Science Fiction Studies 13 (vol 4, part 3, November 1977). Retrieved 2015-10-22.
  34. ^ John D. Squires, "Rediscovering M.P. Shiel (1865–1947)", The New York Review of Science Fiction, No. 153, Vol. 13, No. 9 (May 2001), 12–15.
  35. ^ Playboy Interview: Stephen King, June 1983, 236.
  36. ^ William P. Simmons, (review) of the Tartarus Press omnibus edition of Prince Zaleski.
  37. ^ William P. Simmons, (review) of the Tartarus Press edition of The Pale Ape.
  38. ^ William P. Simmons, (review) of the Hippocampus Press edition of The House of Sounds and Others.
  39. ^ Greg Beatty, (review) Archived 4 February 2010 at the Wayback Machine of the Hippocampus Press edition, The House of Sounds and Others.
  40. ^ (Review) of The House of Sounds and Others. skullsinthestars.
  41. ^ a b c d e "Shiel, M P". Revised 20 May 2015. The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (sf-encyclopedia.com). Retrieved 2015-10-22. Entry by 'EFB/JC', or Everett F. Bleiler and John Clute.
  • Billings, Harold (2005). M. P. Shiel: A Biography of His Early Years. Roger Beacham. ISBN 0-9766044-1-8.
  • Billings, Harold (2010). M. P. Shiel: The Middle Years, 1897-1923. Roger Beacham.
  • Morse, A. Reynolds (1948). The Works of M. P. Shiel. F.P.C.I.
  • Morse, A. Reynolds (1979). The Quest for Redonda. Morse Foundation.
  • Morse, A. Reynolds (1980). The Works of M. P. Shiel: the Shielography Updated. Morse Foundation.
  • Morse, A. Reynolds (1983). Shiel in Diverse Hands: a Collection of Essays on M. P. Shiel. Morse Foundation.
  • Shiell, Richard; Dorothy Anderson (2005). The Shiell Family of the Caribbean Island of Montserrat. Sandringham: Richard Shiell.
  • Squires, John D.; Steve Eng (2004). Shiel and His Collaborators: Three Essays on William Thomas Stead, Louis Tracy, and John Gawsworth. Vainglory Press.

External links

Dark Mind, Dark Heart

Dark Mind, Dark Heart is an anthology of horror stories edited by American writer August Derleth. It was released in 1962 by Arkham House in an edition of 2,493 copies. The anthology was conceived as a collection of new stories by old Arkham House authors. The anthology is also notable for including the first Cthulhu Mythos story by Ramsey Campbell.

H. B. Marriott Watson

Henry Brereton Marriott Watson (20 December 1863 – 30 October 1921), known by his pen name H. B. Marriott Watson, was an Australian-born British novelist, journalist, playwright, and short-story writer. He worked for the St. James Gazette, was assistant editor of the Black and White and Pall Mall Gazette, and staff member on W. E. Henley's National Observer.

Marriott Watson was a popular author during his lifetime, best known for his swashbuckling, historical and romance fiction, and had over forty novels published between 1888 and 1919; these included seventeen short story collections and one collection of essays. He was a longtime resident of New Zealand, living there from 1872 to 1885, and often used his childhood home as the setting for many of his novels.

He and his common law wife, English poet Rosamund Marriott Watson, were well known in Britain's literary circles and were associated with many fellow writers of the period including J. M. Barrie, Stephen Crane, Thomas Hardy, Henry James and H. G. Wells among others. Their first and only son, Richard Marriott Watson, was also a noted poet and one of many sons of literary figures killed during the First World War.

Although now largely forgotten, Marriott Watson's contribution to Gothic horror during the latter part of the nineteenth century is notable for its romantic decadence. The stories which appeared in such collections as Diogenes of London (1893) and The Heart of Miranda (1898) bear favourable comparison with those produced by fellow contemporaries Arthur Machen, Vincent O'Sullivan and M. P. Shiel.

Harold Billings

Harold Wayne Billings (November 12, 1931 – November 29, 2017) was an American librarian, editor and author best known for his role in developing national and state library networking and resource sharing among libraries.

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.

Kingdom of Redonda

The Kingdom of Redonda is the name for the micronation associated with the tiny uninhabited Caribbean island of Redonda.

The island lies between the islands of Nevis and Montserrat, within the inner arc of the Leeward Islands chain, in the West Indies. Redonda is legally a dependency of the country of Antigua and Barbuda. The island is just over one mile (1.6 km) long and one-third mile (0.54 km) wide, rising to a 971-foot (296 m) peak.

The island teems with bird life, but is more or less uninhabitable by humans because there is no source of freshwater other than rain, and most of the island is extremely steep and rocky, with only a relatively small, sloping plateau area of grassland at the summit. Landing on the island is a very challenging process, possible only via the leeward coast on days when the seas are calm. Climbing to the top of the island is also very arduous.

Despite these difficulties, from 1865 until 1912 Redonda was the centre of a lucrative trade in guano mining, and many thousands of tons of phosphates were shipped from Redonda to Britain. The ruins associated with the mineworkings can still be seen on the island.

Redonda also is a micronation which may, arguably and briefly, have existed as an independent kingdom during the 19th century, according to an account told by the fantasy writer M.P. Shiel. The title to the supposed kingdom is still contested to this day in a half-serious fashion. The "Kingdom" is also often associated with a number of supposedly aristocratic members, whose titles are awarded by whoever is currently the "King". Currently there are a number of individuals in different countries who claim to be the sole legitimate "King" of Redonda.

Louis Tracy

Louis Tracy (1863 - 1928) was a British journalist, and prolific writer of fiction. He used the pseudonyms Gordon Holmes and Robert Fraser, which were at times shared with M. P. Shiel, a collaborator from the start of the twentieth century.

He was born in Liverpool to a well-to-do middle-class family. At first he was educated at home and then at the French Seminary at Douai. Around 1884 he became a reporter for a local paper - 'The Northern Echo' at Darlington, circulating in parts of Durham and North Yorkshire; later he worked for papers in Cardiff and Allahabad. During 1892-1894 he was closely associated with Arthur Harmsworth, in 'The Sun' and 'The Evening News and Post'.

Prince Zaleski and Cummings King Monk

Prince Zaleski and Cummings King Monk is a collection of supernatural detective short stories by author M. P. Shiel. It was released in 1977 by Mycroft & Moran in an edition of 4,036 copies. The first three Prince Zaleski stories had appeared in Shiel's first published work, Prince Zaleski (London: John Lane; Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1895). The fourth was first published in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine for January, 1955. The Cummings King Monk stories were drawn from The Pale Ape and Other Pulses (1911).


Shiel is the name of:

Derek Shiel, (1939-2017) painter and sculptor

Dylan Shiel (born 1993), footballer

Graham Shiel (born 1970), rugby coach

John Shiel (1917–2013), professional footballer

Tim Shiel, musician

Ricardo Shiel (c. 1756 - 1816) and his brother Edward Shiel (c. 1762 - 1818), merchant shipping, Rafael de la Viesca 10, Cadiz, Spain. Sons of Risteard Shiel, an exile from Omagh in Tyrone, Ireland. Their cousin James Shiel, RIAI (c. 1785 - 1850), Irish architect, late Georgian and Edwardian styles (Irish Architectural Archive, IAA). Their descendants Richard Lalor Shiel (1791-1871), M.P., Catholic Emancipation, Ireland, 1829 (Roman Catholic Relief Act). His brother Major General Sir Justin Shiel (1803-1871), Ireland, British Army and Persian (Iranian) Army. Justin Shiel's descendants: Edward Shiel (1851-1915), Ireland, M.P., Irish national Party. Democratic Senator Colonel George Knox Shiel (1825-1893), Oregon U.S.A., (Biographical Directory of the United States Congress). Thomas Martin Shiel (1911-1998), philologist, alumnus University College Dublin, Ireland. Dr. Mark Shiel (1970-), author in filmic studies and critical theory, alumnus Trinity College Dublin, Birbeck College London and fellow/reader Kings College London. Sonia Shiel (1975-), artist, alumnus National College of Art Dublin, Ireland. Family name: variously Shiel, O'Shiel, uaSiadgail, uaSiadhail and mistakely Sheil (e.g., Though R. L. Shiel, M.P. is recorded in U.K Parliamentary Records as Shiel; he is mistakely called Sheil, an anglo rendition of his name. His Probate papers in Dublin and Florence are under the name Shiel. Consult University College Dublin Archives, ref IE UCDA P23, "The Papers of Richard Lalor Shiel". In his account of the "Star Chamber", UK Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli otherwise Lord Beaconsfield comments unambiguously on R. L. Shiel. 1828.). Further confusion arises when Matthew Phipps Shiell (1865 – 1947), a British West Indian author, uses the pen-name M. P. Shiel. His legal surname is "Shiell".Consult: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ó_Siadhail#Famous_bearers

Sleep No More (anthology)

Sleep No More is an anthology of fantasy and horror stories edited by August Derleth and illustrated by Lee Brown Coye, the first of three similar books in the 1940s. It was first published by Rinehart & Company in 1944. Featuring short stories by H. P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, Clark Ashton Smith and other noted authors of the macabre genre, many of the stories made their initial appearance in Weird Tales magazine. The anthology is considered to be a classic of the genre, and is the initial foray by Coye into the field of horror illustration.

Tartarus Press

Tartarus Press is an independent book publisher based near Leyburn, Yorkshire, UK.

The Purple Cloud

The Purple Cloud is a "last man" novel by the British writer M. P. Shiel. It was published in 1901. H. G. Wells lauded The Purple Cloud as

"brilliant" and H. P. Lovecraft later praised the novel as exemplary weird fiction, "delivered with a skill and artistry falling little short of actual majesty."The novel formed the basis for the 1959 American film The World, the Flesh and the Devil.

The Works of M. P. Shiel

The Works of M. P. Shiel is a bibliography of works by British author M. P. Shiel. The bibliography was compiled by A. Reynolds Morse. It was first published by Fantasy Publishing Company, Inc. in 1948 in an edition of 1,000 copies.

Morse later revised the book as volumes II & III of a four volume study of Shiel issued by The Reynolds Morse Foundation (now The Salvador Dalí Foundation) 1979-1983. The series included one volume of photo-offsets of the periodical versions of two novels, The Empress of the Earth, The Purple Cloud, and 15 short stories, one volume of bibliography, greatly expanded from the 1948 edition, a volume of mostly biographical material with some bibliographical material, including a section on sometime Shiel collaborator, Louis Tracy, and a final volume of essays about Shiel.

The World, the Flesh and the Devil (1959 film)

The World, the Flesh and the Devil is a 1959 American science fiction doomsday film written and directed by Ranald MacDougall. The film stars Harry Belafonte, who was then at the peak of his film career. The film is set in a post-apocalyptic world with very few human survivors. It is based on two sources: the novel The Purple Cloud by M. P. Shiel and the story "End of the World" by Ferdinand Reyher.

Vanguard Press

The Vanguard Press (1926–1988) was a United States publishing house established with a $100,000 grant from the left wing American Fund for Public Service, better known as the Garland Fund. Throughout the 1920s, Vanguard Press issued an array of books on radical topics, including studies of the Soviet Union, socialist theory, and politically oriented fiction by a range of writers. The press ultimately received a total of $155,000 from the Garland Fund, which separated itself and turned the press over to its publisher, James Henle. Henle became sole owner in February 1932.The Vanguard Press operated as a respected independent literary house for 62 years. Its catalog of fiction, poetry, non-fiction and children's literature included the first books of Nelson Algren, Saul Bellow, Marshall McLuhan, Joyce Carol Oates and Dr. Seuss. With a valuable backlist of 500 titles, the company was sold to Random House in October 1988.In his history of book publishing, Between Covers (1987), John Tebbel wrote, "Vanguard never became a large and important house, but it continued to publish quality books year after year.

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 Scott Home

William Scott Home (born January 2, 1940) is the pen name (and, later, legal name) of an American author, poet and biologist principally known for writing horror and dark fantasy. Best known for a short story that appeared in 1978 in The Year's Best Horror Stories (along with Stephen King's "Children of the Corn", which also made the cut that year), Home was most prolific during the 1970s and 80s when his poetry and fiction was published in a wide range of media. Part of a circle of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror writers that paid homage to M. P. Shiel and H. P. Lovecraft, Home is considered by many to be a unique talent in his own right. His range of styles and control of language and suspense is well-demonstrated in his published collection: Hollow Faces, Merciless Moons. While he has published little since the 1980s, Home is still writing and currently lives in the Dyea Valley, west of Skagway, Alaska.

[[File:William Scott Home in Eaglecrest Ski Area, Juneau, AK, 1984.jpg|thumb|Photo of horror writer William Scott Home, taken in Alaska.]]

Xélucha and Others

Xélucha and Others is a collection of stories by British writer M. P. Shiel. It was released in 1975 by Arkham House in an edition of 4,283 copies. It was the author's first book published by Arkham House and was first announced in Arkham's 1948 catalog. It contains the stories Shiel considered to be his best.

Yoshio Markino

Yoshio Markino (牧野 義雄, Makino Yoshio, January 26, 1870 - October 18, 1956) was a Japanese artist and author who spent much of his life in London. He was born at the town of Toyota in Japan, at birth being named Heiji Makino.

He was curious about and attracted to Western culture. When he was 24 (1893) he took ship at Yokohama, on his way to San Francisco. He enrolled at the Mark Hopkins Institute of Art (now the San Francisco Art Institute) and stayed in the city for the next four years.

In 1897 he went to London via New York City, and decided to stay at the British capital where he spent most of his subsequent life and career (1897–1942). He was well received among British writers and artists, and his illustrations of the city published in 1907 in The Colour of London got critical acclaim. This was followed by in 1908 by The Colour of Paris and The Colour of Rome, and in 1912 by The Charm of London. He was a popular member of a significant group of expatriate Japanese artists working in London, including Urushibara Mokuchu and Ryuson Matsuyama. Several of his works are held in the collections of the Museum of London.Markino's literary talents were also recognized, and with the support of friends like Douglas Sladen he published several autobiographical works, including A Japanese Artist in London (1910), When I was a Child (1912), and My Recollections and Reflections (1913). Markino's quirky English style was appreciated by readers who enjoyed his unique humor, but was not infrequently lamented by critics, especially as the popularity of his works grew.

Among his friends and acquaintances were the writers Yone Noguchi, Arthur Ransome, M. P. Shiel, and the artist Pamela Colman Smith. Although unnamed, he plays an important role in Ransome's Bohemia in London, and is considered to have been the model for the male protagonist in Shiel's book The Yellow Wave (1905) — a Romeo and Juliet-type tragic romance on the background of the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905.

In 1915 he co-produced a season of Russian, French and Italian Opera at the London Opera House. Directed by Vladimir Rosing, the season included the first performance by Japanese singer, Tamaki Miura as Cio-Cio-San in Madama Butterfly.

Between October 18, 1923 and March 9, 1927, he conducted an artistically fruitful visit to the United States. His watercolour "The Plaza Hotel, New York City" dates from that visit (1924) (see external link).

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