Roger Lancelyn Green

Roger Gilbert Lancelyn Green (2 November 1918 – 8 October 1987) was a British biographer and children's writer. He was an Oxford academic who formed part of the Inklings literary discussion group along with C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien.

Roger Lancelyn Green
Born2 November 1918
Norwich, Norfolk, England, UK
Died8 October 1987 (aged 68)
Poulton Hall, Wirral, Merseyside, England, UK
OccupationNovelist, Biographer
Alma materMerton College, Oxford
GenreBiography, Fantasy, Mythology
Notable worksKing Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table, Robin Hood, Tales of the Greek Heroes
SpouseJune Lancelyn Green
ChildrenScirard Lancelyn Green, Priscilla Lancelyn Green (Cilla), Richard Lancelyn Green


Roger Lancelyn Green was born in 1918 in Norwich, England, to Major Gilbert Arthur Lancelyn Green (1887–1947), of the Royal Artillery, and Helena Mary Phyllis, daughter of Lt-Col Charles William Henry Sealy, of Hambledon House, Hampshire. The landed gentry Lancelyn Green family can be traced back to 1093, with the marriage of Randle Greene (sic) and Elizabeth, daughter of William Lancelyn, taking place in the reign of Elizabeth I.[1]

He studied under C. S. Lewis at Merton College, Oxford, where he obtained a B.Litt. degree.[2] As an undergraduate, he performed in the Oxford University Dramatic Society's Shakespeare dramas produced by Nevill Coghill.[3] He was deputy librarian at Merton College from 1945 to 1950, then William Noble Research Fellow in English Literature at Liverpool University from 1950 to 1952. As Andrew Lang Lecturer at the University of St Andrews from 1968 to 1969,[4] he delivered the 1968 Andrew Lang lecture.

Lancelyn Green remained close to Lewis until the latter's death in 1963, and holidayed in Greece with Lewis and his wife Joy Gresham just before her death from cancer in 1960.[5] When Lewis started writing the Narnia books in the late 1940s, Lancelyn Green suggested that they should be called The Chronicles of Narnia.[6]

Lancelyn Green lived in Cheshire at Poulton Hall, a manor house that his ancestors had owned for more than 900 years; he was Lord of the Manors of Poulton-Lancelyn and Lower Bebington. He died on 8 October 1987 at the age of 68.

His son was the writer Richard Lancelyn Green.



Lancelyn Green became known primarily for his writings for children, particularly his retellings of the myths of Greece (Tales of the Greek Heroes and The Tale of Troy) and Egypt (Tales of Ancient Egypt), as well the Norse mythology (The Saga of Asgard, later renamed Myths of the Norsemen) and the stories of King Arthur (King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table) and Robin Hood (The Adventures of Robin Hood). His works of original fiction include The Luck of Troy, set during the Trojan War, and The Land of the Lord High Tiger, a fantasy that has been compared to the Narnia books.

Chronological order

  • The Singing Rose and Other Poems (Edmund Ward 1947)
  • From the World's End (1948)
  • King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table (1954)
  • The Adventures of Robin Hood (1956)
  • The Book of Nonsense (1956)
  • Two Satyr Plays: Euripides' Cyclops and Sophocles' Ichneutai (1957)
  • The Land of the Lord High Tiger (1958)
  • Tales of the Greek Heroes: Retold From the Ancient Authors (1958)
  • The Tale of Troy: Retold from the Ancient Authors (1958)
  • Mystery at Mycenae: An Adventure Story of Ancient Greece (1959)
  • Myths of the Norsemen: Retold from the Old Norse Poems and Tales (1960)
  • A Century of Humorous Verse 1850–1950 (J. M. Dent & Sons 1959)
  • The Saga of Asgard: Retold from the Old Norse Poems and Tales (Puffin Books 1960)
  • The Luck of Troy (1961)
  • Once Long Ago: Folk and Fairy Tales of the World (1962, illustrations by Vojtěch Kubašta)
  • Authors & Places: A Literary Pilgrimage (1963)
  • Tellers of Tales : British Authors of Children’s Books from 1800 to 1964 (1965)
  • Tales the Muses Told: Ancient Greek Myths (1965)
  • Tales from Shakespeare (Atheneum 1965)
  • Tales of Ancient Egypt (1967)
  • Ancient Greece (John Day Co. 1969)
  • A Cavalcade of Dragons (H. Z. Walck 1970)
  • A Cavalcade of Magicians (H. Z. Walck 1973)
  • Strange Adventures in Time (1974, editor, drawings by George Adamson, J. M. Dent & Sons Ltd, London; E. P. Dutton & Co., Inc., New York)
  • The Tale of Thebes (Cambridge University Press 1977)
  • The Beaver Book of Other Worlds (1978)


Lancelyn Green wrote biographies of J. M. Barrie, Andrew Lang, and C. S. Lewis. His new edition of selected tales of Hans Christian Andersen contains a short biography. He also wrote a brief biography of Anthony Hope as the introduction to a one-volume Everyman's Library edition of The Prisoner of Zenda and its sequel Rupert of Hentzau. He was editor of the Kipling Journal, 1957–1979.

Lancelyn Green was particularly interested in Lewis Carroll, publishing several books and articles. His book The Story of Lewis Carroll (1949) led to an invitation from Carroll's nieces, Violet and Menella Dodgson, to produce an edited version of his diary; this appeared in 1953, and has been at the centre of the recent debate about the alleged 'Carroll Myth'. Karoline Leach devoted much space to considering it in her book In the Shadow of the Dreamchild, claiming that something like 60% of the diary material was left out of this publication, and that Lancelyn Green's allegedly partial, inaccurate and misleading editing had contributed to a continued misrepresentation of Carroll in biographies and the media. At the time of publication, Lancelyn Green claimed to have seen all the diaries and certainly gave the impression he had been allowed unrestricted access, however Leach alleges he later retracted this claim and admitted he had been forced to work with heavily edited transcripts prepared for him by Menella Dodgson, 'for reasons of safety'. He was later a founder and vice-president of the Lewis Carroll Society and helped Morton N. Cohen to edit Carroll's collected letters.

Chronological order

  • Andrew Lang: A Critical Biography (E. Ward, 1946)
  • The Story of Lewis Carroll (H. Schuman, 1951)
  • A. E. W. Mason The Adventure of a Story Teller (Max Parrish, 1952)
  • The Letters of Lewis Carroll, 2 volumes (1953)
  • J. M. Barrie (Bodley Head, 1960)
  • Lewis Carroll (Bodley Head, 1960)
  • Mrs Molesworth (Bodley Head, 1961)
  • The Readers' Guide to Rudyard Kipling's Work (R. E. Harboard, 1962)
  • Kipling and the Children (Elek Books, 1965)
  • Henry Treece, C. S. Lewis and Beatrix Potter (Bodley Head Ltd, 1969) with Margery Fisher and Marcus Crouch
  • C. S. Lewis: A Biography (1974) with Walter Hooper

Other activities and posts

Green was a part-time professional actor from 1942 to 1945, and a member of the Oxford literary group, the Inklings, along with C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien. He was Deputy Librarian of Merton College, Oxford from 1945 to 1950 and William Nobel Research Fellow in English Literature at the University of Liverpool from 1950 to 1952.[2] He was later a member of the Council of the University of Liverpool, from 1964 to 1971.


  1. ^ Burke's Landed Gentry, 18th ed., vol. 3, ed. Hugh Montgomery-Massingberd, 1972, 'Lancelyn Green of Poulton-Lancelyn' pedigree
  2. ^ a b Levens, R.G.C., ed. (1964). Merton College Register 1900-1964. Oxford: Basil Blackwell. p. 283.
  3. ^ Glyer, Diana (2007). The Company They Keep. Kent, OH: Kent State UP. ISBN 978-0-87338-890-0.
  4. ^ Burke's Landed Gentry, 18th ed., vol. 3, ed. Hugh Montgomery-Massingberd, 1972, 'Lancelyn Green of Poulton-Lancelyn' pedigree
  5. ^ "C. S. Lewis Foundation - The Life of C.S. Lewis". Archived from the original on 6 February 2012. Retrieved 4 May 2012.
  6. ^ "The Chronicles of Narnia | Myword". Retrieved 2012-05-04.

External links


In Greek mythology, Deiphobus (Ancient Greek: Δηίφοβος, Deiphobos) was a son of Priam and Hecuba. He was a prince of Troy, and the greatest of Priam's sons after Hector and Paris. Deiphobus killed four men of fame in the Trojan War.

Double Phoenix

Double Phoenix is an anthology of two short fantasy novels by Edmund Cooper and Roger Lancelyn Green, edited by American writer Lin Carter. It was first published in paperback by Ballantine Books in November 1971 as the thirty-seventh volume of its Ballantine Adult Fantasy series. It was the sixth anthology assembled by Carter for the series.

The book collects two fantasy novellas, together with three introductory essays on the works, their authors and the book itself by Carter.

King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table

King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table is a novel for children written by Roger Lancelyn Green. It was first published by Puffin Books in 1953 and has since been reprinted. In 2008 it was reissued in the Puffin Classics series with an introduction by David Almond (the award-winning author of Clay, Skellig, Kit's Wilderness and The Fire-Eaters), and the original illustrations by Lotte Reiniger.

Green attempted to weave together the many legends surrounding King Arthur in a single narrative, claiming that Thomas Malory's version of the story, Le Morte d'Arthur, was a loose collection of separate stories. Green attempted to relate each legend so that the entire story would have a beginning, middle and end. Green used many sources in addition to Malory.

Lancelyn Green

Lancelyn Green may be:

Cilla Lancelyn Green, a British author (daughter of Roger Lancelyn Green)

Richard Lancelyn Green (1953–2004), a British scholar of Arthur Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes (son of Roger Lancelyn Green)

Roger Lancelyn Green (1918–1987), a British biographer and children's writer

List of children's non-fiction writers

List of authors who have written non-fiction (informational) books for children. For a discussion of the criteria used to define something as a work of children's literature, see children's literature.

List of early Puffin Story Books

This is a complete list of the 149 Puffin Story Books published for children from 1941 to 1960 by Penguin Books, Harmondsworth, England.

Margery Gill

Margery Jean Gill (1925-2008) was a British illustrator of children's books.

Born in Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire, Scotland, on 5 April 1925, she was brought up in Hatch End, London after her father Oscar moved there to take a job at the Post Office Research Station developing the speaking clock. She left school at 14 and took a place at Harrow School of Art. In 1946 she began studying etching and engraving at the Royal College of Art, married actor Patrick Jordan, and illustrated her first book, Robert Louis Stevenson's A Child's Garden of Verses, for the Oxford University Press.After a series of commissions for the Oxford University Press, Gill began an association with The Bodley Head, for whom she illustrated over thirty books between 1957 and 1982, including Margaret Kornitzer’s 1960 novel about adoption, Mr Fairweather and his Family, and books by Anita Hewett, Roger Lancelyn Green and others. John Ryder, the publisher's design and art director, said her early work was "interfered with, rather than aided" by her background in etching and engraving, but as her drawings became bolder her work became more in demand, her serious, unsentimental view of childhood suiting the kitchen sink realism prevalent in children's books at the time. She remarked "that is often how children are — taking their own lives seriously".Eleanor Graham, the founding editor of Puffin Books, also sought her out to illustrate books including a 1961 edition of A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett. She worked for numerous other publishers, including Jonathan Cape, for whom she illustrated Susan Cooper's Over Sea, Under Stone in 1965, and Chatto & Windus, for whom she illustrated Cooper's Dawn of Fear in 1972, drawing on her own memories of living in London during the Second World War. Cooper said of her work on Dawn of Fear, "She caught the image of the kids I was writing about perfectly, with no communication. That does huge things for the confidence of a writer." She would often travel to capture the landscape and setting of books she illustrated, particularly those by Ruth Arthur and William Mayne, and for this reason a German publisher commissioned her to illustrate a German translation of Arthur Ransome's Swallows and Amazons.She combined freelance work as an illustrator with motherhood - she had two daughters - and a teaching job at Maidstone College of Art. From 1969 she and her husband lived in Alpheton in Suffolk. As the 1970s went on her work fell out of fashion as publishers preferred cartoonier illustrations for children's books, and her output was slowed by arthritis in her hands, and in her later years, cataracts. The last book she illustrated was Anne Thwaite's Pennies for the Dog in 1985. She did voluntary work in her retirement, including charity collections and Meals on Wheels. She died on 31 October 2008, survived by her husband, the older of their two daughters (their younger daughter died in 1996), four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.She was admired by fellow illustrator Shirley Hughes, who said "I thought her work was terrific. It made me look to my laurels. It was modern - the children she depicted were less sweet. Margery used solid black line with tremendous fluidity and ease: the way her children stood and moved was very distinctive."

Mary de Morgan

Mary de Morgan (24 February 1850 – 1907) was an English writer and the author of three volumes of fairytales: On a Pincushion (1877); The Necklace of Princess Fiorimonde (1880); and The Windfairies (1900). These volumes appeared together in the collection The Necklace of Princess Fiorimonde – The Complete Fairy Stories of Mary de Morgan, published by Victor Gollancz Ltd in 1963, with an introduction by Roger Lancelyn Green.

Though de Morgan is one of the lesser known authors of literary fairytales, her works, heavily influenced by Hans Christian Andersen, are remarkable in deviating from the fairytale norm – often not including a happy ending, or not having the protagonist gain wealth or power (rather procuring the wisdom of recognising the value of living without these things); and in the satirical element of political comment in her works. According to the Greenwood Encyclopedia of Folk Tales and Fairy Tales, the fairytales of Mary de Morgan played a "comprehensive and central role" in her era in the evolution of the literary fairytale.Her story, The Toy Princess, was featured on the BBC children's TV show Jackanory in 1966, and the same story featured on Jackanory Playhouse in 1981.Her brother, potter, tile designer and novelist William de Morgan, illustrated her first volume.

Menella Bute Smedley

Menella Bute Smedley (1820–1877) was a novelist and poet. A relative of Lewis Carroll, she wrote some minor novels and books of poems, including the anonymous, The Story of Queen Isabel, and Other Verses, 1863.

She translated the old German ballad The Shepherd of the Giant Mountains into English blank verse in 1846. Roger Lancelyn Green in the Times Literary Supplement on 1 March 1957, and later in The Lewis Carroll Handbook (1962), suggested that Carroll’s "Jabberwocky" may have been inspired by this work. Peter Lucas suggested in particular that verses 2-6 of Jabberwocky were a loose parody.Her first novel, The Maiden Aunt, originally appeared in Sharpe's London Magazine under the pen name "S.M." In 1848 and 1849 it was published as a single volume in both England and the United States, and was reprinted in 1856.In addition to writing poetry and fiction, she also provided material for parliamentary reports on pauper schools.She was the daughter of the Revd Edward Smedley and lived for many years with her cousin Frank Smedley, acting as his housekeeper and secretary. She died at her home at Regent's Park, London on 25 May 1877 and was buried at West Norwood Cemetery.

Nicostratus (mythology)

Nicostratus (Ancient Greek: Νικόστρατον) is a mythological figure, a son of Menelaus either by Helen of Troy or a slave woman named Pieris.

Once Long Ago

Once Long Ago: Folk & Fairy Tales of the World is a book of 70 fairy tales from many countries and cultures. The tales are told by Roger Lancelyn Green and illustrated by Vojtěch Kubašta. The book was published in 1962 by Golden Pleasure Books in London and reprinted in 1966 (second edition) and 1967 (third edition). It is out of print.

The book is notable for the wide variety of its tales, most of which will be unfamiliar to readers from English-speaking countries, such as "The Nung-Guama" (Chinese), "The Voice of Death" (Romanian), and "Long, Stout, and Sharpeyes" (Czech). More familiar tales include "Little Snow White" and "The Sleeping Beauty."

Palamedes (mythology)

In Greek mythology, Palamedes (Ancient Greek: Παλαμήδης) was the son of Nauplius and Clymene.He joined the Greeks in the expedition against Troy.

Pausanias in his Description of Greece (2.20.3) says that in Corinth is a Temple of Fortune in which Palamedes dedicated the dice that he had invented.

Poulton Hall

Poulton Hall is a country house in Poulton Road, Poulton, an area to the south of Bebington, Wirral, Merseyside, England. The present hall was built in 1653 and was extended in the following centuries. It is built in pebbledashed brick with stone dressings and slate roof. Its contents include a three-manual pipe organ. In the grounds is a 17th-century former brewhouse that has a clock tower with a 32-bell carillon. The house and the brewhouse are both recorded in the National Heritage List for England as designated Grade II listed buildings. Musical concerts are held in the house, and the gardens, which contain 20th-century sculptures, are open to the public twice a year.


"Rhodopis" (Greek: Ροδώπις) is an ancient tale about a Greek courtesan who marries the king of Egypt. The story was first recorded by the Greek historian Strabo in the late first century BC or early first century AD and is considered the earliest known variant of the "Cinderella" story. The origins of the fairy-tale figure may be traced back to the 6th-century BC hetaera Rhodopis.

Roger Green

Roger Green may refer to:

Roger Green (rugby league) (born before 1915), Welsh footballer

Roger Lancelyn Green (1918–1987), English writer

Roger Curtis Green (1932–2009), American archaeologist

Roger L. Green (born 1949), American politician

Roger Green (sailor)

The Circus Is Coming

The Circus Is Coming is a children's novel by Noel Streatfeild, about the working life of a travelling circus. It was first published in 1938 with illustrations by Steven Spurrier. For this novel, Streatfeild was awarded the annual Carnegie Medal from the Library Association, recognising the year's outstanding children's book by a British subject. American editions and some later British editions are titled Circus Shoes.

The Story of Zoulvisia

The Story of Zoulvisia is an Armenian fairy tale collected by Frédéric Macler in Contes Arméniens. Andrew Lang included it in The Olive Fairy Book. The story was also featured in the book Once Long Ago, by Roger Lancelyn Green and illustrated by Vojtech Kubasta.

Tinker Bell

Tinker Bell is a fictional character from J. M. Barrie's 1904 play Peter Pan and its 1911 novelization Peter and Wendy. She has appeared in multiple film and television adaptations of the Peter Pan stories, in particular the 1953 animated Walt Disney picture Peter Pan. She also appears in the official sequel Peter Pan in Scarlet by Geraldine McCaughrean commissioned by Great Ormond Street Hospital as well as the "Peter and the Starcatchers" book series by Ridley Pearson and Dave Barry.

At first only a supporting character described by her creator as "a common fairy", her animated incarnation was a hit and has since become a widely recognized unofficial mascot of The Walt Disney Company, and the centrepiece of its Disney Fairies media franchise including the direct-to-DVD film series Tinker Bell and Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color.

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