Sir Hugh Walpole
sketched by Edgar Spence, 1935

Hugh Walpole's Weird Tales

a bibliography
introduced by Jessica Amanda Salmonson


Sir Hugh Seymour Walpole was an English novelist whose homosexuality was rather more furtive than Wilde's, as well it might be since Walpole as a young man was able to follow, with all England, what happened to Wilde.

Hugh was born March 13, 1884 in Auckland, New Zealand. His father became the Bishop of Edinburgh in 1910, providing Hugh with experiences commemorated in his play The Cathedral (1922). Hugh served with the Russian Red Cross in the Great War resulting in material for his novels The Dark Forest (1916) & The Secret City (1919). The experience also put him into the Order of St. George for bravery rescuing a wounded man under fire. Having been educated in England, he regarded himself an Englishman rather than an Aucklander or Scot, & his trilogy of novels following the life of an Englishman from boyhood on -- beginning with Jeremy (1919) -- were like many of his works inspired by his personal biography. His famous "Herries" historicals set in the Lake District -- beginning with Rogue Herries (1930) -- place him highly among authors of swashbucklers. There are supernatural incidents & intimations of witchcraft in the Herries series but they're very much a side-issue. His horror novels tend to be psychological rather than supernatural, with a brooding underlying mysticism. Two of these are great works for the genre: Portrait of a Man with Red Hair (1925) has a Jekyll & Hyde theme of possession, with similar Good & Evil personalities not sharing one body in The Killer & the Slain (1942). This latter is all the more disturbing if the homosexual subtext is followed. Two lads develop a strange affinity for one another. When grown, to free himself of this connection, one of the two decides on murder -- with unexpected repurcussions. Among his shorter weird tales three at least are little masterpieces: "Tarnhelm," "The Silver Mask" & "The Little Ghost."

At the height of his success, having become a wealthy bachelor with dogs & books his main companions, he kept an apartment in Piccadilly, & made his country home in Cumberland, his residence being today a Bed & Breakfast. Collector of books & manuscripts generally & of weird tales especially, his taste for things beautiful & macabre extended to having a neolithic megalith transported from Jersey into his own gardens. He was knighted in 1938, three years before his relatively early death, June 1, 1941, of a heart attack brought on by over exertion doing volunteer war work in Kenswick. He is buried in his beloved Cumberland.

Here is a checklist of his weird fiction only; I hope it is complete though perhaps there remains an item or two to add. Anthology citations for short stories are a bit random & very far from complete. If you can point me to apropriate additions, I would be most glad.


Above the Dark Circus: An Adventure

"The Adventure of the Imaginative Child" in:

"A Carnation for an Old Man" in:

"The Conjuror" in:

"'Enery" in:

"Epilog: Hugh Seymour" in:

"The Fear of Death" in:

"The Field of Five Trees" in:

"Head in Green Bronze" in:

The Inquistor

The Killer & the Slain: A Strange Story

"The Little Ghost" in:

"Lizzie Rand" in:

"Major Wilbraham" in:

"Mr. Huffam" in:

"Mrs. Lunt" in:

"Mrs Porter & Miss Allen" in:

"The Oldest Talland" in:

Portrait of a Man with Red Hair: A Romantic Macabre

Prayer for My Son

The Sea Tower

"Seashore Macabre" in:

"The Silver Mask" in:

"The Snow" in:

"The Staircase" in:

"The Tarn" in:

"Tarnhelm; or, The Death of My Uncle Robert" in:

"The Tiger" in:

Thanks to Mike Wahl for his assistance.

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