Henry de Vere Stacpoole (1863-1951)


Life
b. April 1863, Kingstown [now Dun Laoghaire]; son of Rev. William Church Stacpoole and Charlotte Augusta [née Mountjoy]; ed. Portarlington, then Malvern College before studying medicine at St. George’s and St. Mary’s Hospital, London; practiced medicine for some time; his early fiction incls. The Intended ( (1894); The Doctor (1895); the production of novels set in far-flung places began in earnest with The Crimson Azaleas (1907), set in Japan; he enjoyed immense success with The Blue Lagoon (1908), often filmed and prone to soft-porn treatment on the screen;
 
there followed numerous novels cashing in on the taste for exotic lands in The Pools of Silence (1915), set in the Congo, The Beach of Dreams (1919), The Garden of God (1923), The Gates of Morning (1925), and The Girl on the Golden Reef (1929); his Garryowen: The Romance of a Racehorse (1909) is set in Ireland; Mice and Men (1942) and More Mice and Men (1944) are autobiographical; he also a life of Francois Villon (1916) and issued Poems and Ballads (1910) and wrote The North Sea and Other Poems (1915);
 
m. Margaret Robson (d.1934), and afterwards m. her sister Florence, 1938; he settled at Cliff Dene, Bonchurch, Isle of Wight; d. 12 April 1951. IF PI DIW DIB OCEL SUTH APPL OCIL

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Works
Fiction
  • The Intended (London: John Lane 1894); The Doctor (London: John Lane 1895);
  • Pierrot! (London: John Lane 1896);
  • Monsieur de Rochfort (London: G. Newness 1900);
  • The Crimson Azaleas (Philadelphia: Lippincott 1907), and Do. [rep. edn.] (London: Allen 1935), 254pp.;
  • The Blue Lagoon (New York: Duffield; London: Crown 1908), and Do. [new edn.] (1910), ill. [numerous de luxe & pop. edns. [see details];
  • Patsy (London: Fisher Unwin 1908), 362pp.;
  • with W. A. Bryce, The Meddler: A Novel of Sorts (London: Alston Rivers 1909), [rep.]. (viii), 308pp.;
  • Garryowen: The Romance of a Racehorse (NY: Duffield 1909; London: Fisher Unwin 1910);
  • The Drums of War (London: John Murray 1910);
  • The Shop of Coral (London: Hutchinson 1911);
  • The Street of the Flute Player (London: Hutchinson 1912);
  • The Children of the Sea (London: Hutchinson 1913);
  • England Expects (London: Curwen 1914);
  • The New Optimist (London & NY: John Lane 1914);
  • Father O’Flynn (London: Hutchinson 1914), 245pp.;
  • The Pearl Fishers (London & NY: John Lane 1915);
  • Pools of Silence (London: T. Fisher Unwin 1915);
  • The Reef of Red Stars (London: Hutchinson 1916);
  • The Good Trail: A Romance of the South Seas (London & NY: John Lane 1916);
  • Journal d’un Officier Prussian (Paris: Bloud & Gay 1916);
  • The Beach of Dreams: A Story of the True World (London: Hutchinson 1919), 316pp;
  • Sea Plunder (London & NY: John Lane 1917);
  • Francoise Villon (London: Hutchinson 1913), and Do., as Francis Villon (NY: Putnam 1917);
  • The Man who Lost Himself (London & NY: John Lane 1918);
  • The Beach of Dreams (London & NY: John Lane 1919);
  • The House of Crimson Shadows (London: Hutchinson 1920);
  • The Man Who Found Himself (London & NY: John Lane 1920);
  • Sappho (London: Hutchinson 1922);
  • Vanderdecken (NY: R. M. McBride 1922);
  • Men, Women and Beasts (London: Hutchinson 1922);
  • The Garden of God (NY: Dodd, Mead 1923);
  • The Golden Ballast (London: Hutchinson; NY: Jacobson 1924);
  • The Gates of Morning (London: Hutchins 1925);
  • In a Bonchurch Garden (London: Hutchinson 1927);
  • Goblin Market (London: Cassell 1927);
  • The Mystery of Uncle Ballard (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, Doran 1928);
  • Eileen of the Trees (Carden City: NY: Doran 1929);
  • The Girl of the Golden Reef (London: Hutchinson 1929);
  • Pacific Gold (NY: Sears 1931);
  • Love on the Adriatic (London: Ernest Benn 1932), 159pp.;
  • The Naked Soul (London: William Collins 1933);
  • The Vengeance of Myheer Van Lok (London: Hutchinson 1934);
  • The Longshore Girl (London: Hutchinson 1935);
  • Stories of East and West: Tales of Men and Women (London: Hutchinson 1926), 284pp., and Do. [6 thousandth] ([1928]), 284pp.;
  • Vanderdeken: The Story of A Man (London: Hutchinson 1923), 287pp.
Autobiography
  • Mice and Men (London: Hutchinson 1942) and More Mice and Men (London: Hutchinson 1944).
Poetry
  • Poems and Ballads (1910);
  • The North Sea and Other Poems (London: Hutchinson 1915);
  • The Book of Francis Villon (Boston: Internat. Pocket Library 1931);

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Bibliographical details
The Blue Lagoon, 1st Edn. Crown 8vo., Jan. 1908; rep. Feb. 1908; March 1908; May, June, 1908; Jan. 1910, Feb. 1910; May 1910, 3 times; New. Edn. 1910; col. pls. by Willy Pogany, with Blue gilt raised cover ill. by a different hand. See also Short notes & motifs from the text are held in “Quotations”, infra.

See full-text digital version of The Blue Lagoon (1908)
  in RICORSO Library, “Irish Classics”, via index, or direct.
or ...
  read it at FullBooks.com [online - accessed 03.03.2011]

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Criticism
Diane Tolomeo, ‘Modern Fiction’, In Recent Research on Anglo-Irish Writers, ed. James F. Kilroy (NY: MLA 1983), pp.268-98 [cited in James Cahalan, The Irish Novel, 1988.] See also J. W. Foster, Irish Novels 1890-1940: New Bearings in Culture and Fiction (Oxford UP 2008), espec. pp.49-53 [on The Blue Lagoon].

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Quotations
The Blue Lagoon (1910 Edn.): [Button] was a Celt, and all the salt seas that had flowed between him and Connaught these forty years and more had not washed the Celtic element from his blood, nor the belief in fairies from his soul. The Celtic nature is a fast dye, and Mr. Button’s nature was such that though he had been shanghaied by Larry Marr in ’Frisco, though he had got drunk in most ports of the world, though he had sailed with Yankee captains and had been man-handled by Yankee mates, he still carried his fairies with him – they, and a very large stock of original innocence. [2]; [...] The basis of the Irish character as exemplified by Paddy Button is a profound laziness mixed with a profound melancholy. Yet Paddy, in his left-handed way, was as hard a worker as any man on board ship; and as for melancholy, he was the life and soul of the fo’cs’le. Yet there they were, the laziness and melancholy, only waiting to be tapped. [73] [Button:] ‘don’t be talkin,’ or its the Cluricaunes will be after us ... Little men no bigger than your thumb who make the brogues for the Good People’ [94]; [On the eating of the seed potatoes from the brig:] Dick felt the absolute thriftlessness of this proceeding. Emmeline did not ... though she could have told you the colour of all the birds in the island ... Dick came of the people who make sewing machines and typewriters. Mr. Button came of a people notable for ballads and tender hearts, and potheen. That was the main difference. [155] The island, the lagoon, and the reef were the three volumes of a great picture book, as they were for Emmeline, though in a different manner. The colour and the beauty of it all fed some mysterious want in her soul. Her life was a long reverie, a beautiful vision – troubled with shadows. Across all the blue and coloured spaces, she could still see as in a glass dimly the Northumberland, smoking against the wild background of fog ... and nearer, the tragic form on the reef that still haunted terribly her dreams. ... [but] she kept ... the secret of her feelings about these things [182] ‘I think that we civilised folk put on a lot of airs and waste a lot of pity on savages ... who is happier than a naked savage in a warm climate? Oh, he’s happy enough, and he’s not always holding a corroboree. He’s a good deal of a gentleman; he has perfect health; he lives the life that a man was born to live face to face with Nature. He doesn’t see the sun through an office window or the moon through the smoke of factory chimneys ... The whites have driven him out.’ [Lestrange:] ‘Suppose they were like that, would it not be a cruelty to bring them to what we call civilisation? [324]. (For longer extracts, see Ricorso Library, “Authors”, infra; see full-text digital version in RICORSO Library, “Irish Classics”, via index, or direct)

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References
Stephen Brown, Ireland in Fiction [Pt. I] (Dublin: Maunsel 1919), resides near Chelmsford; Patsy (London: Fisher Unwin 1908), 362pp. [Patsy the pageboy is deus ex machina in ‘Mid-meath’ mansion; incl. Englishman Fanshawe; some national characteristics, no pols.]; Garrowen: The Romance of a Racehorse (Fisher Unwin 1910) [story of a racehorse]; Father O’Flynn (Hutchinson 1914), 245pp. D. J. O’Donoghue, Poets of Ireland: A Biographical and Bibliographical Dictionary of Irish Writers of English Verse (Dublin: Hodges Figgis & Co. 1912), adds Poems and Ballads (London 1910).

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Margaret Drabble, ed., Oxford Companion to English Literature (OUP 1986), novelist and ship’s doctor, of Irish ancestry [err.]; a poem in Belgravia (q.v.); best-selling romance, The Blue Lagoon (1908), story of two cousins, Dick and Emmeline, marrooned aged 8 on a tropical island; grow up, produce a baby, swept away across the lagoon to the oblivion of ‘the never-wake berries’ which they carry in their dinghy. PI cites Poems and Ballads (Lon. 1910). SEE also Irish Book Lover, Vol. 1, 5, 7.

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John Sutherland, The Longman Companion to Victorian Fiction (Longmans 1988; rep. 1989), 1863-1951; b. Dublin, son of clergyman schoolteacher; ed. Malvern College, and MD in London; ship’s doctor, travelling the world; returned [sic] to London; friend of John Oliver Hobbes and members of Yellow Book coterie; The Intended (1894); Pierrot (1896), and the ghost story Death, The Knight and the Lady (1897), of this literary ethos; The Blue Lagoon (Newnes 1908; innum. eds.), one of the biggest bestsellers of modern times; 3 film versions; settled in rural Essex and Isle of Wight.

Henry Boylan, A Dictionary of Irish Biography [rev. edn.] (Gill & Macmillan 1988) characterises The Blue Lagoon (1908) as a children’s romance. NOTE allusion to The Blue Lagoon in Monk Gibbon, A Memory Of Love (1981). NOTE, De Stacpoole’s usages, Merrows, Phookas, Cluricaunes, in The Blue Lagoon, are derived from T. C. Croker’s Fairy Legends.

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Eggeley Books (Cat. 44) lists The Beach of Dreams, a Story of the True World (Hutchinson 1919), 316pp; The Crimson Azaleas (Allan 1935), 254pp.; Golden Ballast (Hutchinson 1924); Love on the Adriatic (Benn 1932), 159pp.; Stories of East and West, Tales of Men and Women (Hutchinson [1928]) [6th thousand]; 284pp.; Vanderdeken, The Story of A Man (Hutchinson 1923), 287pp.

Belfast Central Public Library holds the Blue Lagoon (1946); Cottage on the Fells (1950); The Doctor (n.d.); Father O’Flynn (n.d.); Land of Little Horses (n.d.); Man in Armour (n.d.); Pierrot (1896); Pools of Silence (1910); Poppyland (1914); Tropic Love (n.d.).

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Notes
Father O’Flynn [1914] is dedicated to Carson and Redmond. Preface: ‘The Irish Catholic priest is the main factor in present day Irish affairs ... I have attempted to catch him at his best in the butterfly net of this trivial story, and if I have bruised his [?] wings in the catching or spoilt him in the mounting, I beg his pardon.’ In the events of the novel, young Graham visits Ireland; encounters Eileen Pope, a hard-riding squireen-ess; his horse is Kilgobbin; there is a mad Pope family member, and adventures in a sea-cave. The parish priest is an open-eyed mediator between the follies of the parishioners of various classes, and ‘no relation to the gentleman of the song’ [surely an ironic allusion to A. P. Grave’s creation, to be taken with a mountain of salt]. Poppyland is a collection of stories of the orient (‘the world of khayf, ... an idleness unknown to northern peoples’), including as characters Feyshad, Abdul and Hafiz, and Queen Cophetua. Stacpoole’s preface to In Tropic Of Love [n.d.] speaks of the ‘universal appeal’ of the South Sea Islands, and quotes R. L. Stevenson: ‘the sight is of “a fairylike, a heavenly prettiness”.’ [p.8]; incls. refs. to Arrafara Lagoon and the Kanaka island natives. Pools of Silence [1915] follows Clarinda Clynes to the M’Bonga jungle, Africa. Also, The Cottage on the Fells (rep. 1950).

Katharine Tynan, ed., The Wild Harp, a Selection from Irish Lyrical Poetry (London: Sidgwick & Jackson Ltd. MCMXIII), incls. a poem: ‘I pipe beneath the morning star, / ‘Across the fields of early frost. / My music leads from near and far / The foosteps of the children lost. / Beyond the lands of light forlorn / I bring them to such fields - Ah, well! / - If I could tell! // “O piper, thou has led them hence. / What then? The tale unwritten lies / Of those sweet-hearts of Innocence, / Their wandering under alien skies. / Shine there the sun? blows there the wind? / The butterfly - what share has be?” / Oh, thou wouldst nevermore be blind / If though couldst see! / - If thou couldst see!’

Monk Gibbon, The Pupil (1st ed., Wolfhound, 1981): ‘Just down the road lived de Vere Stacpoole, author of what the era acclaimed as a most daring, but actually a most innocent story, The Blue Lagoon’. (p.110).

Irish and Other Memoirs (1922) of the duke de Stacpoole are cited in Elizabeth Bowen, The Shelbourne (Harrap 1951, 1955), p.106ff.

Frederick O’Brien (1869-1932) was an American journalist and globetrotter whose first book, White Shadows in the South Seas (1919), retaled his experiences in the Marquesas and enjoyed a popularity giving rise to numerous similar romantic accounts of life on the Pacific islands. O’Brien is also credited with reviving interest in Moby Dick. (See The Oxford Companion to American Literature.)

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