Charles Lee was born in London but moved to Cornwall and lived amongst the group of artists who formed the Newlyn School. Charles Lee attended their parties and wrote their pantomimes
Charles Lee (1870-1956) was born in London to an artistic family. He got a BA from London University in 1889 and published his first novel, Widow Woman, in 1896. Suffering from bad health, he visted Cornwall in 1900 for its better climate, and stayed in Cornwall for seven years. Cornish life, manners, landscapes, and its way of life, formed the background of many of his further works.
He published five novels in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, in addition to many short stories and plays about the working people of Cornwall. His “Cornish Tales” had an introduction by Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch and Lee enjoyed some popularity in his time.
He had four more novels published between 1896 and 1911 -
Our Little Town is presented in a series of sketches. The village worthies and unworthies are painted singly and in groups, with a light, affectionate touch.
Paul Carah Cornishman - The hero is a young Cornishman, who, after travelling to the USA for some years, returns to his native village. He tries to show himself as a sophiscicated man of the world, but his conceit and fool-hardiness involve him in a smuggling scheme which makes him the tool of a designing shopkeeper.
Dorinda's Birthday - a delicious vignette of Cornish life,
Cynthia in the West - "Ted'n no picsher 'tall - tis nawthin' but a mask av onreasonable paint"
As well as a number of short stories (recently collected in Chasing Tales: The Lost Stories of Charles Lee); several plays, journals, and musical scores; and a guide book, The Vale of Lanherne.
However, despite contemporary acclaim, he is almost forgotten today.
Brimming with great comic episodes and dialogue, beautifully-drawn characters, simple morality and deep pathos, Lee's novels and short stories are some of the tenderest and funniest ever written about Cornwall.
Later, after relocating to the London suburbs, he worked as the senior editor for J. M. Dent, where, owing to his talent for editing prose, he came to be known as "the man with the green pen."
Chasing Tales. The Lost Stories. of Cornish literary genius, his grasp of Cornish dialect and his talent for story telling
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