Sir Arthur Quiller Couch famous Cornish author and historian. He published his fiction under the pseudonym 'Q'.
Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch was born in Bodmin on 21 November 1863. His father, Thomas Quiller Couch, was a Cornish physician, his mother Mary came from Devon. His sisters Florence Mabel and Lilian would also become writers.
He was educated at Newton Abbot College, Clifton College, and Trinity College, Oxford where he later became a lecturer after taking his degree in 1886. He was the grandson of the famous botanist Jonathan Couch.
While he was at Oxford he published (1887) his Dead Man's Rock (a romance in the vein of Stevenson's Treasure Island), and he followed this with Troy Town (1888) and The Splendid Spur (1889).
He spent a little time as a journalist in London. On 22 August 1889, he married Louisa Amelia Hicks of Fowey, with whom he would have two children. They returned to a harbourside house in Fowey in 1892. ‘The Haven’, the house where Sir Arthur Quiller Couch lived was just above an oddly shaped metal lighthouse beside the river and where the ferry to Polruan leaves during the summer months
Fowey town and the harbour featured in many of his novels under the name of 'Troy'. There he remained settled for more than 50 years, writing more than sixty books, including novels, short stories, literary criticism and poetry. Not least among his achievements was editing “Oxford Book of English Verse, 1250-1900”, which appeared in 1900.
He was knighted in 1910, and was appointed Professor of English Literature at Cambridge University two years later, where he had helped to establish the undergraduate study of English literature.
His son Bevil also went to Oxford and went on to be an artillery office, during World War I. He died in Germany during the great flu epidemic of 1919. His daughter Foy would become friends with Daphne Du Maurier, whom she asked to posthumously finish and publish Q's Castle D'Or, a tale where the legendary Tristan and Iseult are transplanted to Cornwall.
Quiller-Couch was an active worker in local politics for the Liberal party. He was also Commodore of the Royal Fowey Yacht Club from 1911 until his death. Elected mayor of Fowey in1937
Died on 12 May 1944 at Fowey, from cancer of the mouth., and was buried there. He died leaving his autobiography, “Memories and Opinions”, unfinished. This was published the following year.
His later novels include:
* The Blue Pavilions (1891)
* The Ship of Stars (1899)
* Hetty Wesley (1903)
* The Adventures of Harry Revel (1903)
* Fort Amity (1904)
* The Shining Ferry (1905)
* Sir John Constantine (1906)
A brief essay on Quiller-Couch's numerous ghost stories, a form to which he returned at intervals throughout his long career, may be found in S. T. Joshi's The Evolution of the Weird Tale (2004).
Books by Sir Arthur Quiller Couch
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