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David Lindsay


David Lindsay was born in Blackheath, London in 1876 of Scottish parents. His father soon deserted the family (and later turned up in Canada). His family was very religious but Lindsay reacted against this upbringing. The family’s financial position meant that he could not go to university but started work in an insurance company, where he worked for over twenty years, except for brief spell in the army during World War I, though he never served abroad. His brother had some success as an author under the name of Alexander Crawford, though died young. His brother’s success persuaded him to try writing himself and he left his insurance job to write what became A Voyage to Arcturus. It had little success on publication. His next two novels also had limited success. He did have some success with Adventures of Monsieur de Mailly, a historical romance, which was published in the United States. He then worked on a long novel which was eventually published as Devil’s Tor but it, too, was unsuccessful. He became bitter and reclusive and the family had to take in boarders to make ends meet. He was injured when a bomb exploded near the house and then he got an abscess in his tooth, which was not treated and led to gangrene, which finally killed him in 1945. His reputation was just beginning to increase at that time but it was not till the 1960s that his genius was finally recognised.

Books about David Lindsay

Bernard Sellin: The Life and Works of David Lindsay

Other links

The Violet Apple (The Life and Works of David Lindsay)
David Lindsay
David Lindsay
Many Worlds: David Lindsay and alternative realities


1920 A Voyage to Arcturus
1922 The Haunted Woman
1923 Sphinx
1926 Adventures of Monsieur de Mailly (US: A Blade for Sale)
1932 Devil’s Tor
1976 The Violet Apple and The Witch
2003 A Christmas Play