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A. G. Macdonell (Archibald Gordon Macdonell) Biography

(1895–1941), (Archibald Gordon Macdonell), London Mercury, England, Their England, Autobiography of a Cad

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British novelist, born in India, educated at Winchester. Following two years of active service in Flanders, he was invalided out of the army in 1918 and rapidly established himself as a freelance journalist, becoming drama critic for the London Mercury in 1919. From 1922 to 1927 he was a member of staff with the League of Nations; he subsequently produced a succession of thrillers using the pseudonyms ‘Neil Gordon’ and ‘John Cameron’. England, Their England, the first of his books to appear under his own name, was published in 1933; the work's good-humoured but incisive satire of a wide range of English institutions appealed to the prevailing disillusionment of the time and earned Macdonell considerable renown. Class pretensions and political insincerity were among the chief targets of the elegantly written and memorably comic novel Autobiography of a Cad (1938). His numerous other works include the historical study Napoleon and His Marshalls (1934), the short stories of The Spanish Pistol (1939), and the novels How Like an Angel (1934), What Next Baby? (1939), and The Crew of the Anaconda (1940). Macdonell also contributed regularly to the Observer and made a highly valued series of broadcasts for the BBC's Empire Service in 1940, applying his keenly satirical sense of the absurd to undermining the claims of Nazi propaganda.

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