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L. H. Myers (Leo Hamilton Myers) Biography

(1881–1944), (Leo Hamilton Myers), Arvat, The Orissers, The Near and the Far, Prince Jali

cambridge glory strange near

British novelist, son of the poet and psychical researcher F. W. H. Myers (18431901), born in Cambridge, educated at Eton and at Trinity College, Cambridge. A private income enabled him to occupy himself solely with writing, with the exception of a period during the First World War when he worked as a clerk in the Board of Trade. Arvat (1908), a verse-drama, was his first publication. The Orissers (1922), his first novel, establishes the conflict between spiritually affirmative and trivially materialistic attitudes to life as the sustaining theme of his subsequent work. The tetralogy forming his major achievement, The Near and the Far (1929), Prince Jali (1931), The Root and the Flower (1935), and The Pool of Vishnu (1940), is set in sixteenth-century India at the court of the Mogul emperor Akbar. Published in one volume as The Near and the Far in 1943, the books use their exotically idealized setting to project a profoundly imaginative treatment of modern spiritual impoverishment. The work contains Myers's satire on the Bloomsbury Group in its portrayal of the self-important aesthetes who congregate in ‘The Pleasance of the Arts’. His other novels are The Clio (1925), in which the aristocratic protagonists are estranged from their complacency on an Amazonian yachting adventure, and Strange Glory (1936), which sets its analysis of social and cultural values in the Louisiana swamps. Myers's espousal of communism as a possible route to the spiritually integrated society he sought to define is clearest in The Pool of Vishnu and Strange Glory. After suffering intermittently from severe depression, he committed suicide in 1944.

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