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Patrick Hamilton (Patrick Anthony Walter Hamilton) Biography

(1904–62), (Patrick Anthony Walter Hamilton), homeless, Craven House, The Midnight Bell, The Siege of Pleasure

English novelist and dramatist, born in Hassocks, Sussex, educated at Westminster School. He was described by Priestley as ‘above all the novelist of the homeless’; most of his novels focus on the seedier side of urban life and the dispossessed, and the shabby boarding-house setting of his novel Craven House (1926) was a characteristic background. A trilogy (The Midnight Bell, 1929; The Siege of Pleasure, 1932; and The Plains of Cement, 1934), later published as Twenty Thousand Streets under the Sky (1935), was set mainly in a pub, ‘The Midnight Bell’, near Euston station. Impromptu in Moribundia (1939), a fierce satire on British society, reveals Hamilton's Marxist sympathies. Hangover Square (1941), a psychological drama set in London in 1939, concerns the hopeless infatuation of an alcoholic for the beautiful but unfaithful actress whom he eventually murders. Hamilton's later novels, mainly thrillers, include The Slaves of Solitude (1947) and The West Pier (1951). Among his plays are the thrillers Rope (1929), which was made into a film directed by Alfred Hitchcock in 1938, and Gas Light (1938; US title Angel Street, 1939) which was filmed in 1944. A Life by Nigel Jones appeared in 1991.

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Bernard Gutteridge Biography to Hartshill Warwickshire