1 minute read

Forrest Reid Biography

(1875–1947), The Kingdom of Twilight, Garden God: A Tale of Two Boys, Following Darkness

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: David Rabe Biography to Rhinoceros (Rhinocéros)

Ulster novelist, born in Belfast where he spent most of his life, educated at Cambridge University. His work combines a sense of the numinous with an appreciation of the mundane, particularly as evidenced in bourgeois provincial Ulster life. His first book, The Kingdom of Twilight (1904), was followed by Garden God: A Tale of Two Boys (1905), dedicated to his admired Henry James who would not acknowledge it, presumably because of its homoeroticism. Subsequent novels include Following Darkness (1912), a rich account of a sensuous and appreciative boy growing up in Ulster and experiencing intimations of the life of the spirit (this was later reworked into Peter Waring, 1937); Demophon (1927), which recreates a Greek mythic world; and Brian Westby (1934), a study of an estranged father and son in an Ulster seaside resort implicitly representing a Socratic ideal. His trilogy Uncle Stephen (1931), The Retreat (1936), and Young Tom (1944) moves backwards in time so that the final volume portrays the central figure, Tom Barber, as a boy enjoying an intense rapport with Nature. Reid was also the author of an autobiography, Apostate (1926), and its sequel, Private Road (1940), which describes the genesis of his novels, with critical studies of W. B. Yeats and Walter de la Mare.

Additional topics