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William Satchell Biography

(1860–1942), The Land of the Lost, The Greenstone Door, William Satchell

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: William Sansom (William Norman Trevor Sansom) Biography to Dr Seuss [Theodor Giesel] Biography

New Zealand novelist, born in England, educated partly in Germany. He emigrated to New Zealand in 1883 and worked at various occupations, from storekeeper to stockbroker, and published, among other novels and journalistic works, The Land of the Lost (1902) and The Greenstone Door (1914). Both were pioneering examples of the imaginative exploration of New Zealand landscape and history in fictional terms. The mythic resonance that Satchell attained in The Land of the Lost was to inspire later New Zealand writers; republished in 1971 with a perceptive Introduction by Kendric Smithyman, the book predates the writings of Jane Mander in its use of bleak North Island landscapes as a testing ground for spiritual as well as physical endurance. The Greenstone Door explored aspects of New Zealand history in the second half of the nineteenth century through the childhood recollections of a hero who is cared for by a Maori chief after his father is killed. The critical study William Satchell by Phillip Wilson appeared in 1968.

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