(1859-1933) Pseudonym of UK author Arthur Reed Ropes, mostly remembered for his one Horror novel, The Hole of the Pit (1914). A Cambridge don, he edited books in the original French and German by such authors as Jules Verne and Erckmann-Chatrian. He later went on to a career as a lyricist for musical comedies and light operettas, also publishing numerous poems. The Hole of the Pit, set during the English Civil War of 1642-1651, has often been compared to the work of William Hope Hodgson. Its setting is an isolated castle in a marshland near the British coastline. A small group of Royalists, holding out against the Puritans, is besieged by a largely unseen malignant entity that resides near the castle in the dark, seemingly bottomless, underwater Hole of the title. Its presence is made known only by greyish slimy tendrils, a foul odour and a taste for human flesh reflected in the disappearance, one by one, of the men defending the castle. The book is dedicated to M R James (1862-1936), but the theme of besiegement, the watery surroundings, the archaic language, the romantic subplot and the hints of the creature's Biological nature show a kinship with Hodgson.
This was long thought to be Ropes's only work of fiction, but in the late 1980s it was discovered that the anonymously published story "By One By Two and By Three" (December 1887 Temple Bar), later reprinted under the byline Stephen Hall, was also by him. It is a more conventional horror story about a young man who conjures up a vicious, demonic familiar that kills by tearing out the throats of its victims. [LW]
Arthur Reed Ropes
born Lewisham, London: 23 December 1859
died London: 11 September 1933
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