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de Morgan, John

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

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(1848-1926) UK author who misleadingly claimed to have been born in Ireland; in US (where he worked as a tax collector) from 1880; his name at birth was John Francis Morgan, but he may have changed it legally. He produced fantastic fiction, historical novels, miscellaneous works and Dime Novels, drawing very heavily on the work of H Rider Haggard for models and sources. His adult fantastic fiction included four H Rider Haggard parodies: HE: A Companion to SHE: Being a History of the Adventures of J. Theodosius Aristophano on the Island of Rapa Nui in Search of his Immortal Ancestor: With a Map and Numerous Illustrations (1887) as Anonymous, involving a search for Kallikrates, an Immortal who lives on Easter Island; "IT": A Wild, Weird History of Marvelous, Miraculous, Phantasmagorial Adventures in Search of HE, SHE and JESS, and Leading to the Finding of "IT": A Haggard Conclusion (1887) as Anonymous, with characters from King Solomon's Mines (1886) like Allan Quatermain, describing further adventures in East Africa seeking the immortal woman, culminating in the discovery of the Missing Link (see Apes as Human) and a clear statement about mutations (see Mutants); and King Solomon's Treasures (1887), which invokes a surviving pterodactyl (see Dinosaurs) and the immortal Macrobi. These works embodied an impressive background of accurate classical and ethnographic data. King Solomon's Wives (1887) as by Hyder Ragged (whom see) is sometimes erroneously attributed to de Morgan.

De Morgan later became a staff writer for Norman L Munro (see Dime-Novel SF) and wrote conventional dime novels. Lost in the Ice; Or, When Adventure Leads (4 January-8 March 1890 Golden Hours as "The Strange Adventures of Two New York Boys in the Realm of the Polar North"; 1914) describes a Lost Race of Old Norse near the North Pole, while Under the World (7 July-8 September 1894 Golden Hours as "Into the Maelstrom"; 1906) is concerned with a Utopian society (without crime or evil passions) in a cave world filled with breathable water under the Maelstrom. In Unknown Worlds; Or, The Search for the Missing Link (28 March-30 May 1896 Golden Hours; 1906), "In Search of the Gold of Ophir" (1899 Golden Hours) and "Bringing Home the Gold" (1899 Golden Hours) all deal with Missing Links (see Apes as Human; Evolution). "The Young Marooner; or, An American Robinson Crusoe" (26 December Brave and Bold Weekly) as by Frank Sheridan is highly derivative of Daniel Defoe but varies the Robinsonade theme by having its stranded Crusoe figure befriend an ape who (later joined by two others) does sterling work to help build the hero's stockade and other traditional construction projects. [EFB/DRL]

John de Morgan

born Lincolnshire: May 1848

died 1 May 1926



Haggard Parodies

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