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Hayter, Alethea

Entry updated 27 February 2019. Tagged: Author.

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(1911-2006) Egyptian-born UK editor and author, never affiliated to an academic institution, whose nonfiction work (not unusually for a non-institutional scholar) was significantly innovative; she is probably best known for the bio-critical study, Opium and the Romantic Imagination (1968). Her early novels as by J C Fennessy include Eden Island (1941), whose Utopian impulses fade into gossip, The Way to the Sea (1950), a Ruritanian fantasy set partly in Illyria, and The Sonnet in the Bottle (1951), in which a Lost Race of Incans is discovered in the heart of Brazil. She wrote two novels taking off mainly from William Shakespeare's Hamlet (performed circa 1600; 1603; exp 1604). The Siege of Elsinor (1948) as by J C Fennessy is a tale for children set in a fabulated Europe ruled by characters from several of Shakespeare's plays; the young protagonists, who are King Hamlet and Ophelia's children, must save Denmark and their parents from Fortinbras's Invasion; at one point two of them traverse a vast Underground cavern which, half a mile Under the Sea, secretly connects Denmark to Scotland: when sung to, silkies give aid. Under her own name, Horatio's Version (1972) is a kind of Sequel by Other Hands to the play. Hayter was appointed OBE in 1970. [JC]

Alethea Catharine Hayter

born Cairo, Egypt: 7 November 1911

died London: 10 January 2006

works (selected)

nonfiction (highly selected)


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