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Noyes, Alfred

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

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(1880-1958) UK poet and man of letters, often resident in the USA or Canada; best known during his life for extremely conservative lyric verse and for long narrative poems like The Flower of Old Japan: A Dim, Strange Tale for All Ages (1903 chap) or The Forest of Wild Thyme: A Tale for Children Under Ninety (1905 chap), which sentimentalize the Matter of Japan in fantasy terms, with fairies present; and The Torchbearers (1922-1930 3vols), which dramatizes the march of science. In several novels Gordon R Dickson praised his lyric poetry. He wrote some fantasy and horror in the form of narrative poems assembled in Tales of the Mermaid Tavern (coll 1914) (see Club Story); in Mystery Ships (Trapping the "U" Boat) (coll 1916), which contains slightly fantasticated nonfiction and a long narrative poem featuring a ghost, all focused on World War One; and in the form of prose tales assembled in Walking Shadows: Sea Tales and Others (coll 1918) and The Hidden Player (coll 1924). Beyond the Desert: A Tale of Death Valley (1920 chap) and The Devil Takes a Holiday (1955) are fantasies. The Secret of Pooduck Island (1943) is a juvenile. Of sf interest is a Post-Holocaust novel, The Last Man (1940; vt No Other Man 1940), in which a doomsday Ray stops all human hearts, petrifying the corpses. The Last Man figure soon meets a women, herself pursued by a Mad Scientist, and they all finally reach Assisi, which has been miraculously saved. As close to sf as his Poetry ever came, If Judgement Comes: A Poem (1941 chap) is a kind of Posthumous Fantasy [see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below] in which Hitler is judged for his misdeeds in World War Two.

Noyes was a fervent Roman Catholic (converted in 1930), an ardent anti-Modernist, a vigorous Japanophile and a defender of Charles Parnell (1846-1891) and Voltaire (though with the intent of proving him a closet Christian). [JC]

see also: End of the World; Weapons.

Alfred Noyes

born Wolverhampton, Staffordshire: 16 September 1880

died Ryde, Isle of Wight: 28 June 1958


collections and story poems


previous versions of this entry

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