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Noyes, Alfred

Entry updated 29 September 2020. 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), which sentimentalizes the Matter of Japan in fantasy terms, and The Torchbearers (1922-1930 3vols), which dramatizes the march of science. 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 Voltaire (though with the intent of proving him a closet Christian) and Charles Parnell (1846-1891). In several novels Gordon R Dickson has praised his lyric poetry. [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


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