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Gerald Bernard Francis Hamilton (c. 1888–1970) was a memoirist, critic and internationalist.
Born in Shanghai in the 1880s, but educated at Rugby School in England, he counted among his friends Winston Churchill, Aleister Crowley, Robin Maugham, Tallulah Bankhead and Christopher Isherwood, who wrote of Hamilton's remarkable personality and frequently shady dealings in his literary memoir Christopher and His Kind.
Hamilton was of Irish heritage and converted to Roman Catholicism. He hinted that his lineage was "faintly ducal," but it is unknown if he was directly related to anyone with a title. He was interned in the United Kingdom during the First World War because of his association with Roger Casement, the Irish Nationalist accused of homosexuality and later executed for consorting with the Germans. Hamilton's own homosexuality was only a thinly veiled secret. Churchill had the Communist-sympathising Hamilton temporarily interned during the Second World War because of his vocal opposition to the war.
Hamilton had earlier served as the model for Isherwood's character Arthur Norris in his novel Mr Norris Changes Trains (1935) (published in the U.S. as The Last of Mr. Norris). Hamilton derived from this the title for his memoir, Mr. Norris and I, which was published in 1956. An earlier memoir, As Young as Sophocles, was published in 1937, while a third memoir, The Way it Was With Me, was published in 1969.
Apart from Hamilton's works of autobiography, his books include Jacaranda, an account of a trip to South-Africa; Emma in Blue, about Lady Emma Hamilton and particularly her friendship with Marie Caroline of Austria while in Naples; and Blood Royal, a history of Queen Victoria's immediate descendants and relatives in Europe, and the haemophilia that afflicted the family.
Hamilton died in 1970 at the age of 82.
In popular culture
Later in his life Hamilton became friends with John Symonds, author and editor, who wrote Conversations with Gerald about their acquaintance.
There is a classic account of Hamilton in later life in Robin Maugham's second volume of autobiography, Search for Nirvana (1979).
- As Young as Sophocles, Secker & Warburg, 1937
- Mr Norris and I, Allan Wingate, 1956
- The Way it Was With Me, Leslie Frewin, London, 1969, ISBN 0-09-096560-4
- Jacaranda, Sidgwick & Jackson, London, 1961
- Emma in Blue, Allan Wingate, 1957
- Blood Royal, Times Publishing/ Anthony Gibbs & Phillips, 1964
- Page, Norman. Auden and Isherwood: the Berlin Years. Palgrave Macmillan, 2000.
- Symonds, John. Conversations with Gerald, Duckworth, 1974. ISBN 0-7156-0815-0