Arthur Calder-Marshall

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Arthur Calder-Marshall (19 August 1908 – 17 April 1992) was an English novelist, essayist, critic, memoirist and biographer.

Life and career[edit]

Calder-Marshall was born in El Misti, Woodcote Road, Wallington, Surrey, the son of Alice (Poole) and Arthur Grotjan Marshall (later Calder-Marshall; 1875 –1958),[1][2] a civil engineer.[3] The elder Arthur was grandson of the sculptor William Calder Marshall (1813–1894). William Calder Marshall's father William Marshall (1780–1859), D.L. (Edinburgh), a goldsmith (including to the King in the early nineteenth century) and jeweller, had married Annie, daughter of merchant William Calder, Lord Provost of Edinburgh 1810-11, by his wife Agnes, a daughter of landed gentleman Hugh Dalrymple. The Marshall family were Episcopalian goldsmiths from Perthshire; the Calder family were merchants.[4]

A short, unhappy stint teaching English at Denstone College, Staffordshire, 1931–33, inspired his novel Dead Centre.[5] In the 1930s, Calder-Marshall adopted strong left-wing views. He joined the Communist Party of Great Britain[6] and was also a member of the London-based left-wing Writers and Readers Group which also included Randall Swingler, Sylvia Townsend Warner, Mulk Raj Anand, Maurice Richardson and Rose Macaulay.[7]

In 1937, Calder-Marshall wrote scripts for MGM although none appears to have been filmed.[8]

Calder-Marshall's fiction and non-fiction covered a wide range of subjects. He himself remarked, "I have never written two books on the same subject or with the same object."[9]

In the 1960s, Calder-Marshall took on commissioned work which included a novelisation of the Dirk Bogarde film Victim. He has additionally been proposed as the author of The Adventures of James Bond Junior 003½ a children's novel about British spy James Bond's nephew, published under the pseudonym R. D. Mascott.[10]

With his wife, writer Ara Calder-Marshall (born Violet Nancy Sales),[11] he was the father of the actress Anna Calder-Marshall and the grandfather of the actor Tom Burke.

Media adaptations[edit]

Orson Welles adapted The Way to Santiago in 1941 for RKO. However Welles's troubles with the studio saw to it that no film got made.[12]

James Mason purchased the film rights to Occasion of Glory, intending to make this project his directorial debut.[13] Mason hired Christopher Isherwood to write the script.[14]



"The Enthusiast; An Enquiry into the Life Beliefs and Character of the Rev. Joseph Leycester Lyne alias Fr. Ignatius,O.S.B., Abbot of Elm Hill, Norwich and Llanthony Wales" (1962, Faber and Faber; Facsimile reprint 2000, Llanerch Publishers, Felinfach)

Adult fiction[edit]


  • Two of a Kind (1933)
  • About Levy (1933)
  • At Sea (1934)
  • Dead Centre (1935)
  • Pie in the Sky (1937)
  • The Way to Santiago (1940)
  • A Man Reprieved (1949)
  • Occasion of Glory (1955)
  • The Scarlet Boy (1961)

Short fiction:

  • Crime Against Cania (1934)
  • A Pink Doll (1935)
  • A Date with a Duchess (1937)


  • Season of Goodwill (1965) (based on Every Third Thought by Dorothea Malm) [15]

As William Drummond:

Children's fiction[edit]

  • The Man from Devil's Island (1958)
  • The Fair to Middling (1959)

Adult non-fiction[edit]


  • The Magic of My Youth (1951)


  • Glory Dead (Trinidad) (1939)
  • The Watershed (Yugoslavia) (1947)


  • (With Edward J. H. O'Brien and J. Davenport) The Guest Book (1935 and 1936)
  • Challenge to Schools: A Pamphlet on Public School Education (1935)
  • The Changing Scene (essays on English society) (1937)
  • (With others) Writing in Revolt: Theory and Examples (1937)
  • The Book Front (1947)
  • No Earthly Command (biography of Alexander Riall Wadham Woods) (1957)
  • Havelock Ellis: A Biography (1959) US title The Sage of Sex: A Life of Havelock Ellis (1960)
  • The Enthusiast (biography of Joseph Leycester Lyne) (1962)
  • The Innocent Eye (biography of Robert Flaherty) (1963)
  • Wish You Were Here: The Art of Donald McGill (1966)
  • Lewd, Blasphemous, and Obscene: Being the Trials and Tribulations of Sundry Founding Fathers of Today's Alternative Societies (1972)
  • The Grand Century of the Lady (1976)
  • The Two Duchesses (1978)

Children's non-fiction[edit]

  • Lone Wolf: The Story of Jack London (1963)


Calder-Marshall edited and wrote the introduction to:

  • Tobias Smollett (1950)
  • The Bodley Head Jack London (four volumes: 1963–66)
  • Prepare to Shed Them Now: The Ballads of George R. Sims (1968)
  • Thomas Paine, The Rights of Man and Other Writings (1970)


  1. ^ Journal of the Institute of Electrical Engineers, vol. 4, issue 45, 1958, p. 510
  2. ^ The Admission Registers of St Paul's School from 1876 to 1905, Rev. Robert Barlow Gardiner, George Bell & Sons, 1906, p. 524
  3. ^
  4. ^ Seekers of Truth: The Scottish Founders of Modern Public Accountancy, T. A. Lee, JAI Press, 2006, pp. 246-7
  5. ^ Pritchard, J.W.H. Appreciation: Mevagissey autobiography, quietly received – Arthur Calder-Marshall. The Guardian (London, England). (2 May 1992): News: p28.
  6. ^ Andy Croft, A Weapon in the Struggle: the cultural history of the Communist Party in Britain Pluto Press, 1998. ISBN 0745312047, (p. 26).
  7. ^ Andy Croft, Comrade Heart: A Life of Randall Swingler. Manchester University Press, 2003. ISBN 0719063345 (p.71).
  8. ^ Motion Picture Herald, 1937, Volume 128, announces that MGM has signed four writers including Calder-Marshall.
  9. ^ Arthur Calder-Marshall; Obituary. Source: The Times (London, England). (22 April 1992): News: p13.
  10. ^ Palmer, Martyn. Rider on the storm; The Times (London, England), 15 July 2006. p.8
  11. ^ [1]
  12. ^
  13. ^,3997412
  14. ^ Isherwood, Christopher. Diaries: 1939–1960. Methuen, 1996.
  15. ^ Some authorities attribute this work to Arthur Marshall (broadcaster).

Additional sources[edit]

  • The Reader's Companion to Twentieth-Century Writers, Frank Kermode, Peter Parker eds. (London: Fourth Estate, 1995), page 126
  • Contemporary Authors New Revision Series, volume 72, Gale.
  • St. James Guide to Horror, Ghost & Gothic Writers, David Pringle, (St. James Press, 1998)
  • Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature: Volume 2, R. Reginald, Douglas Menville, Mary A. Burgess (Wildside Press LLC, 2010), pp. 840–1

External links[edit]