Elizabeth Louisa Moresby

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Elizabeth Louisa "Lily" Moresby (1862 – 3 January 1931) was a British-born novelist who became the first prolific, female fantasy writer in Canada.[1]

The daughter of the Royal Navy Captain John Moresby,[2] Moresby lived and traveled widely in the East, in Egypt, India, China, Tibet and Japan but settled eventually in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada in 1919.[2] There is, however, some degree of uncertainty about her early life.[3]

Moresby was 60 years old by the time she started writing her novels, which commonly had an oriental setting.[4][5] She also wrote under the names Lily Adams Beck, Elizabeth Louisa Beck, Eliza Louisa Moresby Beck, Lily Moresby Adams[1][4] and E. Barrington.[6]

She was married twice: first to a Royal Navy commander Edward Western Hodgkinson who died around 1910 and then, in 1912, to retired solicitor Ralph Coker Adams Beck.[6]

She began her career by writing for The Atlantic Monthly, Asia, and the Japanese Gassho. These were gathered into a collection in 1926.[1] According to the historian Charles Lillard, she was also a distinguished writer of esoteric works such as The Story of Oriental Philosophy (1928) and The Splendor of Asia (1926). She has been noted as a major writer of Theosophy.[1] Beck's stories collected in The Opener of the Gate feature an occult detective inspired by the "John Silence" stories of Algernon Blackwood.[5] Glorious Apollo, a fictionalized biography of Byron by E. Barrington, was a bestseller during the 1920s.[7] The 1929 film The Divine Lady was based on her 1924 novel also published under the E. Barrington pseudonym.[8]

Beck continued to write until her death in 1931 in Kyoto, Japan.[1]


  • The Ninth Vibration And Other Stories [written as: Lily Adams BECK], (1922)
  • The Ladies [written as: E BARRINGTON], (1922)
  • The Key Of Dreams [written as: Lily Adams BECK], (1922)
  • The Perfume Of The Rainbow... [written as: Lily Adams BECK], (1923)
  • The Chaste Diana [written as: E BARRINGTON], (1923)
  • The Treasure Of Ho [written as: Lily Adams BECK], (1924)
  • The Gallants [written as: E BARRINGTON], (1924)
  • The Divine Lady [written as: E BARRINGTON], (1924)
  • Glorious Apollo [written as: E BARRINGTON], (1925)
  • The Way Of Stars [written as: Lily Adams BECK], (1925)
  • The Exquisite Perdita [written as: E BARRINGTON], (1926)
  • Dreams And Delights [written as: Lily Adams BECK], (1926)
  • The Splendor Of Asia (also titled: Life Of The Buddha) [written as: L A BECK], (1926)
  • The Glory Of Egypt [written as: Louis MORESBY], (1926)
  • The House Of Fulfilment [written as: Lily Adams BECK], (1927)
  • The Thunderer [written as: E BARRINGTON], (1927)
  • Rubies [written as: Louis MORESBY / Lily Adams BECK], (1927)
  • The Openers Of The Gate [written as: Lily Adams BECK], (1928)
  • The Empress Of Hearts [written as: E BARRINGTON], (1928)
  • Captain Java [written as: Louis MORESBY], (1928)
  • The Story Of Oriental Philosophy [written as: Lily Adams BECK], (1928)
  • The Way Of Power: Studies In The Occult [written as: Lily Adams BECK], (1928)
  • The Garden Of Vision [written as: Lily Adams BECK], (1929)
  • The Laughing Queen (also titled: Cleopatra) [written as: E BARRINGTON], (1929)
  • The Duel Of Queens [written as: E BARRINGTON], (1930)
  • The Joyous Story Of Astrid [written as: Lily Adams BECK], (1931)
  • The Irish Beauties [written as: E BARRINGTON], (1931)
  • Anne Boleyn [written as: E BARRINGTON], (1932)
  • The Ghost Plays Of Japan [written as: Lily Adams BECK], (1933)
  • The Garden Of Vision [written as: Lily Adams BECK], (1933)
  • The Great Romantic [written as: E BARRINGTON], (1933)
  • Dream Tea [written as: Lily Adams BECK], (1934)
  • The Graces [written as: E BARRINGTON], (1934)
  • The Wooing Of The Queens [written as: E BARRINGTON], (1934)
  • The Crowned Lovers [written as: E BARRINGTON], (1935)
  • A Beginner's Book Of Yoga [written as: Lily Adams BECK] [edited by D M BRAMBLE], (1937)

Source: [9]


  1. ^ a b c d e BC BookWorld, a site dedicated to provide information about authors and books pertaining to British Columbia.
  2. ^ a b Clara Thomas, Canadian Novelists 1920-1945, Longmans, Green and Company, Toronto, 1946 p. 10-11
  3. ^ Bosher, J F (2010). Imperial Vancouver Island: Who Was Who, 1850-1950. pp. 130–31. ISBN 1450059635. But her identity is uncertain. 
  4. ^ a b History For Sale, brief but seemingly good biography of Lily Adams Beck.
  5. ^ a b John Grant and John Clute, The Encyclopedia of Fantasy, "Beck, L(ily) Adams", pp. 99-100, ISBN 0-312-19869-8
  6. ^ a b "Beck, Elizabeth Louisa Moresby". Canada's Early Women Writers. Simon Fraser University. 
  7. ^ Hart, James David (1950). The Popular Book: A History of America's Literary Taste. p. 237. ISBN 0520005384. 
  8. ^ Reid, John Howard (2013). History in Movies Hollywood Style. p. 23. ISBN 1304056023. 
  9. ^ "Author - Elizabeth Louisa MORESBY, Mrs BECK". Author and Book Info. 

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