Elizabeth Louisa Moresby

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

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 sixty 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]


  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 Comoany, 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 indentity 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. 

External links[edit]