Morley Roberts (29 December 1857 – 8 June 1942) was an English novelist and short story writer, best known for The Private Life of Henry Maitland.
Life and work
Near the end of 1876 Roberts took a steerage passage to Australia and landed at Melbourne in January 1877. The next three years were spent in obtaining colonial experience, mostly on sheep stations in New South Wales, and Roberts then returned to London. For a time he worked in the war office and other government departments, but again went on his travels and had varied occupations in the United States and Canada between 1884 and 1886. He later travelled in Oceania, Australia, South Africa, amongst other parts of the world.
Roberts used his experiences freely in his books, the first being The Western Avernus (1887). Roberts began his long series of novels and short stories in 1890. Of his novels, Rachel Marr (1903) was highly praised by William Henry Hudson, and The Private Life of Henry Maitland (1912), based on the life of George Gissing the novelist, was possibly his best known book. Roberts also wrote essays, biography, drama and verse, and did some competent work in biology. He married Alice, daughter of the playwright Angiolo Robson Slous, and died in London aged 84 on 8 June 1942.
He was only a few years in Australia, but there are many Australian references both in his novels and his short stories. An exhaustive bibliography by Markus Neacey of his novels and other writings and writings about him can be found in the July 2012 number of English Literature in Transition. Roberts has featured in several articles in The Gissing Journal. Victorian Secrets have just published a scholarly edition of the Selected Stories of Morley Roberts (Brighton: Victorian Secrets, 2015), edited with an introduction by Markus Neacey.
- The Idlers (1906)
Short Stories include:
- King Billy of Ballarat and Other Stories, Lawrence & Bullen (London), 1892 (including: "Father and Son")
- Red Earth, Lawrence & Bullen (London), 1894 (including: "Wide Bay Bar".)
- The Keeper of the Waters, Skeffington & Son (London), 1898 (including: "The Anticipator".)
- Midsummer Madness, Eveleigh Nash (London), 1909 (including: "The Bood Fetish")
- "Roberts, Morley". Who's Who. Vol. 59. 1907. pp. 1495–1496.
- Nicola Barton's family tree
- Slous, Angiolo Robson (1866). True to the Core: A Story of the Armada. London: Tinsley Brothers.
- Neacey, Markus (2012). "A Bibliography of Morley Roberts's Writings". English Literature in Transition. 55 (3): 361–393.
- Neacey, Markus, "Arthur C. Clarke Looking Backward 1967-1898 and Morley Roberts Anticipating: A Literary Oddity," The Gissing Journal, October 2009, Volume XLV, pp.24-38; Neacey, Markus, "Morley Roberts' Literary Career in the 1880s and 1890s, Part One," The Gissing Journal, April 2012, Volume XLVIII, pp. 1-29; Neacey, Markus, "Morley Roberts' Literary Career in the 1880s and 1890s, Part Two," The Gissing Journal, July 2012, Volume XLVIII, pp. 23-40.
- The Independent - Volume 60, Issues 2992-3004 - Page 1043 1906 "Thus Morley Roberts's new story of The Idlers' in London society has more of what he calls "rotters" in it than any other book which has appeared this year. But he does not harrow the reader nor even the consciences of the "rotters" themselves.
- R.B. Russell (ed.). "Morley Roberts". A Guide to Supernatural Fiction.
- Neacey, Markus (2015). Selected Stories of Morley Roberts. Brighton: Victorian Secrets.
- Works by Morley Roberts at Project Gutenberg
- Works by or about Morley Roberts at Internet Archive
- Works by Morley Roberts at LibriVox (public domain audiobooks)
- Bibliography of works by Morley Roberts at Freeread
- Morley Roberts Papers, Ms. coll. 726. University of Pennsylvania: Rare Book & Manuscript Library.