George Warwick Deeping (28 May 1877 – 20 April 1950) was a prolific English novelist and short story writer, whose best-known novel was Sorrell and Son (1925).
Born in Southend-on-Sea, Essex, into a family of doctors, Warwick Deeping was educated at Merchant Taylors' School. He proceeded to Trinity College, Cambridge, to study medicine and science (receiving his MA in March 1902), then went to Middlesex Hospital to finish his medical training. During the First World War, he served in the Royal Army Medical Corps. Deeping later gave up his job as a doctor to become a full-time writer. He married Phyllis Maude Merrill and lived for the rest of his life in "Eastlands" on Brooklands Road, Weybridge, Surrey.
He was one of the best-selling authors of the 1920s and 1930s, with seven of his novels making the best-seller list. Deeping was a prolific writer of short stories, which appeared in such British magazines as Cassell's, The Story-Teller, and The Strand. He also published fiction in several US magazines, including the Saturday Evening Post and Adventure. All of the short stories and serialised novels in US magazines were reprints of works previously published in Britain. Well over 200 of his original short stories and essays that appeared in various British fiction magazines were never seen in book form. Those works are now available in the multi-volume "Lost Stories" collection.
His early work is dominated by historical romances. His later novels more usually dealt with modern life, and were critical of many tendencies of twentieth-century civilisation. His standpoint was generally that of a passionate individualism, distrustful both of ruling elites and of the lower classes, who were often presented as a threat to his embattled middle-class protagonists. His most celebrated hero is Captain Sorrell M.C., the ex-officer who after the First World War is reduced to a menial occupation in which he is bullied by those of a lower social class and less education. Deeping's novels often deal with controversial issues. In her 2009 study, The Ordeal of Warwick Deeping, Mary Grover lists these:
- social work and medicine in the slums (Roper's Row, 1929; The Impudence of Youth, 1946; Paradise Place, 1949.)
- gender ambiguity (The Return of the Petticoat, 1909)
- alcoholism (A Woman's War, 1907; The Woman at the Door, 1937; The Dark House, 1941)
- euthanasia (Sorrell and Son (1925); The Dark House, 1941)
- wife abuse and justifiable homicide (The Woman at the Door, 1937)
- shell shock (The Secret Sanctuary, 1923)
- rape (The White Gate, 1913)
- pollution of the water supply (Sincerity, 1912)
Despite these themes, Deeping got little recognition as a serious writer. George Orwell, whose political beliefs were very different from Deeping's, and who in his dismissal of Deeping was typical of highbrow left-wing critics of the time, dismissed him as being among the 'huge tribe' of writers who 'simply don't notice what is happening'.
Books by Warwick Deeping
- Uther and Igraine (1903), his first published novel
- Love Among the Ruins (1904)
- The Slanderers (1904)
- The Seven Streams (1905)
- Bess of the Woods (1906)
- The Return of the Petticoat (1907)
- Bertrand of Brittany (1908)
- Mad Barbara, also known as These White Hands (1908)
- The Red Saint (1909)
- The Rust of Rome (1910)
- Fox Farm, also known as The Eyes of Love (1911)
- Joan of the Tower (1911)
- The Lame Englishman (1910)
- Sincerity, also known as The Challenge of Love, The Strong Hand (1912)
- The House of Spies (1913)
- The White Gate (1913)
- The Pride of Eve (1914)
- The Shield of Love, also known as King Behind The King (1914)
- Marriage by Conquest (1915)
- Unrest, also known as Bridge of Desire (1916)
- Martin Valliant (1917)
- Countess Glika (1919)
- Valour (1919)
- Second Youth, also known as The Awakening (1919)
- The Prophetic Marriage (1920)
- The House of Adventure (1921)
- Lantern Lane (1921)
- Orchards, also known as The Captive Wife(1922)
- Apples of Gold (1923)
- The Secret Sanctuary or The Saving of John Stretton (1923)
- Three Rooms (1924)
- Suvla John (1924)
- Sorrell and Son (1925)
- Doomsday (1927)
- Kitty (1927)
- Old Pybus (1928)
- Roper's Row (1929)
- Exile (1930)
- The Short Stories of Warwick Deeping, also known as Stories of Love, Courage, and Compassion (1930)
- The Ten Commandments, also known as The Road (1931)
- Old Wine and New (1932)
- Smith (1932)
- Two Black Sheep (1933)
- Seven Men Came Back (1934)
- The Man on the White Horse (1934)
- Two In a Train and Other Stories (1935)
- Sackcloth Into Silk, also known as The Golden Cord (1935)
- No Hero—This (1936)
- Blind Man's Year (1937)
- The Malice of Men (1938)
- Fantasia, also known as Bluewater (1939)
- The Man Who Went Back (1940)
- The Dark House (1941)
- Corn in Egypt (1941)
- I Live Again (1942)
- Mr Gurney and Mr Slade, also known as The Cleric's Secret (1944)
- The Impudence of Youth (1946)
- Reprieve (1945)
- Laughing House (1946)
- Portrait of a Playboy, also known as The Playboy (1947)
- Paradise Place (1949)
- Old Mischief (1950)
The following were published posthumously
- Time to Heal (1952)
- Man in Chains (1953)
- The Old World Dies (1954)
- Caroline Terrace (1955)
- The Serpents Tooth (1956)
- The Sword and the Cross (1957)
- The Lost Stories of Warwick Deeping – Volumes I – V (2013, 2014) – A total of over 2500 pages, containing over 200 short stories, novellas, and essays. These works were never published in book form and only appeared in British and American fiction magazines in the 1910s-1930s, such as The Story-Teller, The New Magazine, Cassell's Magazine of Fiction, and The Strand.
Movies based on Deeping's novels belong, with two exceptions, to the silent era. Unrest was filmed in 1920, Fox Farm in 1922, and Doomsday in 1928. Kitty (1929), directed by Victor Saville, was one of the first British talkies (only the second half of the film had a soundtrack).
Sorrell and Son (about an officer who after the First World War finds himself unemployable except in a menial capacity, but who is determined to give his son the best education possible) was filmed three times: It first appeared in 1927 as a silent movie, was remade in 1934 as a sound film, and turned into a TV mini-series in 1984.
- "University intelligence". The Times (36711). London. 10 March 1902. p. 11.
- "Deeping, George Warwick (DPN895GW)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
- Ruth Franklin. Readers of the Pack: American Best-Selling Bookforum. Summer 2011.
- Jones, Robert Kenneth. The Lure of "Adventure". Wildside Press, 2007, (p.27)
- Mary Grover,The Ordeal of Warwick Deeping(Madison: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2009)
- The Ordeal of Warwick Deeping, 60.
- George Orwell, 'Inside the Whale', New Directions in Prose and Poetry (1940).
- Tuck, Donald H. (1974). The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy. Chicago: Advent. p. 134. ISBN 0-911682-20-1.
|Wikisource has original text related to this article:|
- Works by Warwick Deeping at Project Gutenberg
- Works by or about Warwick Deeping at Internet Archive
- Works by Warwick Deeping at Project Gutenberg of Australia