Concept

David Lindsay (novelist)

Summary
David Lindsay (3 March 1876 – 16 July 1945) was a Scottish author best remembered for the philosophical science fiction novel A Voyage to Arcturus (1920). Lindsay was born into a middle-class Scottish Calvinist family in London, and was brought up partly in Jedburgh, where he had family background. He was educated at Colfe's School, Lewisham, and won a scholarship to university, but for financial reasons went into business, becoming an insurance clerk at Lloyd's of London. He was successful, but his career was interrupted by service in the First World War, starting at the age of 40. He first joined the Grenadier Guards, then the Royal Army Pay Corps, in which he was promoted to Corporal. After the war Lindsay and his young wife, Jacqueline Silver, moved to Porth near Newquay in Cornwall, and lived there from 1919 to 1929. He became a full-time writer there. His novel A Voyage to Arcturus was published in 1920, but it was not a success, selling fewer than six hundred copies. The work shows links with Scottish fantasists such as George MacDonald, whose work Lindsay was familiar with, and it had a central influence on C. S. Lewis's Out of the Silent Planet. J. R. R. Tolkien said that he had read the book "with avidity", and characterised it as a work of philosophy, religion and morality. Lindsay attempted to write a more commercial novel with his next work The Haunted Woman (1922), but this was barely more successful than Voyage. He continued to write novels, including the humorous potboiler The Adventures of Monsieur de Mailly, set in France in the time of Louis XIV. After publishing Devil's Tor in 1932 he found it increasingly difficult to get his work issued and spent much of his time on his last work, The Witch, which was not published in his lifetime. With his wife, Lindsay opened a boarding house in Brighton, but they did not prosper and their marriage came under considerable strain. The house was damaged by the first bomb to fall on Brighton in the Second World War, and Lindsay, who was in his bath at the time, never recovered from the shock.
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