Arthur Morrison Biography


(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

Arthur Morrison was born on November 1, 1863, in Poplar, England, the son of an engine fitter. Morrison seems to have desired to sever his working-class connections, for as an adult he referred to his father as a professional and asserted that he had been born in Kent, though his birth certificate indicates otherwise. His humble origins influenced him deeply; as he grew, he became a stalwart champion of talent and upward mobility as opposed to the stratification of class.

At the age of twenty-three, Morrison became a clerk for the Beaumont Trustees, a charitable organization, in the administration of the People’s Palace, a social improvement facility in the East End. Here his principal interest was in cultural activities—musical performances, debates and lectures, and club and society meetings. He became a subeditor of the Palace Journal and wrote articles on sports and other subjects for various periodicals. In 1890, he began working as a freelance journalist. He was married to Elizabeth Thatcher, whom he had met at the People’s Palace. In 1893, a son, Guy, was born to them.

In the process of becoming established as a writer, Morrison embarked on a study of the occult, which resulted in The Shadows Around Us: Authentic Tales of the Supernatural, published in 1891. That same year, his article describing the respectable monotony of a street in the East End aroused the interest of W. E. Henley, editor of the National...

(The entire section is 442 words.)