James Hilton Biography


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

The “biographer” of a fictional schoolteacher named Mr. Chips, James Hilton was himself the son of a schoolmaster. Born at Leigh, England, on September 9, 1900, he was educated in the succession of schools where his father taught. Later, he attended Leys School and Christ’s College, Cambridge, where he received his bachelor’s degree in history and English in 1921. He not only distinguished himself in scholarship but also proved an able officer in the university Reserve Officer Training corps.{$S[A]Trevor, Glen;Hilton, James}

A professional writer at seventeen, when he published an article in the Manchester Guardian, Hilton published his first novel at the age of twenty. The royalties from Catherine Herself were so meager that he continued in journalism, writing from England two articles a week for the Dublin Irish Independent. His first financial success came from And Now Good-bye in 1931, which enabled him to give all his time and energy to fiction. That same year, Hilton published a mystery, Murder at School: A Detective Fantasia, under the pseudonym Glen Trevor. Republished as Was It Murder? in 1933, it did not appear under his own name until 1935 but has proved to be one of his more enduring works.

Commissioned to write a story to be published in a supplement of the British Weekly, Hilton wrote Good-bye, Mr. Chips a month before it was due while bicycling in...

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(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Clemens, Cyril. “My Friend James Hilton.” Hobbies 61 (July, 1956).

Crawford, John W. “The Utopian Dream: Alive and Well.” Cuyahoga Review, Spring/Summer, 1984.

Crawford, John W. “Utopian Eden of Lost Horizon.” Extrapolation 22 (Summer, 1981).

Eyster, Warren. Afterword to Lost Horizon, by James Hilton. New York: William Morrow, 1990.

Heck, Francis S. “The Domain as a Symbol of a Paradise Lost: Lost Horizon and Brideshead Revisited,” The Nassau Review 4 (1982).

Sibley, Carroll. “James Hilton.” In Barrie and His Contemporaries: Cameo Portraits of Ten Living Authors. Webster Groves, Mo.: International Mark Twain Society, 1936.

Weeks, Edward. Foreword to Good-bye, Mr. Chips, by James Hilton. Boston: Little, Brown, 1962.

Whissen, Thomas R. “Lost Horizon, James Hilton.” In Classic Cult Fiction: A Companion to Popular Cult Literature. New York: Greenwood Press, 1992.