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About the Author: Stanley J. Weyman

Admired by renowned authors such as Stevenson, Wilde, and Rafael Sabatini, Stanley John Weyman is today a forgotten literary giant of the late 19th century. While for years his best-selling historical romances enchanted thousands of readers, today his books are mostly neglected.

Stanley Weyman (pronounced Wyman) was the second of three sons born to solicitor Thomas Weyman and his wife Mary Maria Black on August 7, 1855, at 54 Broad Street, Ludlow, Shropshire. He attended King Edward VI Grammar School, Shrewsbury School (after age 16) and obtained a second class degree in Modern History at Christ Church, Oxford in 1877. As History Master at King's School, Chester, he served under his future brother-in-law, Rev'd. George Preston.

In Ludlow in 1879 he read for the Bar and was called in 1881, to begin a disappointing law career with Weyman, Weyman and Weyman, the family law firm. He has been described as nervous, shy, short in height and a poor cross-examiner and was said to have angered a judge because of these shortcomings. It is to our blessing that Weyman's law career was unsatisfactory. As a result, he was able to devote his ample spare time to writing. James Payn, editor of Cornhill Magazine, encouraged him to tackle larger literary works. The House of the Wolf was serialized in the English Illustrated Magazine in 1888/89 and was published in 1890 after Weyman contacted literary agent, A. P. Watt. This first book received no less than six rejections by publishers. Two additional books, The New Rector and The Story of Francis Cludde, were published in 1891 and these allowed him to become a full-time novelist.

Beginning his professional literary career in middle age, Weyman had a lifetime of experience to share including the insights gained from his extensive travels. On one notable vacation in the south of France in 1886, for a "weakness in the lungs" in the company of his younger brother Arthur, both were arrested as spies for sketching and crossing the border into Spain. They were detained for 24 hours until the British Ambassador helped them.

Experiences such as these are reflected in his novels. Stanley Weyman was a man of few words but those that were given were meant to be savoured. As an author, he had an uncanny way of using precisely the correct phrase. With his eloquent and extraordinary use of language, he painted a vivid picture of life and human emotion. His work is finely honed by a razor sharp mind that combines the skill of a great storyteller and an Oxford scholar's love of history.

Weyman's fame stands on the foundation of his historical, romantic fiction. The 15 novels written between 1890 and 1904 are set amidst the turmoil of 16th and 17th century France. Weyman was one of the first authors to 'cast the romance of adventure' in the historical framework. He was able to resurrect the great heroes and bring them to life by his loving hand. This author claimed: "The graves of our heroes--the real heroes--move us; the doors through which the famous dead have passed are sacred to us." Stanley Weyman regarded himself as fortunate that the timing of his early novels followed closely the popular historical fiction of Alexandre Dumas in France.


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Goodreads rating: 3.38

Paperback, Published in Feb 2006 by Aegypan

ISBN10: 1598187562 | ISBN13: 9781598187564

Page count: 256

While for years his historical romances enchanted thousands of readers Robert Louis Stevenson and Oscar Wilde were among the enthusiasts but today his books are largely neglected. About a hundred and thirty years ago, when the third George, whom our grandfathers knew in his blind dotage, was a young and sturdy bridegroom; when old Q., whom 1810 found peering from his balcony in Piccadilly, deaf, toothless, and a skeleton, was that gay and lively spark, the Earl of March; when bore and boreish were words of haut ton, unknown to the vulgar, and the price of a borough was 5,000l.; when gibbets still served for sign-posts, and railways were not and highwaymen were -- to be more exact, in the early spring of the year 1767, a traveling chariot-and-four drew up about five in the evening before the inn at Wheatley Bridge, a short stage from Oxford on the Oxford road. A gig and a couple of post-chaises, attended by the customary group of stablemen, topers, and gossips already stood before the house, but these were quickly deserted in favor of the more important equipage. The drawers in their aprons trooped out, but the landlord, foreseeing a rich harvest, was first at the door of the carriage, and opened it with a bow such as is rarely seen in these days. "Will your lordship please to alight?" he said. "No, rascal!" cried one of those within. "Shut the door!"

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