Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Arnold Dawson

Arnold Dawson (b. Islington, London, 13 November 1888; d. reg. Camberwell, July-September 1971)

Arnold Woodroffe Dawson was the second child of Charles James Dawson (1840-1904), a schoolmaster, and his wife, Ellen, née Cooper (c.1849-1894), who were married 29 May 1884 in St. Jude, Mildmay Grove, Islington.  Their first child was Lorna Pearl Dawson (1885-1970).  The father, as C.J. Dawson, published in August 1890 a textbook, Essays, Essay-writing and Paraphrasing: being models and hints for pupil teachers, scholarship candidates and students, followed in 1891 by a new edition, "sixth edition revised and enlarged by C. J. Dawson," of W. J. Dickinson's The Difficulties in Grammar and Analysis Simplified, originally published in 1878.

After the deaths of his parents, Arnold lived with his older half-brother, Charles Dawson. Arnold was educated at the Haberdashers' School and the Islington Training College. He served in W.W.I from 1915-1919 in the Roy West Kent Regiment. He married Jean Brown Wilson in Hampstead in early 1919. He had a later common-law wife called Nesta who died around 1960.

Arnold worked primarily as a journalist, at The Daily Herald from 1919 through 1930 (Literary Editor, 1927-1930), The Sun Graphic & Daily Sketch from 1931 through 1947, and at The British Weekly from 1947. He contributed to various journals including The Bookman, Clarion, and T.P.'s Weekly. In his final years he lived in a book-filled flat in Brixton in south London.  

In 1927, while Literary Editor at The Daily Herald, he started publishing a series of short stories under the title "Tales That Enthral".  A selection of these stories were collected in an anthology Tales That Enhtral: A Selection of Twenty-nine of the World's Best Short Stories, published by Richards in March 1930.  It is Arnold Dawson's only book. In the Introduction, he wrote:

This volume is an answer to numerous requests from Daily Herald readers who have followed with interest the series of short stories published in that newspaper during the past three years, and have written asking that a selection from them should be published in book form. In making the  selection I have endeavoured  to cover as wide a range as possible, and it will be found that there is a considerable variety of theme and treatment, which is not surprising in view of the fact that the authors represented include the writer of a “Sheik story” a thousand years old, the famous Italian, Giovanni Boccaccio, many nineteenth century masters of the short story, and several noted authors of our own day.  Humour and horror, irony, pathos and fantasy are all represented in these pages, and I think it may be claimed justly that each story is a little masterpiece of its kind.

He also noted that some of the stories were written specifically for the Daily Herald series, and claimed that E. Nesbit's contribution, "A Christmas Criminal" was printed for the first time in the series, being her last story, written on her death-bed, though that event occurred on 4 May 1924, nearly three years before the Daily Herald series began. Overall, though, the anthology delivers a good number of entertaining stories, a number of which are weird or fantastic. Here is the table of contents:

Tales That Enthrall ed. Arnold Dawson (London: Richards, 1930, 2/-, 256pp, hc)

Introduction · Arnold Dawson
A Romance of the Desert · Al-Asma’I
The Three Rings · Giovanni Boccaccio
Kirk Alloway Witches · Robert Burns
Dream Children · Charles Lamb
“El Verdugo” (The Executioner) · Honoré de Balzac
The Shot · Alexander Pushkin
A Tale of Terror · Thomas Hood
The Lost Hand of Zaleukos · Wilhelm Hauff
The Haunted and the Haunters · Lord Lytton
The Wicked Prince · Hans Andersen 
The Mummy’s Foot · Théophile Gautier
The Masque of the Red Death · Edgar Allan Poe
The Moss-Rose · Grenville Murray
The Passage of the Red Sea · Henri Murger
A Terribly Strange Bed · William Wilkie Collins
Journalism in Tennessee · Mark Twain
Our New Neighbors at Ponkapog · Thomas Bailey Aldrich
Tennessee’s Partner · Bret Harte
After Twenty Years · O. Henry
The Pearl of Love · H. G. Wells
Arvie Aspinall’s Alarm Clock · Henry Lawson
A Christmas Criminal · E. Nesbit
Many a Tear · M. P. Shiel
The Mother Stone · John Galsworthy
The Wag · Henri Barbusse
The Opening of the Door · M. P. Willcocks
A Love Tale of Two Common People · Joe Corrie
The Soul of Ivan the Peasant · Alexander Neveroff
Biographical Notes

NB: Thanks to Kate Stout for sharing information given in this entry. 

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