A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 
Editors
 
 
  RONALD FRASER
b.1888 d.1974
 
Sir Arthur Ronald Fraser wrote twenty seven novels and a few other miscellaneous books. He was a career diplomat, serving in Argentina , France and Egypt and was knighted in 1949 in recognition of a distinguished career.
 
Many of his novels are tinged with mystical fantasy, illumined by Fraserís deeply-held conviction that there is an order of reality superior to our familiar daily existence. His inspiration is drawn to some extent from Chinese spirituality, most notable in his early novel Landscape With Figures, about a Taoist Shangri-La of immortal sages: but more usually this is interpreted through very English characters and settings.
 
In The Flying Draper (1924) and The Fiery Gate (1943), he projects his visionary ideas through the character of the man in the street: a draper and a grocer respectively receive extraordinary powers which lead to some comparisons with the scientific romances of H.G. Wells. But these works are not typical of Fraser. His most distinctive and memorable book is surely Flower Phantoms (1926) in which a fey art-deco girl who works in Kew Gardens finds that her spiritual yearnings lead to a passionate mystic communion with an orchid. The exquisite prose, all redolent of the hothouses and their exotic occupants, is a remarkable experience in itself, but the hints of higher realms of consciousness also have a rarefied interest. A slightly more earthbound return to a similar theme - a young womanís spiritual awakening - is found in the novel which achieved the most acclaim in his lifetime, Rose Anstey (1930), in which the eponymous gamineís pantheistic explorations are set against the backdrop of an unconventional household . Again, a young womanís defiance of convention and ardent identification with the things of the spirit are proclaimed in Miss Lucifer (1939). It is these works, with their celebration of the liberation of the feminine psyche, which are at the heart of Fraserís vision. He later wrote a planetary trilogy with a butler, Trout, as its main character, encountering strange beings and landscapes. A Work of Imagination (Colin Smythe, 1974) is a spiritual meditation in prose poem form.

Mark Valentine

 
Novels
The Flying Draper, T.F. Unwin (London), 1924
 
Landscape With Figures, Fisher Unwin (London), 1925
(revised edition, Cape (London), 1952)
 
Flower Phantoms, Jonathan Cape (London), 1926
 
Rose Anstey, Jonathan Cape (London), 1930
 
Miss Lucifer, Jonathan Cape (London), 1939
 
The Fiery Gate, Jonathan Cape (London), 1943
 
A Visit from Venus, Jonathan Cape (London), 1958
 
Jupiter in the Chair, Jonathan Cape (London), 1958
 
Troutís Testament, Jonathan Cape (London), 1959
 
  
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Page updated 1st September 2004