Tartarus Press


Please note:

The Life of Arthur Machen by John Gawsworth is no longer in print.









Bibliography item 87



by John Gawsworth.

Edited by Roger Dobson, with an Introduction by Barry Humphries.


Description: Sewn hardback printed on 130gsm acid-free paper, and bound by Bath Press in brown wibalin cloth stamped in gold, with silk ribbon marker and head and tailbands.

Pages: 394 + xxv. 75 illustrations.

Limitation: 250 copies.

ISBN: No ISBN assigned.

Publication: 3rd March 2005 (in association with the Friends of Arthur Machen and Reino de Redonda.)

Price: Not for sale - available only to members of the Friends of Arthur Machen.

Notes: Each copy of Gawsworth's Life of Arthur Machen is accompanied by the booklet Hail, O King! The Last Days of John Gawsworth by Roger Dobson, and a dvd of the BBC 'Line-Up' documentary on Gawsworth, narrated by Barry Humphries, originally released by The Friends of Arthur Machen in 2005.


In the 1930s Arthur Machen was approaching the end of a long literary career when the poet John Gawsworth cast himself as Machen’s Boswell. Gawsworth industriously recorded details of his mentor’s life and work, composing a major biography that contained a wealth of previously unknown detail. However, it remained unpublished until 2005, when it was made available to the Friends of Arthur Machen as a limited edition hardback. This new paperback reprint is designed to reach a wider audience.

Gawsworth vividly charts the story of ‘the flower-tunicked priest of nightmare’, from Machen’s idyllic childhood amid the beauties of Monmouthshire, through the lonely, poverty-stricken years in London that later inspired those lyrical masterpieces The Hill of Dreams and Far Off Things. Machen’s joyous days as a ‘strolling player’ are contrasted with his troubled time as the star reporter on the London Evening News, as he watched in astonishment as his minor tale ‘The Bowmen’ blossomed into the enduring wartime legend of the Angels of Mons. Then, in the 1920s, Machen was transformed into a cult figure in the United States and acclaimed as an artistic genius by authors such as Vincent Starrett, James Branch Cabell and Ben Hecht.

Gawsworth himself fell on hard times later in life, and in his Introduction Barry Humphries, who knew him in the 1960s, reflects on the ageing poet’s decline into alcoholism and penury, when all he had to sustain him were his memories of past glories.


Reprint: item 87a

Description: Paperback edition

Pages: 398 + xxv, + index.

ISBN: 9781905784554.

Publication: 21st June 2013.

Price: £19.95.

Notes: This paperback edition was accompanied by the booklet Hail, O King! while stock lasted



'Excellently edited by Roger Dobson who displays an impressive knowledge of Machen . . . is an extraordinary achievement'. Phil Baker, Times Literary Supplement

'Sumptuous.' Simon Rogers, Book and Magazine Collector

Copyright Tartarus Press 2017      Contact     Submissions