To Eden Phillpotts

April 15, 2012 at 7:05 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , )

Agatha Christie opened her novel Peril at End House with a dedication:

To Eden Phillpotts

to whom I shall always be grateful for

his friendship and the encouragement

he gave me many years ago

Immediately, I was intrigued.

Eden Phillpotts

Eden Phillpotts was an English author, poet, and dramatist born in 1862 in India.  He lived near the Christie household when Agatha was young and still unpublished.  She visited him reguarlary under the advisement of her mother, so he could mentor her and guide her writing into a lifelong career.  Phillpotts was the first professional writer to read any of Agatha’s unpublished pieces.

A letter survives of some of the advice he had to bestow on the young budding writer:

“You have a great feeling for dialogue… You should stick to gay, natural dialogue.  Try and cut all the moralizations out of your novels; you are much too fond of them and nothing is more boring to read.  Try and leave your characters alone, so that they can speak for themselves, instead of always rushing in to tell them what they ought to say, or to explain to the reader what they mean by what they are saying.  That is for the reader to judge for himself.” ( www.poirot.us )

Phillpotts’ family moved from India when he was three years old.  At seventeen, he worked as a clerk for an insurance company, where he fell in love with theatre and decided to become an actor.  When he realized acting wasn’t for him, he pursued a career in writing instead.  So young when he began, its no wonder he enjoyed encouraging another young talent when he saw one.   Phillpotts’ own first publication was his poem “The Witches Cauldron” which kicked off a slew of published articles, reviews, short stories, plays, and novels.  Later, he was know to also write under the name Harrington Hext.

Phillpotts was known to befriend many of history’s greats: Arthur Conan Doyal, Henry James, George Bernard Shaw, Arnold Bennett, Jerome K. Jerome, and obviously Agatha Christie.  As a sign of both friendship and his faith in Christie’s writing ability, Phillpotts introduced Christie to his agent at Hughes Massie.  The dedicated novel Peril at End House was the seventh in the Hercule Poirot series, published in 1932.  Its nice to know that she fit in a dedication to a friend and advisor long before his death in 1960, many times friends are not so lucky to appreciate each other prior to memorial memos.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: