1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Hope, Anthony

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HOPE, ANTHONY, the pen-name of Anthony Hope Hawkins (1863–  ), British novelist, who was born on the 9th of February 1863, the second son of the Rev. E. C. Hawkins, Vicar of St Bride’s, Fleet Street, London. He was educated at Marlborough and Balliol College, Oxford, where he was president of the Union Society, and graduated with first classes in Moderations and Final Schools. He was called to the bar at the Middle Temple in 1877. He soon began contributing stories and sketches to the St James’s Gazette, and in 1890 published his first novel, A Man of Mark. This was followed by Father Stafford (1891), Mr Witt’s Widow (1892), Change of Air and Sport Royal and Other Stories (1893). By this time he had attracted by his vivacious talent the attention of editors and readers; but it was not till the following year that he attained a great popular success with the publication (May 1894) of The Prisoner of Zenda. This was followed a few weeks later by The Dolly Dialogues (previously published in separate instalments in the Westminster Gazette). Both books became parents of a numerous progeny. The Prisoner of Zenda, owing something to the Prince Otto of R. L. Stevenson, established a fashion for what was christened, after its fictitious locality, “Ruritanian romance”; while the Dolly Dialogues, inspired possibly by “Gyp” and other French dialogue writers, was the forerunner of a whole school of epigrammatic drawing-room comedy. The Prisoner of Zenda, with Mr Alexander as “Rupert Rassendyll,” enjoyed a further success in a dramatized form at the St James’s Theatre, which did still more to popularize the author’s fame. In 1894 also appeared The God in the Car, a novel suggested by the ambiguous influence on English society of Cecil Rhodes’s career; and Half a Hero, a complementary study of Australian politics. The same year saw further the publication of The Indiscretion of the Duchess, in the style of the Dolly Dialogues, and of another collection of stories named (after the first) The Secret of Wardale Court. In 1895 Mr Hawkins published Count Antonio, and contributed to Dialogues of the Day, edited by Mr Oswald Crawfurd. Comedies of Courtship and The Heart of the Princess Osra followed in 1896; Phroso in 1897; Simon Dale and Rupert of Hentzau (sequel of the Prisoner of Zenda) 1898; and The King’s Mirror, a Ruritanian romance with an infusion of serious psychological interest, 1899. The author was advancing from his light comedy and gallant romantic inventions to the graver kind of fiction of which The God in the Car had been an earlier essay. Quisante, published in 1900, was a study of English society face to face with a political genius of an alien type. Tristram of Blent (1901) embodied an ethical study of family pride. The Intrusions of Peggy reflected the effects on society of recent financial fashions. In 1904 he published Double Harness, and in 1905 A Servant of the Public, two novels of modern society, containing somewhat cynical pictures of the condition of marriage. With increasing gravity the novelist sacrificed some of the charm of his earlier irresponsible gaiety and buoyancy; but his art retained its wit and urbanity while it gained in grip of the social conditions of contemporary life. He wrote two plays, The Adventure of Lady Ursula (1898) and Pilkerton’s Peerage (1902), and his later novels include The Great Miss Driver (1908) and Second String (1909). Mr Hawkins’s attractive and cultured style and command of plot give him a high place among the modern writers of English fiction. In 1903 he married Miss Elizabeth Somerville Sheldon of New York.