Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch, 1863-1944


Biographical note

British author and literary critic.

In 1887, while he was at Oxford, he published Dead Man’s Rock, a romance in the vein of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, and he followed this up with Troy Town (1888) and The Splendid Spur (1889). Quiller-Couch is well known for his story “The Rollcall of the Reef”, based on the wreck of the HMS Primrose in 1807. He published in 1896 a series of critical articles, Adventures in Criticism, and in 1898 he completed Robert Louis Stevenson’s unfinished novel, St. Ives.

From his Oxford days he was known as a writer of excellent verse. With the exception of the parodies entitled Green Bays (1893), his poetical work is contained in Poems and Ballads (1896). In 1895 he published an anthology from the 16th- and 17th-century English lyricists, The Golden Pomp, followed in 1900 by the Oxford Book of English Verse, 1250–1900 (1900). Later editions of this extended the period covered up to 1918 and it remained the leading general anthology of English verse until Helen Gardner’s New Oxford Book of English Verse appeared in 1972.

In 1910 he published The Sleeping Beauty and other Fairy Tales from the Old French. He was the author of a number of popular novels with Cornish settings (collected edition as ‘Tales and Romances’, 30 vols. 1928–29).

He was appointed to the King Edward VII Professorship of English Literature at the University of Cambridge in 1912, and retained it for the rest of his life. His inaugural lectures as the professor of English literature were turned into the book On the Art of Writing.

Quiller-Couch was a noted literary critic, publishing editions of some of Shakespeare’s plays and several critical works, including Studies in Literature (1918) and On the Art of Reading (1920). He left his autobiography, Memories and Opinions, unfinished; it was nevertheless published in 1945.



Short stories

Short story collections

  • Noughts and Crosses: Stories, Studies and Sketches [Cassell, 1891]
    The Omnibus -- Forttunio -- The Outlandish Ladies -- Statement of Gabriel Foot, Highwayman -- The Return of Joanna -- Psyche -- The Countess of Bellarmine -- A Cottage in Troy -- Old Aeson -- Stories of Bleakirk -- A Dark Mirror -- The Small People -- The Major of Gantick -- The Doctor’s Foundling -- The Gifts of Feodore Himkoff -- Yorkshire Dick -- The Carol -- The Paradise of Choice -- Beside the Bee-Hives -- The Magic Shadow --
  • The Delectable Duchy [Cassell, 1893]
    Prologue -- The Spinster’s Maying -- Daphnis -- When the Sap Rose -- The Paupers -- Cuckoo Valley Railway -- The Conspiracy Aboard the “Midas” -- Legends of St Piran -- Love of Naomi -- From a Cottage in Gantick -- Woon Gate -- In the Train -- The Drawn Blind -- A Golden Wedding -- School Friends -- Parents & Children -- Two Monuments -- Egg-Stealing -- Seven-an’-Six -- The Regent’s Wager -- The Prince of Abyssinia’s Postbag
  • I Saw Three Ships and Other Winter Tales [Cassell, 1893]
    I Saw Three Ships -- The Haunted Dragoon -- A Blue Pantomime -- The Two Householders -- Disenchantment of ‘Lizabeth
  • Ia, & Other Tales [Cassell, 1896]
    Ia -- The Roll-Call of the Reef -- The Looe Die-Hards -- The Bishop of Eucalyptus -- A young Man’s Diary -- The Captain from Bath
  • Wandering Heath: Stories, Studies & Sketches [Cassell, 1896]
    Prologue -- The Roll-Call of the Reef -- The Looe Die-hards -- My Grandfather, Hendry Watty -- Jetsom -- Wrestlers -- The Bishop of Eucalyptus -- Widdershins -- Visitors at the Gunnel Rock -- Letters from Troy -- Legends -- Experiments
  • Old Fires and Profitable Ghosts: A Book of Stories [Cassell, 1900]
    Preface -- Oceanus -- The room of Mirrors -- The Lady of the Ship -- Frozen Margit -- Singular Adventure of a Small Free-Trader -- The Mystery of Joseph Laquedem -- Prisoners of War -- A Town’s Memory -- The Lady of the Red Admirals -- The Penance of John Emmet -- Elisha -- “Once Aboard the Lugger” -- Which?
  • The Laird’s Luck, and other Fireside Tales [Cassell, 1901]
    The Laird’s Luck -- Three Men of Badajos -- The Two Scouts -- Midsummer Fires -- Captain Dick and Captain Jacka -- The Poisoned Ice -- D’Arfet’s Vengeance -- Margery of Lawhibbet -- Phoebus on Halzaphron
  • The White Wolf and other Fireside Tales [Methuen, 1902]
    The Miracle of the White Wolf -- Sinbad on Burbator -- Victor -- The Capture of the Burgomeister Van der Werf -- King o’ Prussia -- The Man Who Could Have Told -- The Cellars of Rueda -- The Haunted Yacht -- Parson Jack’s Fortune -- The Burglary Club -- Concerning St. John of Jerusalem -- Cox versus Pretyman -- The Bridals of Ysselmonde -- Engand! -- John & the Ghosts -- Three Photographs -- The Talking Ships -- The Keepers of the Lamp -- Two Boys -- The Senior Fellow -- Ballast
  • Two Sides of the Face: Midwinter Tales [Macmillan, 1903]
    Stephen of Steens -- The Horror on the Stair -- The Mazed Election (1768) -- The Hotwells Duel -- Cleeve Court -- The Collaborators -- The Rider in the Dawn -- My Lady’s Coach
  • Shakespeare’s Christmas & other stories [Smith Elder, 1904]
    Shakespeare’s Christmas -- Ye Sexes, Give Ear! -- Captain Wyvern’s Adventures -- Frenchman’s Creek -- The man Behind the Curtain -- Rain of Dollars -- The Lamp & the Guitar
  • Merry-Garden and other stories [Methuen, 1907]
    Merry-Garden -- The Bend of the Road -- Hi-spy-hi! -- His Excellency’s Prize-Fight -- The Black Joke -- Where the Treasure Is -- A Jest of Ambialet
  • Corporal Sam and other stories [Smith Elder, 1910]
    Corporal Sam -- The Copernican Convoy -- Red Velvet -- The Jew on the Moor -- My Christmas Burglary -- The Mayor’s Dovecot: A Cautionary Tale -- News from Troy! -- Colonel Baigent’s Christmas -- Doctor Unonius -- Mutual Exchange, Limited
  • News from the Duchy [1913]
    Tom Tiddler’s Ground -- Pipes in Arcady -- Our Lady of Gwithian -- Pilot Matthey’s Christmas -- The Mont-Bazillac -- The Three Necklaces -- The Wren -- Not Here, O Apollo! -- Fiat Justitia Ruat Solum -- The Honour of the Ship -- Lieutenant Lapenotiere -- The Cask Ashore -- Priam’s Cellars -- On a Marble Stair -- The Election Count -- The Merry-go-Round at Troy -- A Yachting Adventure -- The Dive of the Gannet -- If?
  • Merry Garden & other stories [Dent, 1929]
    Merry-Garden -- The Bend of the Road -- The Lamp & the Guitar -- The Mayor’s Dovecot -- A Jest of Ambialet -- Mutual Exchange, Limited -- Colonel Baigent’s Christmas -- Rain of Dollars
  • Mortallone & Aunt Trinidad: Tales of the Spanish Main.
    The Keys of Mortallone -- Aunt Trinidad -- Captain Knot
  • Q’S Mystery Stories: Twenty-four Stories from the Works of Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch. [Dent, 1937]
    Preface -- The Roll-Call of the Reef -- The Bend in the Road -- The Laird’s Luck -- A Pair of Hands -- The Seventh Man -- The Two Householders -- Captain Knot -- Sinbad on Burrator -- The Room of Mirrors -- The Miracle of the ‘White Wolf’ -- The Affair of Bleakirk-on-Sands -- Mutual Exchange, Limited -- Phoebus on Halzaphron -- Step o’ One Side -- Lieutenant Lapenotiere -- Not Here, O Apollo! -- My Christmas Burglary -- Oceanus -- Which?
  • The Horror on the Stair & Other Weird Tales. / edited with an introduction by S. T. Joshi [Ash-Tree Press, 2000]
    Introduction [by S. T. Joshi] -- Psyche -- ‘Doubles’ & Quits -- Old Aeson -- A Dark Mirror -- The Magic Shadow -- The Haunted Dragoon -- A Blue Pantomime -- The Roll-Call of the Reef -- My Grandfather, Hendry Watty -- Widdershins -- The Legend of Sir Dinar -- Oceanus -- The Seventh Man -- The Room of Mirrors -- A Pair of Hands -- The Lady of the Ship -- The Mystery of Joseph Laquedem -- The Laird’s Luck -- Phoebus on Halzaphron -- The Haunted Yacht -- John & the Ghosts -- The Talking Ships -- The Horror on the Stair -- The Bend of the Road -- Mutual Exchange, Limited -- Not Here, O Apollo!


Criticism and anthologies


  • Memories and Opinions [unfinished, published 1945]
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