Gilbert Cannan

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Gilbert Cannan (25 June 1884 – 30 June 1955) was a British novelist and dramatist.

Early life

Born in Manchester of Scottish descent, he got on badly with his family, and in 1897 he was sent to live in Oxford with the economist Edwin Cannan. He was educated at Manchester Grammar School and King's College, Cambridge; he started on a legal career, but turned to writing in 1908, after a short spell as an actor.

Career

Cannan worked first as a translator, and reviewed in London publications. Many of his novels are in part autobiographical, and fit into a novel sequence the Lawrie Saga, around the character Stephen Lawrie. Samuel Butler was a major influence on his fiction. In 1914, the novelist Henry James in an article in The Times named Cannan as one of four significant up-and-coming authors, alongside D.H. Lawrence, Compton Mackenzie and Hugh Walpole.Haycock, A Crisis of Brilliance (2009), 182.

He was employed as a secretary by J. M. Barrie, working with him in their efforts against censorship of the theatre by the Lord Chamberlain. A relationship developed in 1909 between Cannan and Barrie's wife Mary (née Ansell), a former actress who felt neglected in her marriage. Cannan had been wooing Kathleen Bruce, who at the same time was receiving advances from explorer Robert Falcon Scott. When Bruce decided to marry Scott, Mary Barrie's sympathy for Cannan developed a momentum of its own. Her husband sought to be reconciled, but relented and...
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