Future Research 3
(d) The relationhip between Daphne de Maurier and Q had actually developed very soon after her coming to live in Fowey in 1926. Her biographers have always emphasised the effect that this eminent man of literature had on her work. Having earlier read ‘On the Art of Writing’, as an aspiring young writer she was able to absorb his ideas – aware that in his eyes, language was more important than content and should always be “kept noble”. As a man with high standards of the Victorian era, Q was quite critical of some of her earlier work but was typically always encouraging her to aim for what would be, in his mind at least, a higher level of literature. It was surely a measure of his confidence in her ability when he ‘gave’ her the title of one of his own short stories - Frenchman’s Creek – to see how well she could use it in a longer story!
Q’s daughter, Foy, was equally confident when she asked her good friend Daphne to accept the task of completing a novel which Q had left unfinished in 1925. It is interesting to note that one biographer (Daphne. Judith Cook, Bantam Press,1991) believed that it was out of ‘love’ as well as ‘admiration’ for Q that she agreed to accept what she saw as quite a challenge. When Castle Dor was published in 1962, Daphne still asked for a reassuring response from Foy – and this came in a most supportive reply when Foy challenged the reader to establish exactly where the narrative moved from a Q style to one which was clearly du Maurier!
(e) In her contribution on Castle Dor in The Daphne du Maurier Companion (Virago, 2007), the contemporary novelist Nina Bawden described Q as the heroic figure of her youth who had inspired her to read what was best in English literature. She still uses his three Studies in Literature as her guide in literary judgement and recognises that, although he could be austere, Q was an exceptional scholar and a model for writers.
She saw Castle Dor as the result of a highly successful writing partnership between two authors who were widely separated in age and style. Such a combined effort could be said to reflect Q’s strongly held belief that such limiting labels as ‘Romantic’ or ‘Classical’ should not be applied to individual authors.
(f) Ian Carter: In terms of ‘the railway novel’, Carter claims that Q invented a new way of writing about railways when his “ tone shifted the dominant disclosure of railway fiction from power to whimsy”. Having stated that “literary discussion of British railways focuses strongly in Dicken’s ‘Dombey and Son”, he felt that “the elegaic tone of this writing was set by the Cornish novelist Arthur Quiller Couch” . .
Ian Carter: The lost idea of a train: looking for Britain’s railway novel”, The Journal of Transport History, pp.117 – 139, Vol. 21 Issue 2, September 2000.
Professor Ian Carter is at the Department of Sociology, University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland, New Zealand.