Between 1910 and 1921, Arthur Machen produced nearly 700 of articles for the Evening News. This position with the London paper provided the writer with his longest period of sustained employment, and yet, it also dealt him great misery. Ironically, the publication of The Bowmen in the pages of the Evening News gave Machen his greatest claim to fame in his lifetime. Yet, Machen abhorred journalism. Driven by necessity, he soldiered through these long years and thereby created a substantial corpus of work which remains largely untapped and unstudied.
Assigned to write on the widest possible gamut of topics, Machen never put away those qualities which defined him as a master storyteller. Machen the journalist remains Machen the mystic and stylist. Each banal subject is treated as an opportunity to preach his gospel of ecstasy and mystery to the daily reader. Only Machen can turn a dismal report on the dearth of skilled gardeners into a meditation on labor as an instrument for good or evil. In the face of “Controlled Beer,” he asks what good is drink if it cannot inebriate and deify mankind? What of the roar of cannon fire, if an unexpected chorus of birdsong brightens a January day? Machen never “dialed it in,” but always worked to transfigure the common column space of a newspaper into a sliver of paradise.
Simply put, Arthur Machen accomplished alchemy.
Each Thursday, an original article penned by Machen will be posted in this space in order to make this segment of his work more accessible and better known to readers. Most of Machen’s news articles are listed in the seminal bibliographical account by Adrian Goldstone and Wesley Sweester, an invaluable resource. Instances in which a posted article is not listed in G & S will be noted with an asterisk.
The Weekly Machen – 2022 (50 Articles)
1/5/23: A Wonder of Childhood (8/1/1912)
1/12/23: Early Books of 1913 (1/16/1913)
1/19/23: Divorce “Shops” * (11/12/1912)
1/26/23: By the Avon (4/27/1911)
2/2/23: A Queer Creation of a Child of Three (6/18/1912)
2/9/23: The Desire in Our Hearts for Colour (7/12/1912)
2/16/23: Among My Books (5/23/1912)
2/23/23: Among My Books (8/3/1912)
3/2/23: A Clever Study of the “Average Young Girl” (3/24/1913)
3/9/23: Famous Novelist’s Blunder (8/22/1916)
3/16/23: In Memory of Edith Cavell * (10/29/1915)
3/23/23: The Joy of London III (4/15/1914)
3/30/23: Marvels of To-day’s Flower Show (5/22/1912)
4/6/23: The Joy of London I (1/27/1914)
4/13/23: Twentieth-Century Village (2/27/1913)
4/20/23: Does the Seaside Hotel Pay? (4/11/1913)
4/27/23: Peter Pan (5/3/1911)
5/4/23: Sunday Night in London (9/28/1914)
5/11/23: Wonderful London (5/3/1912)
5/18/23: In a Kentish Hop-Garden (9/5/1913)
5/25/23: The Critics and Mr. Henry James’s Style (3/25/1914)
2 thoughts on “The Weekly Machen”
The vivid descriptions of the Quest in ‘The New Beer’ reminded me of Mary Vivian (‘Molly’) Hughes account of life in th neighborhood of Enfield not so much later in A London Family Between the Wars (OUP, 1940).
David, your remark about the Hughes book prompted me to get it from the library. I’ve just begun reading it, & it’s a truly enjoyable book. It looks like Hughes’s Cuffley is 30 miles from Machen’s Amersham on the M25 today. Hughes says she can see St. Paul’s 15 miles from her home.
I wonder what Machen thought of the opening of Wilkie Collins’s The Woman in White, in which it’s a long walk from somewhere in the country into London (just before the Woman appears). That opening could almost be the beginning of a Machen story.