Today, November 15th, is Hodgson’s 139th birthday!
It was on this day in 1877 that William Hope Hodgson was born to Samuel , an Anglican priest, and Lizzie Sarah Hodgson. The second of twelve children, three of whom would die in infancy, Hope and his family had a hard life. They were often poor and reliant upon the charity of Samuel’s parishioners. A controversial figure, Samuel was moved about frequently by the church, serving 11 parishes in 21 years before his death in 1892.
In 1890, Hope was apprenticed into the Merchant Marine and he would spend the next 10 years at sea sailing around the world several times and receiving the Royal Humane Society medal for heroism after saving a shipmate who had fallen into shark infested waters. During his time at sea, Hope would also develop his life-long interests in physical culture and photography.
Returning home, Hope started a ‘School for Physical Culture’ which, unfortunately, closed after only a few years. It is at this point that he turned to writing.
It is often a mystery how a man whom, we assume, had no literary intentions could become such a powerful and influential writer. Whatever the reason, Hodgson left us four unique novels as well as a significant amount of short stories that still manage to entertain and enthrall us today.
After his unfortunate death at Ypres during World War I in 1918, Hodgson’s work continued to find new readers and devotees. At risk of being forgotten, Hope’s writings were kept alive by August Derleth at ARKHAM HOUSE and H. C. Koenig.
Today, Hodgson is cited as an influence by many writers and his work is better known now than it ever was during his lifetime. We look forward to this continuing to grow as more and more people discover Hodgson and his unique visions.
So, wherever you are today, raise a glass of whatever you’re drinking in salute to the old man and give a hearty “hail and well-met” across time and space to the dweller in the House on the Borderland!