Born 3 March 1863. He spent his early years at Llanddewi Fach rectory, three miles north of Caerleon-on-Usk, Monmouth; he attended Hereford Cathedral School until he was seventeen. After a period of near starvation in London, he enjoyed an independent income for a time and brought out some of his best early stories.
He had already written a translation of Casanova and two imitative works, The Anatomy of tobacco and The Chronicle of Clemendy. In 1900 he acted with F.R. Benson's touring company. He entered journalism and two of his best-known works were originally published in the newspaper for which he worked. The Bowman (Evening News, 29 September 1914) gave rise during World War I to the story of the Angel of Mons. The first of his autobiographical works, Far off things (1923), was printed under another title in the Evening News in 1915, and contains pleasing reminiscences written in a mellow spirit.
Machen was celebrated for his stories of the other-world, fringing reality; terror is their keynote. Hieroglyphics, The Hill of dreams, and The children of the pool contain the best known of them. In his later years, Machen became a Roman Catholic.
He married twice, and had a son and daughter by his second wife. He retired to Amersham in 1929 and was noted as a conversationalist. He was awarded a Civil List pension in 1932. He died 15 December 1947.
Published date: 2001
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