Ernest William Hornung


Ernest William Hornung

Ernest William Hornung (June 7, 1866 – March 22, 1921), known as Willie, was an English author, most famous for writing the Raffles series of novels about a gentleman thief in late Victorian London.

Hornung was the third son of John Peter Hornung, a Hungarian, and was born in Middlesbrough, England. He was educated at Uppingham School during some of the later years of its great headmaster, Edward Thring. He spent most of his life in England and France, but in 1884 left for Australia and stayed for two years where he working as a tutor at Mossgiel station. Although his Australian experience had been so short, it coloured most of his literary work from "A Bride from the Bush" published in 1899, to "Old Offenders and a few Old Scores", which appeared after his death.

He returned from Australia in 1886, and married Constance ("Connie") Doyle (1868-1924), the sister of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in 1893. Hornung published the poems "Bond and Free" and "Wooden Crosses" in "The Times". The character of A. J. Raffles, a "gentleman thief", first appeared in Cassell's Magazine in 1898 and the stories were later collected as "The Amateur Cracksman" (1899). Other titles in the series include "The Black Mask" (1901), "A Thief in the Night" (1905), and the full-length novel "Mr. Justice Raffles" (1909). He also co-wrote the play "Raffles, The Amateur Cracksman" with Eugene Presbrey in 1903.

After Hornung spent time in the trenches with the troops in France, he published "Notes of a Camp-Follower on the Western Front" in 1919, a detailed account of his time there. Other works include:
* "A Bride from the Bush" (1890)
* "Under Two Skies" (1892)
* "Tiny Luttrell" (1893)
* "The Boss of Taroomba" (1894)
* "The Unbidden Guest" (1894)
* "The Cricket on the Green" (1895)
* "The Rogue's March: A Romance" (1896)
* "Young Blood" (1898)
* "Dead Men Tell No Tales" (1897)
* "The Belle of Toorak" (English title) (1900)/ "The Shadow of a Man" (American title) (1900)
* "Peccavi" (1900)
* "The Shadow of the Rope" (1902)
* "Denis Dent: A Novel" (1904)
* "Stingaree" (1905)
* "The Camera Fiend" (1911)
* "Fathers of Men" (1912)
* "The Thousandth Woman" (1913)
* "The Crime Doctor" (1914)
* "'Trusty and Well Beloved" (privately printed) (1915)
* "Ballad of Ensign Joy" (1917)
* "Wooden Cross" (1918)
* "The Ballad of Ensign" (1919)and the collections
* "Some Persons Unknown" (1898)
* "The Young Guard" (1919)
* "Old Offenders and a Few Old Scores" (1923)] and audiobook
*"Raffles, The Amateur Cracksman", read by David Rintoul.

Hornung's only child, a son, was killed at Ypres on July 6, 1915; Hornung then took up work with the YMCA in France. Hornung died in St. Jean de Luz, France in 1921, survived by his wife.

In addition to his novels and short stories Hornung wrote some good war verse, and a play based on the Raffles stories was produced successfully. He was much interested in cricket, and was "a man of large and generous nature, a delightful companion and conversationalist".

The model for "Raffles" was George Ives, a Cambridge-educated criminologist and talented cricketer according to Lycett [ The Man who created Sherlock Holmes: The Life and Times of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle by Andrew Lycett pages 229-230 (2007, Weidenfield & Nicolson, London & Viking, New York) ISBN 0-7432-7523-3 ] . Ives was a discreet gay, and although Hornung "may not have understood this sexual side of Ives' character", Raffles "enjoys a remarkably intimate relationship with his sidekick Bunny Manders."

External links

*
* [http://www.archive.org/search.php?query=creator:(hornung+(%22e+w%22+OR+%22ernest+william%22)) Works by Ernest William Hornung] at the Internet Archive
* [http://librivox.org/the-amateur-cracksman-by-ew-hornung/ "The Amateur Cracksman" audio book at Librivox.Org]
* [http://www.raffles-the-amateur-cracksman.com Raffles The Amateur Cracksman] – website about the 1976 TV series

References

*Dictionary of Australian Biography|First=Ernest William|Last=Hornung|Link=http://gutenberg.net.au/dictbiog/0-dict-biogHi-Hu.html#hornung1

Rowland, Peter: 'Raffles and His Creator: the Life and Works of E.W. Hornung' (Nekta Publications,London, 1999)


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