Charles Lee

Charles Lee (1870-1956) was born in London to an artistic family who, throughout Lee’s life, heartily supported him in his evolution as an intellectual, fiction writer, poet, playwright, composer, and pianist. He received his BA from London University in 1889 and published his first novel, Widow Woman, in 1896. In poor health, he traveled to Cornwall in 1900 for a brief recuperative visit, staying on seven years, and discovering what would prove to be his most enduring subject: Cornish life, its manners, its landscapes, and its dogged resistance to modern times. In this vein, he wrote four other novels—Our Little Town, Paul Carah Cornishman, Dorinda’s Birthday, and Cynthia in the West—as well as a number of short stories (recently collected in Chasing Tales: The Lost Stories of Charles Lee); several plays, journals, and musical scores; and a guide book, The Vale of Lanherne. Later, after relocating to the London environs, he worked as the senior editor for J. M. Dent, where, owing to his talent for pruning and polishing prose, he came to be known as “the man with the green pen.”