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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Edric Cecil Mornington Roberts (18 May 1892 – 20 December 1976) was an English journalist, poet, dramatist and novelist. He was born and grew up in Nottingham[1]

Working career

Roberts worked as a journalist on the Liverpool Post during the First World War, initially as literary editor, then as a war correspondent. From 1920 for five years he edited the daily Nottingham Journal. In 1922 he stood for Parliament for the Liberal Party. In the 1930s he reviewed books for The Sphere.[2]

During the Second World War, Roberts worked for Lord Halifax, UK Ambassador to the United States.

Despite a prolific output as a writer and the popularity of his writings in his lifetime, he is almost wholly forgotten. His novels have been accused of having thin plots and cardboard characters, padded out with travel writing.[3]

Personal life

Roberts was ambitious. He stated that on coming of age, he drew up a list of aims for his next 15 years, which included a solid career as a novelist, being a member of Parliament, owning a country house and a London pied-a-terre, and marriage with two sons and a daughter.[4] Some of these were achieved, although not the last. In private he was proud of claiming to having been a lover of Laurence Olivier, Ivor Novello, Baron Gottfried von Cramm, Somerset Maugham, and Prince George, Duke of Kent.[5] However, his multi-volume autobiography is studiously discreet: "I don't want any succès de scandale," and that he was "nauseated by the striptease school of writers."[6]

In later life Roberts's creative industry was impressive, but he gained repute as a name-dropping bore,[7][8] one writer dismissing him as "an irascible old fart".[9] According to an obituary, his prime personal trait was "a magnetic egocentricity. It was said of him that, fascinated always by himself and his doings, he succeeded uncannily in conveying that fascination to others, even against their will.... Robert's life often appeared to resemble a 20th century grand tour, strewn with places in the sun, grand seigneurs and charming hostesses, in which he was the fastidious literary pilgrim."[10]

Roberts donated his papers to Churchill College, Cambridge in 1975.[11]


  • Phyllistrata (1913)
  • Through the Eyes of Youth (1914)
  • The Youth of Beauty (1915)
  • Collected War Poems (1916)
  • The Chelsea Cherub (1917) novel
  • Twenty-Six (1917)
  • Charing Cross (1918)
  • Training the Airmen (1919)
  • Poems (1920)
  • A Tale of Young Lovers (1922) poetic drama
  • Scissors (1923) novel
  • Sails of Sunset (1924) novel
  • The Love Rack (1925) novel
  • Little Mrs. Manington (1926) novel
  • The Diary of Russell Beresford (1927) editor
  • Sagusto (1927) novel
  • David and Diana (1928) novel
  • Goose Fair (1928)
  • Indiana Jane (1929) novel
  • Pamela's Spring Song (1929) novel (@)
  • Goose Fair (1929)
  • Havana Bound (1930) novel
  • Spears Against Us (1930) novel (@)
  • Bargain Basement (1931) novel
  • Half Way: an autobiography (1931)
  • Alfred Fripp (1932) biography
  • Pilgrim Cottage (1933) trilogy: includes The Guests Arrive and Volcano (*)
  • The Pilgrim Cottage Omnibus (*)
  • Gone Rustic (1934) (*)
  • The Guests Arrive (1934) (*)
  • Volcano (1935) (*)
  • Gone Rambling (1935) (*)
  • Finale. Self-portrait of Nadja Malacrida. London: Hutchinson & Co. 1935. OCLC 561516208.
  • Gone Afield (1936) (*)
  • Gone Sunwards (1936) (*)
  • Victoria, Four-Thirty (1937) novel (@)
  • They Wanted to Live (1939) novel (@)
  • And So to Bath (1940) (*)
  • A Man Arose (1941) poem on Winston Churchill
  • Letters from Jim (1941) editor
  • One Small Candle (1942)
  • So Immortal a Flower (1944)
  • The Labyrinth (1944)
  • And So to America (1946)
  • Eight for Eternity (1947)
  • And So to Rome (1950)
  • A Terrace in the Sun (1951)
  • One Year of Life (1952) memoir
  • The Remarkable Young Man (1954)
  • Portal to Paradise: an Italian excursion (1955)
  • Love Is Like That (1957)
  • Selected Poems (1960)
  • Wide Is the Horizon (1962)
  • Grand Cruise (1963)
  • A Flight of Birds (1966)
  • The Growing Boy (1967) autobiography (i)
  • The Years of Promise autobiography (ii)
  • The Bright Twenties (1970) autobiography (iii)
  • Sunshine and Shadow (1972) autobiography (iv)
  • Pleasant Years (1974) autobiography (v)
  • Wings poem

(*)=The "Pilgrim Cottage" books (@)=The "Inside Europe" novels


  1. ^ Gone Rambling; p. 9.
  2. ^ Roberts, Cecil (15 July 1933). "Books". The Sphere – via British Newspaper Archive.
  3. ^ Graham Harrison, "Rediscovering Cecil Roberts", Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution, 20 April 1990; [1].
  4. ^ Thomas, Gilbert (1 May 1931). "A Vital Autobiography Half Way". The Spectator: 31.
  5. ^ Francis Henry King, Yesterday Came Suddenly, Constable (London), 1993, p. 278.
  6. ^ Cecil Roberts, "The Pleasant Years", Hodder and Stoughton, 1974, pp. 350–351.
  7. ^ Graham Harrison, "Rediscovering Cecil Roberts", Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution, 20 April 1990; [2]
  8. ^ Francis Henry King, Yesterday Came Suddenly, Constable (London), 1993, p. 278.
  9. ^ David Watmough, Myself Through Others: Memoirs, Dundurn Press (Ontario) 2008, p. 85.
  10. ^ "Novelist Cecil Roberts dies aged 84", The Daily Telegraph (London), 22 December 1976.
  11. ^ The Papers of Cecil Roberts. Retrieved 12 November 2014
  • Cecil Roberts (1935) Gone Rambling; p. 3
This page was last edited on 17 April 2021, at 14:33
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