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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Nat Gould
In The Sketch, 13 November 1895
Nathaniel Gould

(1857-12-21)21 December 1857
Manchester, England
Died25 July 1919(1919-07-25) (aged 61)
Bedfont, England
Elizabeth Madelaine Ruska
(m. 1886)

Nathaniel Gould (21 December 1857 – 25 July 1919) was a British novelist. He was a best-selling author in his lifetime.[1]

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Life and writing

Gould was born at Manchester, Lancashire on 21 December 1857, the only surviving child of Nathaniel Gould, a tea merchant, and his wife Mary, née Wright.[2] Both parents came from Derbyshire yeomen families. The boy was indulgently brought up and well educated. His father died just before he was to have left school, and Gould tried first his father's tea trade and then farming at Bradbourne with his uncles. Gould became a good horseman but a poor farmer. In 1877, in reply to an advertisement, he was given a position on the Newark Advertiser gaining a good all-round knowledge of press work. After a few years he became restless, and in 1884 sailed for Australia, where he became a reporter on the Brisbane Telegraph in its shipping, commercial and racing departments.

In 1887, after disagreements with the Telegraph management, Gould went to Sydney and worked on the Referee as "Verax", its horse-racing editor. Later Gould worked for the Sunday Times, and Evening News. Then followed 18 months at Bathurst as the editor of the Bathurst Times during which time he wrote his first novel, With the Tide, which appeared as a serial in the Referee. He returned to Sydney and the Referee[3] and wrote another six other novels for the same paper. In 1891 his first novel, With the Tide, was published in book form in England under the title of The Double Event and was an immediate success; it sold over 100,000 copies in its first ten years and was still in print in 1919. It was dramatized in Australia and had a long run in 1893. In 1895 Gould returned to England; he had been 11 years in Australia and he felt that his experiences had made a man of him.

Back in England, Gould returned to writing fiction, for many years writing an average of over four novels a year; about 130 are listed in Miller's Australian Literature. Gould also published in 1895 On and Off the Turf in Australia, in 1896 Town and Bush, Stray Notes on Australia; in 1900 Sporting Sketches; and in 1909 The Magic of Sport: mainly autobiographical. His novels attracted enormous public interest and his sales ran into many millions of copies. He travelled, retained his interest in racing to the end, and died in Bedfont on 25 July 1919.[2] Nat Gould was buried at Bradbourne in Derbyshire on 29 July 1919, and his grave is marked by a stone cross near the churchyard gates.

In April 1886 in Brisbane, he married Miss Elizabeth Madelaine Ruska, and there were seven children of the marriage.

Dick Francis influence

Gould was by far the most successful author of stories about racing before Dick Francis. (Other authors who wrote racing stories in this period included Leslie Charteris, Arthur Conan Doyle, Rudyard Kipling, Ellery Queen, Damon Runyon, Somerville and Ross, Edgar Wallace and John Welcome). Graham Lord has pointed out similarities of titles between Gould and Francis (A Dead Certainty/Dead Cert, Banker and Broker/Banker and Odds On/Odds Against), as well as similarities of plot - such as between Warned Off (1901) and Enquiry (1969), in which an honest jockey has to clear his name after another jockey has given biased evidence against him. But as Lord points out, Gould "churned out nearly five novels a year - some full length, 300 page hardbacks, others little ninety-six page 'yellowback' paperbacks - and the standard of their writing was not nearly as high as that of Dick Francis books".[4]


  1. ^ Australia. Department of Education.; Australia. Department of Education and Science.; Australia. Commonwealth Office of Education. (February 1960) [1957], "The Books Australians Read", Section v. : ill. (some col.) ; 28 cm., Hemisphere, 4 (2), North Sydney, N.S.W: Dept. of Education and Science, ISSN 0018-0300, nla.obj-3135886198, retrieved 1 June 2023 – via Trove
  2. ^ a b Page, Frederick; Taylor, Clare L. "Gould, Nathaniel [Nat] [pseud. Verax]". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/33494. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  3. ^ "Nat Gould Passes". The Referee. Sydney. 30 July 1919. p. 1. Retrieved 18 March 2015 – via National Library of Australia.
  4. ^ Graham Lord: Dick Francis: A Racing Life (1999), pp. 194-196

External links

This page was last edited on 10 June 2024, at 08:46
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