John Davys Beresford

John Davys Beresford

English novelist
John Davys Beresford was a restless and passionate seeker of truth whose quest led him to explore a range of ideas from materialism and realism to psychic research, psychoanalysis, Eastern mysticism, and Christian Science. An underlying idealism informs his writing in all of the genres that he experimented with, including the realistic, fantasy, psychological, and mystical novel; short stories of these types; and essays and reviews on literary, psychological, philosophical, and mystical topics. In a stream-of-consciousness passage from Writing Aloud (1928), he asserted that he had "but a single theme, the re-education of human beings."

He found an audience for this concern in 1911 with his first two novels, one realistic and one fantasy, and reviewers quickly tagged him as one of the most promising of the younger generation of Georgian novelists. His Jacob Stahl trilogy (The Early History of Jacob Stahl [1911], A Candidate for Truth [1912], and The Invisible Event [1915]) established his reputation as a solid realistic novelist.

In K.Mansfild’s letters from Priore she reminds the most interesting after-lunch talk at Beresford’s with Orage and Sullivan. John was among wellknown people (Mr. Algernon Blackwood, Mr. J. D. Beresford, Mr. A. R. Orage, Mr. J. W. N. Sullivan, Mr. Middleton Murry, Dr. Maurice Nichol, and Lady Rothermere) who were deeply interested in Gurdjieff teaching and used to come to Priore. Some of them were thinking of coming over, but, of course, it means complete severance from their normal life.

(Lady Rothermere has also been here, but her interests are so wide that she found it impossible actually to become a student. Dr. Maurice Nicoll, the well­known psycho­analyst, has visited the settlement and at the present moment Dr. Young, a Harley­street specialist, is here. Among well­known people deeply interested in Gurdjieff teaching were Mr. Algernon Blackwood, Mr. J. D. Beresford, Mr. A. R. Orage, Mr. J. W. N. Sullivan, Mr. Middleton Murry, Dr. Maurice Nichol, and Lady Rothermere.)