Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Beauclerk, Helen

(1892-1969) UK writer and translator, in France much of her life; from 1923 until his death in 1953 she lived with Edmund Dulac, who illustrated her first two novels. Her fantasy novels transpose materials derived from the rich tradition of French fantastic fiction into an English mode. The Green Lacquer Pavilion (1926) celebrates, tongue-in-cheek, the enduring French fascination with various facets of the legendary Orient, and The Love of the Foolish Angel (1929) seeks to capture the spirit of the heretical fantasies of Anatole France. In the former novel an Oriental screen becomes a Portal whereby eight people gathered for an English country-house party in 1710 are conveyed into a vividly ornate Secondary World. The latter tells of Tamael, who unwittingly attaches himself to the cause of rebellious Lucifer and becomes a fallen Angel by accident; a blatant misfit in Hell, he is dispatched to Earth to tempt human beings to sin, but falls in love with the lovely Basilea and becomes her protector. Both novels are toned down by comparison with their French models, as might be expected in work published in English by a female author, but the resultant delicacy is not to their disadvantage. The Mountain and the Tree (1936) contains an opening sequence set in the Stone Age and draws upon Frazerian theories (see Anthropology) in constructing an account of the changing role of women (see Gender) in early human societies. [BS]

Helen Beauclerk


This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.