Working name of UK-born Canadian writer and mystic Eliza Louisa Moresby (?1862-1931). She accompanied her father, John Moresby (1830-1922), on his expeditions to the East Indies in the 1870s; she later assisted him in his autobiography, Two Admirals (1909). She visited India, Ceylon, the East Indies, Burma and Japan, and these experiences influenced her life and writings. Her work, which drew upon tales and beliefs of the Orient and especially on stories of Reincarnation, caught the public interest in Spiritualism that developed after WWI. Her Oriental Fantasies, which began to appear in magazines in 1919, were collected as The Ninth Vibration, and Other Stories (coll 1922), The Perfume of the Rainbow, and Other Stories (coll 1923) and Dreams and Delights (coll 1926). These stories use old legends and fables much in the style of Lafcadio Hearn, but have a stronger mood of Love and romance, sometimes to the point of oversentimentality. Her most powerful stories appear in The Openers of the Gate (coll 1930), which details the cases of a doctor who, like Algernon Blackwood's John Silence, is something of an Occult Detective. LAB's novels allow her more scope, and are particularly strong in development of character and the Oriental background. The most complete are The Way of Stars (1925), where the powers of ancient Egypt are reawakened leading to the fulfilment of a Prophecy, and The House of Fulfilment (1927), a theosophical romance (see Theosophy). Both these, and to a lesser extent The Treasure of Ho (1924) and The Glory of Egypt (1926 UK) – the latter originally published as by Louis Moresby – include mysterious figures with Talents, especially clairvoyance, astral travel, telepathy and levitation. The novels can be likened to the work of Talbot Mundy. LAB's nonfiction of interest includes The Story of Oriental Philosophy (1923) and two books about Buddha: The Splendour of Asia (1927), concerning his teachings, and The Life of the Buddha (1939 UK). Beck is widely regarded as Canada's first important female fantasy author. [MA]
other works: The Key of Dreams (1922) and The Garden of Vision (1929), both on spiritual awakening. LAB also wrote historical romances as E Barrington, the name under which she was better known in the UK.
Eliza Louisa Moresby