(1912-1981) Scottish actor and writer, much of whose written work was for the theatre; the first of his many plays (several of them fantasy), The Haunted (produced 1948), has not been published. His others include Beauty and the Beast (1951) (see Beauty and the Beast), The Tinder-Box (1951) and The Imperial Nightingale (1957) and New Clothes for the Emperor (1957) – all based on Hans Christian Andersen tales – The Princess and the Swineherd (1952), The Hunters and the Henwife (1954), The Marvellous Story of Puss in Boots (1955) (see Puss-In-Boots), The Other Cinderella, With Due Acknowledgements to All the Earlier Versions (1958) (see Cinderella), The Seventh Swan (1962), The Wrong Side of the Moon (1968) – based on a tale by the Grimm Brothers – New Lamps for Old (1968) (see Arabian Fantasy) and Gawain and the Green Knight (1969) (see Gawain). In book form, these plays come with comprehensive stage directions and can be read with pleasure for their sensitive and playable transformations of Folklore and Fairytale.
NSG's prose fiction, beginning with Over the Hills to Fabylon (1954), also reveals a certain contrast between an amiable surface and a sense of the graver issues evoked by traditional material. In The Seventh Swan: An Adventure Story (1962), a prose version of his play The Seventh Swan (1962), the poignancy of a man's Bondage as a swan is told with pleasing wit, but the drama underlying the process by which he Learns Better how to be a man is strongly conveyed. Grimbold's Other World (1963) and The Stone Cage (1963) both feature Cats who act as Companions; in the latter (and more interesting) tale Tomlyn first tells the story of Rapunzel, then narrates his own Night Journey to exile on the far side of the Moon, where he heals a Witch of her misogyny. Other novels, like Down in the Cellar (1961) and The Apple-Stone (1965), carry groups of adventurous children into growth-inducing experiences: in the latter a Magic stone has the power of bringing life to dead things, with very mixed consequences. Collections of interest include Mainly in Moonlight: Ten Stories of Sorcery and the Supernatural (coll 1965), The Edge of Evening (coll 1976) and A Wind from Nowhere (coll 1978). [JC]
other works: The Sorcerer's Apprentices (1965); The Boys (1968); The Further Adventures of Puss in Boots (1971); The Wardens of the Weir (1978); The Garland of Filigree (1979).
Nicholas Stuart Gray