Golding, Louis

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GOLDING, LOUIS (1895–1958), English novelist. Born in Manchester and educated at Oxford, Golding joined an ambulance unit during World War i and served in Macedonia and France. Sorrow of War (1919), a book of poems, was followed by his first novel, Forward from Babylon (1920). During the 1920s Golding traveled widely and the many books reflecting his experiences include Sicilian Noon (1925); Those Ancient Lands: Being a Journey to Palestine (1928); In the Steps of Moses the Lawgiver (1937); In the Steps of Moses the Conqueror (1938); and a late work, Good-bye to Ithaca (1955). Golding made his reputation, however, with Magnolia Street (1931), the first of a cycle of novels about Anglo-Jewish life. Magnolia Street, which was an international best-seller and was adapted for the stage, was based on his memories of Manchester, which in his books became "Doomington." The novel portrayed the tensions and sympathies governing the relations between Jewish and non-Jewish inhabitants of one particular street between 1910 and 1930. Golding projected himself into the book through his alter ego, the emancipated painter Max Emmanuel, whose brother (like the novelist's) died while on active service in France in World War i. The second of the Doomington novels, Five Silver Daughters (1934), was set against the background of the Bolshevik Revolution and post-war Germany. Golding's ideal of racial harmony was personified by the eponymous hero of Mr. Emmanuel (1939), which was later made into a film of the same name (1945), while The Glory of Elsie Silver (1945) reflected his response to Nazism and his sympathy for Zionism. These he had already revealed in two studies: The Jewish Problem (1938) and Hitler Through the Ages (1939).

Not all Golding's novels were concerned with Jewish themes: The Camberwell Beauty (1935) dealt with black magic and the Mafia in Sicily; and The Loving Brothers (1952) told the story of two pairs of brothers, one of each pair being brilliant and the other criminal. Golding also wrote radio plays and books on sport. His other works include the novel Day of Atonement (1925); James Joyce (1933), a study; and To the Quayside (1954). He also wrote an autobiography, The World I Knew (1958).


J.B. Simons, Louis Golding, A Memoir (1958). add. bibliography: odnb online.

[Renee Winegarten]