1866  - 1934


Time - Oct 8th 1934.

Archibald Marshall, 68, humorist, novelist (Peter Binney, Undergraduate; The Graftons; Exton Manor; The Claimants) ; in Cambridge, England. His 30-odd novels of quiet, peaceful English country life were compared, over his mild objections, to those of Anthony Trollope.

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,769989,00.html#ixzz0sXKvnmCH

New York Times: Oct 1 1934.


The Observer - Sunday, October 7, 1934 - Death of Archibald Marshall - A Fine Novelist (G Gould)

The sudden death of Archibald Marshall last week will have come as a personal shock, not only  to those who had the privilege of his acquaintance, but to a very wide reading public - indeed, one may say, to all who value the great tradition of English letters. For one could never pick up any book of his without realising what a scrupulous and scholarly artist he was - how thoroughly steeped in literature, and how eagerly and sympathetically aware of life.

His range was not narrow. It is necessary to stress this because he succeeded so perfectly in one particular medium that it is sometimes forgotten how various his gifts and institutions were. “Perfectly” is a bold word to use ; but will anyone suggest that Marshall fell short of perfection his quiet, intimate, sensitive studies of English country house life? He got the very feel into his pages; here was his natural home, his native air. I have long thought that “The squire’s Daughter” was his master piece in this kind; but there are at least half-a-dozen other novels of his, each of which, as one read it, seemed the best,because one could not imagine it being bettered.

Not that he lived in a vanished or vanishing era. The social atmosphere of his earlier novels is largely, perhaps, a thing of the past; but he was keenly aware, and appreciative, of social change; and some of his novels deal with this very problem.

It was the fashion to compare him with Trollope. It was an easy fashion - possibly too easy. I plead guilty to having adopted it more than once myself. But the resemblances were largely external, and Marshall himself deprecated the comparison.

In one of those charmingly frank but unegoistic letters which were so characteristic of him, he told me that the comparison to which he really aspired was Jane Austin; and he is wiser than his critics.

Another aspect of him, unapparent in many of his serious novels, was his rich and indeed rollicking humour. He began his career with “Peter Binney, Undergraduate,” which, despite the pathetic nature of some of its scenes, was one of the most amusing books of the time. And, quite recently, his “Simple Stories” and “Birdikin Family,” familiar to readers of “Punch,” showed a vein of light satire which was not only devastatingly funny, but also completely original.

He had many talents and very wide interests, and the beauty and generosity of his character came out so clearly in his work that they have become a public possession; no words are needed to stress them now. All his fellow-writers will morn his death.

A memorial service is being held tomorrow, October 8, at St. Bride’s, Fleet Street - the Fleet-street in which he had so many friends.