British author (1863-1947). Real name: Arthur Llewelyn Jones. Born in Caerleon-on-Usk in South Wales, he was the son of an Anglican priest. He adopted his mother's maiden name while he was still in grade school and grew up fascinated by the various Roman ruins scattered about the countryside. His father could not afford to send him to a university, so Arthur moved to London, where he worked for a while as a journalist, a clerk, and a tutor.

His father died in 1887 and left him enough money to allow him a certain degree of financial independence for about 15 years. During this time, Machen produced his best known works, including the standard translation of Casanova's memoirs and a group of supernatural stories--particularly "The Great God Pan" and "The White People"--that won him lasting fame. However, at the time they were published, Machen's stories were often denounced as the works of a diseased imagination.

In 1887, Machen married a woman named Ameila Hogg. It is believed that he was extremely close to her, although he doesn't mention her in his autobiographies and no pictures of her are known to exist. When she died of cancer in 1899, he was shattered--he stopped writing and became fascinated by the occult, joining the legendary Golden Dawn in 1900.

Machen's inheritance was exhausted by 1901, forcing him to seek employment. He worked as a bit player in Frank Benson's Repertory Company until 1909 and was reported to be extremely happy in the theatre, though he was probably not a very good actor. In 1903, he married a woman named Dorothy Purefoy Hudleston--they had a son, Hilary, in 1912 and a daughter, Janet, in 1917.

After leaving the Repertory Company, he worked as a reporter for the London Evening News. He didn't enjoy reporting as much as he had acting, but he got to cover a number of interesting and important events, including the funeral of polar explorer Captain Robert Falcon Scott in 1913. He began writing stories again. One of them, "The Angels of Mons", was a completely fictitious account of heavenly archers assisting the British soldiers at the Battle of Mons--despite Machen's repeated insistence that the story was fiction, many people believed it, and there are still people today who insist that it is true.

Machen became popular with American readers in the 1920s, when his books were released overseas. About this time, he lost his job with the Evening News after writing an obituary for Lord Alfred Douglas, his former editor, who Machen described as "degenerate"--Douglas was, however, still alive and not amused. Machen did not seem to mind being unemployed, since his literary reputation was good, the American editions of his books were bringing in some dough, and he could finally spend more time relaxing and entertaining friends at home.

Unfortunately, his American popularity didn't last forever, and Machen's money started to dry up. He and his family moved to Amersham, Buckinghamshire in 1929, where he lived for the rest of his life, writing a few stories and receiving charity gifts from local authorities and fans of his work.

Machen is not read as much today, but his work remains important because he was one of the primary influences over the future work of science fiction/horror author H.P. Lovecraft and, hence, all of the myriad contributors to the Cthulhu Mythos. Lovecraft borrowed names, concepts, and techniques from Machen's works, particularly "The Great God Pan", which reads like a preview of Lovecraft's "The Dunwich Horror", and "The White People", a strange, dreamlike tale told by a young girl who delves way too deep into madness, sorcery, and evil.

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