Martin Armstrong

Martin Donisthorpe Armstrong (2 October 1882 - 24 February 1974) was an English poet and prose writer, known mainly for his fiction.


Armstrong was born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. He was educated at Charterhouse School and Pembroke College, Cambridge. During World War I he served in France with the British Army, initially as a private in the Artists' Rifles, then commissioned into the Middlesex Regiment in 1915 and promoted to lieutenant in 1916.[1]

Both before and after the war, he was active in the Georgian Poetry movement. In 1925 he turned to fiction, and authored a dozen novels.[2]

In 1929 he married Canadian writer Jessie MacDonald after she had divorced Conrad Aiken, making Armstrong the stepfather of the young Joan Aiken.[3]


The Dictionary of Literary Biography calls Armstrong's dozen novels "his most substantial accomplishment as an artist," and says of them that they "are written in the Edwardian tradition of John Galsworthy and Arnold Bennett and portray the upper-middle-class society into which Armstrong was born. [Their] characters often reflect the class values that Armstrong espoused: respect for justice and tradition, love of the countryside, and concern for harmonious relationships between the sexes. At the same time Armstrong's novels assault the upper-class values that he deplored: snobbery, materialism, and indifference."[2]


3 of his poems ("The Buzzards," "Honey Harvest," and "Miss Thompson Goes Shopping") were anthologized in Georgian Poetry 1920-1922.

In popular culture Edit

He appears in disguised form as a character in Conrad Aiken's Ushant.



  • Exodus, and other poems. Lynwood, 1912.
  • Thirty New Poems. London: Chapman & Hall, 1918.
  • The Buzzards, and other poems. London: Martin Secker, 1921.
  • The Bird-catcher, and other poems. London: Martin Secker, 1929.
  • Collected Poems. London: Martin Secker, 1931.
  • Chichester Concert: An ode written after hearing Beethoven's Sonata, Opus 109, played at a pianoforte recital in Chichester Cathedral. Cambridge, UK, & New York: Cambridge University Press, 1944.


  • The Goat and Compasses: A novel. London: Cape, 1925.
  • Desert: A legend. London: Cape, 1926.
  • The Stepson: A novel. London: Cape, 1927.
  • St. Christopher's Day. London: Gollancz, 1928.
  • The Sleeping Fury. London: Gollancz, 1929.
  • Adrian Glynde, A novel. London: Gollancz, 1930.
  • Blind Man's Mark: A novel. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1931.
  • The Romantic Adventures of Mr. Darby, and of Sarah his wife. New York: Harcourt, 1932.
  • Lover's Leap: A story in three voices. London, Gollancz, 1932.
  • The Foster Mother. London: Gollancz, 1933.
  • Venus Over Lannery. London: Gollancz, 1936.
  • The Butterfly: A novel. London: Collins, 1941.

Short fictionEdit

  • The Puppet Show. Waltham Saint Lawrence, Berkshire, UK: Golden Cockerel Press, 1922.
  • The Bazaar, and other stories. London: Cape, 1924; New York: Knopf, 1924; Freeport, NY: Books for Libraries Press, 1970.
  • Sir Pompey and Madame Juno, and other tales. London: Cape, 1927; Freeport, NY: Books for Libraries Press, 1971.
  • Saint Hercules and Other Stories (illustrated by Paul Nash). London: Printed by Oliver Simon at the Curwen Press & published by the Fleuron, 1927.
  • Portrait of the Misses Harlowe (story). London: Elkin Mathews & Merit, 1928.
  • The Fiery Dive, and other stories. London: Gollancz, 1929.
  • General Buntop's Miracle, and other stories. London: Gollancz, 1934; New York: Harcourt Brace, 1934
  • A Case of Conscience, and other tales. London: Gollancz, 1937.
  • Selected Stories. London: Cape, 1951.


  • Lady Hester Stanhope: A biography. London: Gerald Howe, 1927; New York: Viking, 1928.
  • Laughing: An essay.New York & London: Harper, 1928.
  • The Paintbox. London: A. & C. Black ("How and Why" series), 1931.
  • Spanish Circus: Charles IV of Spain. London: Collins, 1937.
  • Victorian Peepshow (autobiography). London: M. Joseph, 1938.
  • George Borrow. London: Arthur Barker, 1950; Denver, CO: Alan Swallow, 1950.


  • Pedro Antonio de Alarcón, The Three-Cornered Hat: The true history of an affair current in certain tales and ballads and here written down as and how it befel. London: Gerald Howe, 1927; New York: Simon & Schuster, 1927.


  • Jeremy Taylor, A selection from his works. Waltham Saint Lawrence, Berkshire, UK: : Golden Cockerel Press, 1923.
  • 54 Conceits: A collection of epigrams and epitaphs serious and comic. London: Martin Secker, 1933.
  • The Major Pleasures of Life: An anthology. London: Gollancz, 1934.
  • Spanish Circus: Charles IV of Spain. London: Collins, 1937.
  • Victorian Peepshow (autobiography). London: M. Joseph, 1938.
Miss Thomson goes shopping by Martin Armstrong, a narrative poem 1950

Miss Thomson goes shopping by Martin Armstrong, a narrative poem 1950

Except where noted, bibliographical information courtesy WorldCat.[4]

See also Edit

References Edit


  1. Martin Armstrong, Peters, Fraser, & Dunlop. Web, May 20, 2015.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Martin (Donisthorpe) Armstrong," Dictionary of Literary Biography, Thomson Gale, 2005-2006,, Web, Feb. 17, 2012.
  3. Lizza Aiken, "A Family Education", The HornBook, 2009. The World of Joan Aiken, March 28, 2014, Wordpress, Web, July 12, 2015.
  4. Search results = au:Martin Armstrong, WorldCat, OCLC Online Computer Library Center Inc. Web, Apr. 20, 2014.

External links Edit

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