Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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MORGAN , CHARLES LANGBRIDGE (‘ Menander ’; 1894 - 1958 ), drama critic, novelist, playwright .

Born 22 Jan. 1894 , youngest child of Sir Charles Langbridge Morgan , engineer , and Mary (née Watkins ) his wife. His grandparents had emigrated from Pembrokeshire to Australia where his parents were married. He was trained in the Royal Navy from 1907 and became a naval officer , but he resigned in 1913 to lead a literary life, though he returned to serve in the navy during both World Wars . He entered Brasenose College , Oxford , 1919 , and graduated, 1921 . He then joined the staff of The Times , becoming well-known as its principal drama critic , 1926-39 . He received many honorary degrees; was one of the select foreign members of l'Institut de France ; was elected president of the English Association , 1953-54 , and of the International Literary Congress for Authors , 1954-56 . With the exception of his first two novels, he produced a continuous sequence of literary masterpieces. His novels and plays were particularly artistic, of profound significance, and of great and varied narrative power. Portrait in a Mirror ( 1929 ) was awarded the Femina-Vie Heureuse prize ; The Fountain ( 1932 ) the Hawthornden prize ; and The Voyage ( 1940 ) the James Tait Black memorial book prize . A dramatised version of The River Line ( 1949 ) was produced at the Edinburgh Festival in 1952 .

He lived most of his life in London . Possibly his closest connections with Wales came through his wife, Hilda Campbell Vaughan of Builth Wells , a novelist whom he m. 6 June 1923 and by whom he had a son and daughter (the Marchioness of Anglesey ). His first play The Flashing Stream ( 1938 ) was written during a holiday spent at Llangorse Lake , Breck. Two long periods were spent in Pembrokeshire also, when A breeze of morning ( 1951 ) was written. He wrote a history of Macmillans (publishers) ( 1943 ); a collection of his lectures and essays was published posthumously in The writer and his world ( 1960 ). He d. 6 Feb. 1958 .


  • The Biographical Index of W. W. Price, Aberdâr (at the National Library of Wales and Aberdare Public Library) ;
  • Who was who? ;
  • Eiluned Lewis , Selected letters of Charles Morgan with a memoir (1967) ;
  • Henry Charles Duffin , The novels and plays of Charles Morgan (London, 1959) ;
  • D. Crystal , The Cambridge Biographical Dictionary (Cambridge, 1994) ;
  • Times Literary Supplement Index .


Dr Mary Auronwy James, Aberystwyth

Published date: 2001