Denton Welch

[The List Universe]

Maurice Denton Welch

set text:

Journals. 1952. Edited by Michael De-la-Noy. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1984.

[7 December, 1942]:

I have just heard that my father is dead. He died on 9 November, I don't know where. I suppose in Shanghai.

I said, "Oh Lord," and 9 November seemed to leave the paper and enlarge as it came towards me, but it was really only the slightest shock and there was hardly any grief with it at all.

I thought of the happiest times; when I had been a little boy, sitting by the library fire in my thick, quilted kimono, eating bread and butter and drinking hot milk, while he read to me, as I have described before.

I thought of his dull life dedicated to making money; and the thought of money made something churn and stir inside me. What would happen! Would I be richer or poorer? Would all sources of supply be cut off, at least for the time being, because of the war with Japan! Would the London office cease paying me his allowance because my father was dead and consequently no longer a director of their company? What was my step­mother going to do - and my eldest brother? Were they all seizing as much money as possible?

I had always looked upon my father as a rich man and a bulwark in some measure between me and the future. And now I wished that if he had to die he had died in England or America, not in far away China.

I am asking myself all these questions still. I cannot help it if they are nearly all to do with money. All that is left of my father is what he has left.

Will my stepmother Ada ever send me, or be able to send me, anything of his - a cigarette case, cuff-links or a watch? I should like them chiefly for what they are and only a very little because they were his.

- The Journals of Denton Welch (1984): 36.

Select Bibliography:


Maiden Voyage (1935)

In Youth is Pleasure (1943)

A Voice Through a Cloud (1950)

short stories:

Brave and Cruel (1949)

A Last Sheaf (1951)

The Stories of Denton Welch (1985)

Fragments of a Life Story: The Collected Short Writings (1987)


Journals (1952)

I Left My Grandfather's House (1958)

Biography & Secondary Literature:

De-la-Noy, Michael. Denton Welch: The Making of a Writer. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1984.

Methuen-Campbell, James. Denton Welch, Writer and Artist. 1994. London: Tauris Parke, 2004.

Homepages & Online Information:

A Short Guide to Denton Welch

The Denton Welch Admiration Site

Wikipedia entry

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