(1912-1994) British author. Although best known for his crime novels, he also worked as a critic, editor, poet, essayist, biographer, and historian. His novels, in which he develops his theme with wit and intellectual flair, include The End of Solomon Grundy 1964, The Man Who Lost His Wife 1970, and The Blackheath Poisonings 1978, one of several works with a Victorian setting.
Symons became deeply involved in anarchist and literary circles in London, writing poetry and editing the influential poetry magazine The Twentieth Century. His first detective novel, The Immaterial Murder Case 1945, was a spoof in which he introduced many of the literary figures of the period. By the time he wrote his second, The Thirty First of February 1950, he had begun to use his writing to investigate the psychology of relationships and to comment upon the structure of society.
Some of his best writings on the crime novel are contained in Bloody Murder 1972; among his many other works are biographies of Edgar Allen Poe, Charles Dickens, Thomas Carlyle, and Dashiell Hammett (a favorite author); social histories, such as The General Strike 1957 and The Thirties 1960; and a brief autobiography, Notes from Another Country(1972). As a critic and editor, he encouraged several generations of young writers.
(1865-1945) Welsh critic. He was a follower of Walter Pater, and friend of the artists Toulouse-Lautrec and Aubrey Beardsley, the poets Stéphane Mallarmé and W B Yeats, and the novelist Joseph Conrad. He introduced T S Eliot to the poetry of Jules Laforgue and wrote The Symbolist Movement in Literature 1900.