Arabian Nights is the Web implementation of the classic book "Stories from the Arabian Nights" by Laurence Housman. See the editorial for more information....

The Authors

Author: Epina eBook Team

Laurence Housman

Laurence Housman (1865-1959) was an English playwright, writer and illustrator. After education at Bromsgrove School, he went with his sister Clemence to study art at the Lambeth School of Art and the Royal College of Art in London.

portrait photo Laurence Housman
Laurence Housman 1915. Copyright: George Grantham Bain Collection, US Library of Congress
He first worked as a book illustrator with London publishers, illustrating many books in an intricate Art Nouveau style. During this period, he also wrote and published several volumes of poetry and a number of hymns and carols. When his eyesight began to fail, he turned more and more to writing novels and dramas.

Some of Housman's plays caused scandals because of depiction of biblical characters and living members of the Royal House on stage, and many of them were only played privately until the subsequent relaxation of theatrical censorship. In 1937 the Lord Chamberlain ruled that no British sovereign may be portrayed on the stage until 100 years after his or her accession. For this reason, Victoria Regina could not be staged until the centenary of Queen Victoria's accession, 20 June 1937.

A prolific writer with around a hundred published works to his name, his output eventually covered all kinds of literature from socialist and pacifist pamphlets to children's stories. He wrote an autobiography, The Unexpected Years (1937), which, despite his record of controversial writing, said little about his homosexuality. He also edited his brother's posthumous poems.

Housman held what for the time were controversial political views. He was a committed socialist and pacifist and founded the Men's League for Women's Suffrage with Henry Nevinson and Henry Brailsford in 1907.

Edmund Dulac

Edmund Dulac (1882-1953) was a French book illustrator prominent during the so called "Golden Age of Illustration" (the first quarter of the twentieth century). Born in Toulouse, France, he began his career by studying law at the University of Toulouse, but also followed classes in the Ecole des Beaux Arts, switching full time to art after he became bored with law. He spent a very brief period at the Académie Julian in Paris in 1904 before moving to London.
portrait photo Edmund Dulac
Edmund Dulac. Source:

In London, the 22-year old Frenchman was picked up by J.M. Dent and given a commission to illustrate the collected works of the Brontë sisters. He then began an association with the Leicester Gallery and Hodder & Stoughton; the gallery would commission paintings from Dulac and then sell the rights to Hodder & Stoughton, who would publish the books (one book a year over many years) while the gallery would sell the paintings. Books produced under this arrangement by Dulac include Stories from The Arabian Nights.

Dulac became a naturalized British Citizen in 1912. During World War I he contributed to relief books, including King Albert's Book, and, unusually, his own Edmund Dulac's Picture Book for the French Red Cross (1915).

After the war, the deluxe edition illustrated book became a rarity and Dulac's career in this field was over but continued in other areas, including newspaper caricatures, portraiture, theatre costume and set design, bookplates, chocolate boxes, medals, and various graphics.

Last Update: 2011-04-06