Mini Bio (1)
English novelist William Babington Maxwell was born in 1866, the son of Irish publisher John Maxwell and English actress and writer Mary Elizabeth Braddon. He was brought up in Surrey, and because of his parents' professions he met and befriended many of the most famous British artists, writers and actors of the era. As a young man he dabbled in a variety of endeavors, such as painting, writing and editing--his father put him in charge of a failing periodical, "The Mistletoe Bough", and although Robert improved its content and circulation, it wasn't enough to save it. After the magazine failed, he continued to contribute articles, stories and sketches to various publications, He published his first novel, "The Countess of Maybury", in 1901, which was actually a reprint of several stories he had already submitted and had published. The book didn't attract much attention, and neither did his following novel, "Fabulous Fancies", but his third work, "The Ragged Messenger" (1904), hit it big and was turned into a play and several films, one of them being Madonna of the Streets (1930). His next two novels, "Vivien" (1905) and "The Guarded Flame" (1906), were also successes, and Maxwell eventually produced over 40 books.
When World War I broke out in 1914 Maxwell joined the British Army and was attached to the Royal Fusiliers as a lieutenant, and his unit was sent to fight in France in 1915, taking part in some of the most horrendous battles of the war--Loos, the Somme offensive and Paschendale. He was invalided out of the army in 1917 due to health reasons and sent back to England. He continued writing and publishing until shortly before his death in 1938.
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