Source: Johnson, Alan. “Arthur Symons’ “the Life and Adventures of Lucy Newcome”: Preface and Text.” English Literature in Transition, 1880-1920, vol. 28, no. 4, 1985, pp. 332.
In this article, Alan Johnson offers a contextual preface to Lucy Newcome and explains the origins of Lucy and her appearance in three short stories written by Arthur Symons (which were included in volumes 2 and 8 of The Savoy). He also includes the first ever copy of “The Life and Adventures of Lucy Newcome” by Arthur Symons, which has never before been printed. This article is so important to the research on Lucy Newcome, of which there is very little, as well as to the studies of Arthur Symons and his sexual life.
Johnson begins by explaining how Symons wished for the Lucy short stories to be a kind of “novel à la Goncourt” which represents everyday life with all of its mundane moments so that were often disconnected. Johnson goes on to explain how Symons met “Muriel,” the woman who inspired Lucy, and chronicles their salacious relationship. The article also does well to contextual London in the 1890s and its prostitution ring, describing the geography of “The Life and Adventures of Lucy Newcome” in considerable detail, including how Symons moves across London and its many important locales. Additionally, Johnson looks at the class-consciousness and male condescension explicit in the story, arguing that Symons writes an impressive “inner life” for Lucy based on “Muriel’s” actual life.
The article ends with the story “The Life and Adventures of Lucy Newcome,” where Lucy Newcome is both a prostitute and a “cultivated woman with…her books and her aspirations and her pictures” (Johnson 332). I found this resource very helpful as it offered the next chapter to her life following “Pages” and so offers insight into the real woman. It is a very good starting point for those interested in Lucy Newcome.
- Rosabel Smegal