William Wymark Jacobs
The writer was born in London in 1863 in a house on the Thames River Wharf managed by his father. His boyhood memories of dockworkers, sailors and life at sea deeply influenced his early stories, collected in Many Cargoes (1896).
This collection met with immediate success and was followed by two others, The Skipper’s Wooing (1897) ans Sea Urchins (1898). He also wrote several novels, including the well-known At Sunwich Port (1902) and Dialstone Lane (1904), but his fame rests mainly on his short stories, which can be roughly grouped into two categories. The humorous ones deal with the adventures of seamen, country characters and rogues, as in the highly successful “Claybury” stories.
Jacobs’ tales of terror and the macabre show his unique ability to combine everyday atmosphere with unexpected elements of superstition and dread. Light Freights (1901) is generally considered his best collection. Snug Harbour, which appeared in 1931, contained some seventeen volumes of stories and novels. Jacobs died in London in 1943.