Anthony Hope is the pseudonym of Anthony Hope Hawkins, a successful and prolific author of fiction and drama. The son of a school headmaster, Hope was born in London in 1863. From 1876 to 1881 he attended public school at Marlborough, where he excelled at both sports and academics. He won an "Exhibition" at Balliol College, Oxford, and during his first term there was promoted to "Scholar," which greatly improved his limited financial means.
Graduating with honors, Hope left Oxford in 1886 to pursue a legal career at Middle Temple in London. While practicing law, Hope also experimented with creative writing, and he published his first novel, a political satire entitled A Man of Mark, at his own expense in 1890. With the publication of his most famous novel, The Prisoner of Zenda, in 1894, Hope felt he was earning enough as a professional author to abandon his career in the law. He eventually returned twice more to the fertile Ruritanian setting of The Prisoner of Zenda—first in the short story collection The Heart of Princess Osra (1896), and later in the Zenda sequel, Rupert of Hentzau (1898)—but neither of these efforts was quite so successful as his first attempt.
During the course of his productive life, Hope went on to publish wide variety of fiction, in areas ranging from the light domestic comedy of The Dolly Dialogues (1894) to the more serious historical fiction of Simon Dole (1898). Enjoying a long-standing love of the theater, Hope also scripted a number of successful plays, some of which were adaptations of his own novels. During World War I, he wrote political propaganda for the British government, and for his wartime service was knighted in 1918.
In the years since his death on July 8, 1933, many devoted readers have agreed that Hope's legacy to literature in general and to the adventure story in particular is worthy of esteem. The Prisoner of Zenda alone ranks as one of the finest romances ever published in the English language.
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