The Info List - James Hilton (novelist)

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James Hilton (9 September 1900 – 20 December 1954) was an English novelist best remembered for several best-sellers, including Lost Horizon
Lost Horizon
and Goodbye, Mr. Chips. He also wrote Hollywood screenplays.[1]


1 Biography 2 Novels

2.1 Lost Horizon 2.2 Goodbye, Mr. Chips

3 Oscar winner 4 Works

4.1 Novels 4.2 Non-fiction 4.3 Short stories 4.4 Plays 4.5 Screenplays

5 Adaptations and sequels of his works 6 Memorials 7 See also 8 References 9 Further reading 10 External links

Biography[edit] Born in Leigh, Lancashire, England, Hilton was the son of John Hilton, the headmaster of Chapel End School in Walthamstow. He was educated at The Leys School, Cambridge and then at Christ's College, Cambridge, where he wrote his first novel, and was also awarded an honours degree in English literature.[2] He started work as a journalist, first for the Manchester Guardian, then reviewing fiction for the Daily Telegraph.[3] He wrote his two most remembered books, Lost Horizon
Lost Horizon
and Goodbye, Mr. Chips while living in a house on Oak Hill Gardens, in Woodford Green in north London. The house still stands, with a blue plaque marking Hilton's residence. By 1938 he had moved to California, and his work became more connected with the Hollywood film industry.[3] While in California, Hilton was also host of one of radio's prestige drama anthologies, Hallmark Playhouse, from 1948-1952.[4] He married Alice Brown, a secretary at the BBC, just before they left for the United States in 1935, but they divorced in 1937.[5] He then married Galina Kopernak but divorced eight years later.[6] He became an American citizen in 1948.[5] A heavy smoker, Hilton had various health problems when he made a farewell visit to England in 1954, and in December he died at his home in Long Beach, California, USA, from liver cancer with his reconciled former wife Alice at his side.[5] His obituary in The Times
The Times
describes him as "a modest and retiring man for all his success, he was a keen mountaineer and enjoyed music and travel."[3] Novels[edit] Hilton's first novel, Catherine Herself, was published in 1920, when he was still an undergraduate.[3] The next eleven years were difficult for him, and it was not until 1931 that he had success with the novel And Now Goodbye.[3] Following this, several of his books were international bestsellers and inspired successful film adaptations, notably Lost Horizon
Lost Horizon
(1933), which won a Hawthornden Prize; Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1934); and Random Harvest
Random Harvest
(1941). After this, he continued to write, but the works were not regarded as of the same quality as his best-known novels.[3] Hilton's books are sometimes characterised as sentimental and idealistic celebrations of English virtues.[7] This is true of Mr. Chips, but some of his novels had a darker side. Flaws in the English society of his time – particularly narrow-mindedness and class-consciousness – were frequently his targets. His novel We Are Not Alone, despite its inspirational-sounding title, is a grim story of legally approved lynching brought on by wartime hysteria in Britain. Freud
- an early admirer (though he considered The Meadows of the Moon below par) - came to conclude that Hilton had wasted his talent by being too prolific.[8] Lost Horizon[edit] First published in 1933, this novel won Hilton the Hawthornden Prize in 1934.[9] Later, Pocket Books, which pioneered the publication of small, soft-cover, inexpensive books, picked Lost Horizon
Lost Horizon
as its first title in 1939. For that reason, the novel is frequently called the book that began the "paperback revolution." Hilton is said to have been inspired to write Lost Horizon, and to invent "Shangri-La" by reading the National Geographic Magazine articles of Joseph Rock, an Austrian-American botanist and ethnologist exploring the southwestern Chinese provinces and Tibetan borderlands. Still living in Britain at the time, Hilton was perhaps influenced by the Tibetan travel articles of early travellers in Tibet
whose writings were found in the British Library.[10] Christian Zeeman, the Danish father of the mathematician Christopher Zeeman, has also been claimed to be the model for the hero of the story. He disappeared while living in Japan (where his son was born in 1925), and was reputed to be living incognito in a Zen Buddhist
Zen Buddhist
monastery.[citation needed] Some say that the isolated valley town of Weaverville, California, in far northern Trinity County, was a source, but this is the result of a misinterpretation of a comment by Hilton in a 1941 interview, in which he said that Weaverville reminded him of Shangri-La.[11] Coincidentally, Junction City (about 8 miles from Weaverville) now has a Tibetan Buddhist
Tibetan Buddhist
centre with the occasional Tibetan monks in saffron robes. The name "Shangri-La" has become a byword for a mythical utopia, a permanently happy land, isolated from the world. After the Doolittle Raid on Tokyo, when the fact that the bombers had flown from an aircraft carrier remained highly classified, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt told the press facetiously that they had taken off from Shangri-La. The Navy subsequently gave that name to an aircraft carrier, and Roosevelt named his Maryland
presidential retreat "Shangri-La". (Later, President Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower
renamed the retreat Camp David
Camp David
after his grandson, and that name has been used for it ever since.) Zhongdian, a mountain region of Southwest China, has now been renamed Shangri-La
(Xianggelila), based on its claim to have inspired Hilton's book.[12] Goodbye, Mr. Chips[edit] Hilton's father, headmaster of Chapel End School in Walthamstow, was one of the inspirations for the character of Mr. Chipping in Goodbye, Mr. Chips, a best seller. Hilton first sent the material to The Atlantic and the magazine printed it as an article in April, 1934. It was then proposed to be printed as a book. On 8 June it was published as a book. Four months later it appeared as a book in Britain. Oscar winner[edit] Hilton, who lived and worked in Hollywood beginning in the mid-1930s, won an Academy Award
Academy Award
in 1942 for his work on the screenplay of Mrs. Miniver, based on the novel by Jan Struther. He presented six episodes of Ceiling Unlimited
Ceiling Unlimited
(1943) and hosted The Hallmark Playhouse (1948–1953) for CBS Radio. One of his later novels, Morning Journey, was about the film business. Works[edit]


Catherine Herself (1920) Storm Passage (1922) The Passionate Year (1924) Dawn Of Reckoning (U.S. title: Rage in Heaven) (1925) Meadows of the Moon (1926) Terry (1927) The Silver Flame (U.S. title: Three Loves Had Margaret) (1928) Murder at School
Murder at School
(U.S. title: Was It Murder?), published under the pen-name Glen Trevor
Glen Trevor
(1931) And Now Goodbye (1931) Contango (Ill Wind) (1932) Rage in Heaven
Rage in Heaven
(1932) Knight Without Armour
Knight Without Armour
(U.S. title: Without Armor) (1933) Lost Horizon
Lost Horizon
(1933) Goodbye, Mr. Chips
Goodbye, Mr. Chips
(1934) We Are Not Alone (1937) Random Harvest
Random Harvest
(1941) So Well Remembered
So Well Remembered
(1945) Nothing So Strange (1947) Morning Journey (1951) Time and Time Again (1953)


Mr. Chips Looks at the World (1939) The Story of Dr. Wassell
The Story of Dr. Wassell
(1944) H.R.H.: The Story of Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (1956)

Short stories[edit]

"The Failure" (1924) "Twilight of the Wise," published as a novella in 1949 (1936) "The Bat King" (1937) "It's a Crazy World" (1937) "From Information Received" (1938) "The Girl Who Got There" (1938) To You, Mr Chips! (collection) (1938) "You Can't Touch Dotty" (1938)


And Now Goodbye (with Philip Howard) (1937) Goodbye, Mr. Chips
Goodbye, Mr. Chips
(with Barbara Burnham) (1938)


Camille (1936) We Are Not Alone (1939) Lights Out in Europe (1940) Foreign Correspondent (dialogue) (1940) The Tuttles of Tahiti
The Tuttles of Tahiti
(1942) Mrs. Miniver
Mrs. Miniver
(1942) Forever and a Day (collaboration) (1943)

Adaptations and sequels of his works[edit] Some of Hilton's novels were filmed:

Lost Horizon
Lost Horizon
(1937, 1973) Knight Without Armour
Knight Without Armour
(1937) We Are Not Alone (1939) with a screenplay by Hilton Goodbye, Mr. Chips
Goodbye, Mr. Chips
(1939, 1969, 1984, 2002) Rage in Heaven
Rage in Heaven
(1941) Random Harvest
Random Harvest
(1942), reprised on radio in 1943 The Story of Dr. Wassell
The Story of Dr. Wassell
(1944), starring Gary Cooper So Well Remembered
So Well Remembered
(1947) starring John Mills
John Mills
and narrated by Hilton

Hilton co-wrote the book and lyrics for Shangri-La, a disastrous 1956 Broadway musical adaptation of Lost Horizon. There is one sequel to Lost Horizon
Lost Horizon
titled Shangri-La
and written by Eleanor Cooney and Daniel Altieri. It was licensed by the publisher William Morrow (an imprint of Harper Collins) and approved by the heirs to the Hilton Estate, Elizabeth Hill and Mary Porterfield. Shangri-La
continues James Hilton's tale, moving it forward in time to the Cultural Revolution
Cultural Revolution
of the 1960s and from there travelling back to the 1930s. In addition to its U.S. publication, the novel was further published in Germany, France, Spain and Portugal and was a New York Times Notable Book.[13] Memorials[edit] A furore was caused in the late 1990s, when Wigan Council (the Metropolitan Borough responsible for Leigh) announced that a blue plaque in honour of Hilton would be placed not on his house in Wilkinson Street, but on the town hall. This caused great debate amongst the populace of Leigh, which considered it more appropriate to have it on the house itself, which is only a few hundred yards from the town hall. James Hilton should not be confused with the Leigh businessman of the same name who became chairman of Leigh Rugby League Football Club after the war and after whom the club's former ground, Hilton Park (1947–2009), was named. See also[edit]

Frank Capra Middlebrow


^ D. Daiches ed., The Penguin Companion to Literature 1 (1971) p. 254 ^ Biographical Note on dust jacket of Dawn of Reckoning, Penguin Books, 1937. ^ a b c d e f "Mr. James Hilton". Obituaries. The Times
The Times
(53121). London. 22 December 1954. p. 10.  ^ "The Definitive Hallmark Playhouse Radio Log". Retrieved 29 January 2018.  ^ a b c Michael Buckley (2008). Shangri-La: A Practical Guide to the Himalayan Dream. Bradt Travel Guides. p. 24. ISBN 978-1-84162-204-0.  ^ "Biography". jameshiltonsociety.co.uk. Retrieved 16 October 2016.  ^ I. Scott, In Capra's Shadow (2006) p. 252 ^ Peter Gay, Freud
(1989) p. 608 ^ "The Hawthornden Prize – Award to Author of "Lost Horizon"". News. The Times
The Times
(46779). London. 13 June 1934. p. 13.  ^ Michael Buckley Shangri-La: A Travel Guide to the Himalayan Dream, Bradt Travel Guides, Chalfont St. Peter 2008, p37 ^ S. Benson, Lonely Planet California (2010) p. 325 ^ Chapter 4 "Shangri-La: A Travel Guide to the Himalayan Dream". Michael Buckley, Bradt Travel Guides, Chalfont St. Peter 2008 ^ The New York Times, 1996 "...Subtle and beautiful." (date of review needs researching)

Further reading[edit]

Roland Green in American Library Association (ALA) Booklist, 1996 (mo.?) Shangri-La, Kirkus Reviews Issue 15 Feb. 1996 Shangri-La: Morrow/ Harper Collins/ pub. 1 May. 1996 Lib. Cong. 0-688-12872-6

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to James Hilton.

James Hilton Society (June 2009) James Hilton on IMDb James Hilton at Find a Grave Works by James Hilton at Faded Page (Canada) Works by James Hilton at Project Gutenberg Australia Lost Horizon: NonProfit Fan Club of James Hilton's Book and Inspired Arts

v t e

Academy Award
Academy Award
for Best Adapted Screenplay


Benjamin Glazer (1928) Hanns Kräly (1929) Frances Marion
Frances Marion
(1930) Howard Estabrook
Howard Estabrook
(1931) Edwin J. Burke (1932) Victor Heerman
Victor Heerman
and Sarah Y. Mason
Sarah Y. Mason
(1933) Robert Riskin
Robert Riskin
(1934) Dudley Nichols (1935) Pierre Collings
Pierre Collings
and Sheridan Gibney (1936) Heinz Herald, Geza Herczeg, and Norman Reilly Raine
Norman Reilly Raine
(1937) Ian Dalrymple, Cecil Arthur Lewis, W. P. Lipscomb, and George Bernard Shaw (1938) Sidney Howard
Sidney Howard
(1939) Donald Ogden Stewart
Donald Ogden Stewart
(1940) Sidney Buchman and Seton I. Miller (1941) George Froeschel, James Hilton, Claudine West, and Arthur Wimperis (1942) Philip G. Epstein, Julius J. Epstein, and Howard E. Koch (1943) Frank Butler, and Frank Cavett (1944) Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder
Billy Wilder
(1945) Robert Sherwood (1946) George Seaton
George Seaton
(1947) John Huston
John Huston
(1948) Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Joseph L. Mankiewicz
(1949) Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Joseph L. Mankiewicz


Harry Brown and Michael Wilson (1951) Charles Schnee (1952) Daniel Taradash (1953) George Seaton
George Seaton
(1954) Paddy Chayefsky
Paddy Chayefsky
(1955) John Farrow, S. J. Perelman, and James Poe (1956) Carl Foreman
Carl Foreman
and Michael Wilson (1957) Alan Jay Lerner
Alan Jay Lerner
(1958) Neil Paterson (1959) Richard Brooks
Richard Brooks
(1960) Abby Mann (1961) Horton Foote (1962) John Osborne
John Osborne
(1963) Edward Anhalt (1964) Robert Bolt (1965) Robert Bolt (1966) Stirling Silliphant (1967) James Goldman (1968) Waldo Salt (1969) Ring Lardner Jr.
Ring Lardner Jr.
(1970) Ernest Tidyman (1971) Francis Ford Coppola
Francis Ford Coppola
and Mario Puzo
Mario Puzo
(1972) William Peter Blatty
William Peter Blatty
(1973) Francis Ford Coppola
Francis Ford Coppola
and Mario Puzo
Mario Puzo
(1974) Bo Goldman
Bo Goldman
and Lawrence Hauben (1975)


William Goldman
William Goldman
(1976) Alvin Sargent (1977) Oliver Stone
Oliver Stone
(1978) Robert Benton (1979) Alvin Sargent (1980) Ernest Thompson
Ernest Thompson
(1981) Costa-Gavras
and Donald E. Stewart (1982) James L. Brooks
James L. Brooks
(1983) Peter Shaffer (1984) Kurt Luedtke (1985) Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
(1986) Bernardo Bertolucci
Bernardo Bertolucci
and Mark Peploe (1987) Christopher Hampton
Christopher Hampton
(1988) Alfred Uhry
Alfred Uhry
(1989) Michael Blake (1990) Ted Tally (1991) Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
(1992) Steven Zaillian (1993) Eric Roth (1994) Emma Thompson
Emma Thompson
(1995) Billy Bob Thornton
Billy Bob Thornton
(1996) Curtis Hanson
Curtis Hanson
and Brian Helgeland (1997) Bill Condon (1998) John Irving
John Irving
(1999) Stephen Gaghan
Stephen Gaghan


Akiva Goldsman
Akiva Goldsman
(2001) Ronald Harwood (2002) Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, and Fran Walsh (2003) Alexander Payne
Alexander Payne
and Jim Taylor (2004) Larry McMurtry
Larry McMurtry
and Diana Ossana (2005) William Monahan
William Monahan
(2006) Joel Coen and Ethan Coen (2007) Simon Beaufoy (2008) Geoffrey S. Fletcher
Geoffrey S. Fletcher
(2009) Aaron Sorkin
Aaron Sorkin
(2010) Alexander Payne, Jim Rash, and Nat Faxon
Nat Faxon
(2011) Chris Terrio (2012) John Ridley
John Ridley
(2013) Graham Moore (2014) Adam McKay
Adam McKay
and Charles Randolph (2015) Barry Jenkins
Barry Jenkins
and Tarell Alvin McCraney
Tarell Alvin McCraney
(2016) James Ivory
James Ivory

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 36944583 LCCN: n81004128 ISNI: 0000 0001 0887 9310 GND: 119476401 SELIBR: 136879 SUDOC: 029194202 BNF: cb120871618 (data) NDL: 00443369 NKC: jn19990003523 BNE: XX854643 SN