Moonfleet followed three years later and then, in 1903, came The Nebuly
Till 1920 Falkner had in an untroubled way, which Dr Warren finds paradoxical, combined employment as a merchant of instruments of war with being the author of three novels (The Lost Stradivarius, 1895; Moonfleet, 1898; and The Nebuly Coat, 1903), a poet, a lover of all things antiquarian, a collector of books and medieval manuscripts, and a devoted prizer of the Catholic heritage of the Anglican Church and of its choral tradition.
Antholin's provided the fictional source for the fall of the church tower in The Nebuly Coat.(1)
1 See my 'A Fictional Source for the Falling Tower in John Meade Falkner's The Nebuly Coat', N&Q NS 43 (1996), 439-41.
Though John Meade Falkner in The Nebuly Coat (1903) drew on accounts of the collapse in 1861 of Chichester Cathedral's central tower and spire in his description of the fateful and climactic collapse of the tower of St Sepulchre's at the conclusion of his novel,(1) there is also a fictional inspiration for the fictional event.
Antholin's; or, Old Churches and New: A Tale for the Times (London, 1841), and Milford Malvoisin: or, Pews and Pewholders (London and Oxford, 1842).(2) Though The Nebuly Coat belongs to the same antiquarian and ecclesiological world as all the works Falkner mentions, there is a special debt to St.
Thereafter, the novel is concerned with the disastrous building of a new church on the cheap, its destruction by fire merely anticipating the fact that 'it would have fallen of itself in a very few years' (148), and the subsequent rebuilding of the ancient church 'in all its pristine stability and beauty' (149): for these later features of the plot there are no parallels in The Nebuly Coat.
Antholin's, a novel which 'captivated' Falkner from his childhood and was read and reread by him, which culminate in the dramatic collapse of a church spire, evidently provided the fictional model for the climax of The Nebuly Coat, the collapse of the tower of St Sepulchre's.
Antholin's the spire fell during the hurricane, in The Nebuly Coat the tower falls only after the cyclone has subsided.
The recent appearance in the World's Classics series of all three novels, The Lost Stradivarius, Moon fleet, and The Nebuly Coat, by John Meade Falkner (1858-1952) has brought before a wider public the work of a writer who had latterly been something of a recherche enthusiasm (though those who shared it included Forster, Betjeman, and Larkin).
However, [Greek Text Omitted] is not a Greek word and is itself a misprint; the original 1903 edition of The Nebuly Coat did print a Greek word, [Greek Text Omitted] (p.
my earlier article, 'Literary and Antiquarian Allusions in John Meade Falkner's The Nebuly
Coat', N&Q, ccxxxv (1990), 59-65.