Denton Welch

Posted on September 26, 2010


English writer and artist Denton Welch died before he hit 35, and his self-portrait in the National Portrait Gallery in London shows him with thick glasses and pale skin, boyish and bookish and guarded. And a bit fragile, which he was, due to a terrible bicycle accident which left him nearly crippled when he was 20 and ultimately led to his early death at 33. His writing is full of carefully worded detail, but has an honesty and paradoxically detached self-involvement that can leave the reader breathless. His writing, sometimes obliquely and sometimes more forthrightly gay, is strictly autobiographical. Among his best short stories are When I Was Thirteen; his memoir A Voice Through a Cloud details his accident and the aftermath in clear, unemotional and moving prose. Denton Welch: The Making of a Writer, a biography by Michael De-la-Noy came out in 1984, detailing Welch’s life and his complicated relationship with his longtime lover, Eric Oliver.

Other works by Welch include: In Youth is Pleasure, Maiden Voyage and Brave and Cruel. His journals have been published as well, plus various miscellaneous collections of his work. Denton Welch also has a page on wikipedia. There is also a Denton Welch Facebook group page here.