Image of Walter Besant


Lifetime: 1836 - 1901 Passed: ≈ 122 years ago


Novelist, Historian



Walter Besant

Sir Walter Besant (1836-1901) was an English novelist, short story writer, and historian. He was born in Portsmouth, England, and educated at King's College London. After graduating, Besant worked as a schoolteacher and then as a secretary to the poet Charles Kingsley. In 1868, he published his first novel, Ready-Money Mortiboy, which was a critical and commercial success.


Besant was a strong supporter of social reform. He was particularly interested in improving the lives of the poor and working class. He also believed that education was essential for social progress. Besant was also a nationalist and believed that England should be a strong and independent nation.

Famous For

Besant is best known for his historical novels and his social reform work. His most famous novels include All Sorts and Conditions of Men (1882), The Children of Gibeon (1886), and Dorothy Forster (1894). Besant also wrote a number of non-fiction works, including London in the Eighteenth Century (1892) and The History of London (1894-1897).

Notable Works

In addition to his novels and non-fiction works, Besant also wrote a number of short stories and plays. His most famous short stories include The Bell of St. Paul's (1888) and The Fourth Generation (1889). His most famous play is The Case of Rebellious Susan (1890).


Besant's philosophy was based on the belief that social progress is possible through education and reform. He believed that everyone, regardless of their social class, should have the opportunity to improve their lives. Besant also believed that England should be a strong and independent nation.

Death and Legacy

Besant died on June 9, 1901, at the age of 64. He is buried at St. Mary's Church in Hampstead, London. Besant is remembered as a prolific and popular writer who used his work to promote social reform and to celebrate English history and culture.

Interesting Fact

Besant was a founding member of the Authors' Club, a social club for writers. He was also the first president of the Society of Authors, a trade union for writers.


Sir Walter Besant was a versatile and prolific writer who made significant contributions to English literature. His novels, short stories, and non-fiction works are still enjoyed by readers today. Besant was also a strong supporter of social reform and a champion of English history and culture.

Books by Walter Besant

Captain Cook Cover image

Captain Cook

Autobiography Voyage Exploration Success Island Life Navy Relationships

The greatest navigator of all time. Captain Cook by Walter Besant is a biography of James Cook, the greatest navigator of all time. Cook was a British explorer who made three voyages to the Pacific Ocean in the late 18th century. He was the first Eu...