CONTENT Early life Early life Medical and writing career Medical and writing career Family Family Later years Later years Hatters house Hatters house Bibliography Bibliography Questions Questions
EARLY LIFE Cronin was born at Rosebank Cottage in Cardross, Dunbartonshire, the only child of a Protestant mother, Jessie Cronin (née Montgomerie), and a Catholic father, Patrick Cronin, and would later write of young men from similarly mixed backgrounds. His paternal grandparents emigrated from County Armagh, Ireland and were glass and china merchants in Alexandria. Cronin's maternal grandfather, Archibald Montgomerie, was a hatter who owned a shop in Dumbarton. After their marriage, Cronin's parents moved to Helensburgh, where he attended Grant Street School. When he was seven years old, his father, an insurance agent andcommercial traveller, died from tuberculosis. He and his mother moved to her parents' home in Dumbarton, and she soon became the first female public health
Cronin was not only a precocious student at Dumbarton Academy who won many prizes and writing competitions, but also an excellent athlete and footballer. From an early age, he was an avid golfer, a sport he enjoyed throughout his life, and he loved salmon fishing as well. The family later moved to Yorkhill, Glasgow, where he attended St Aloysius' Collegein the Garnethill area of the city. He played football for the First XI there, an experience he included in one of his last novels, The Minstrel Boy. A family decision that he should study for either the church or medicine was settled by Cronin himself, who chose "the lesser of two evils. In 1925, he was awarded an M.D. from the University of Glasgow for his dissertation, entitled "The History of Aneurysm."
MEDICAL AND WRITING CAREER During World War I Cronin served as a Surgeon Sub-Lieutenant in the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve before graduating from medical school. After the war, he trained at various hospitals including Bellahouston and Lightburn Hospitals in Glasgow and Rotunda Hospital in Dublin. He undertook general practice work in a small village on the Clyde, Garelochhead, as well as in Tredegar, a mining town in South Wales. In 1924, he was appointed as a Medical Inspector of Mines for Great Britain, and over the next few years, his survey of medical regulations in collieries and his reports on the correlation between coal dust inhalation and pulmonary disease were published.
In 1930, after being diagnosed with a chronic duodenal ulcer, Cronin was told he must take six months' complete rest in the country on a milk diet. At Dalchenna Farm by Loch Fyne, he was finally able to indulge his lifelong desire to write a novel, having theretofore "written nothing but prescriptions and scientific papers". From Dalchenna Farm he travelled to Dumbarton to research the background of the novel, using the files of Dumbarton Library, which still has the letter from Cronin requesting advice on this. He composed Hatter's Castle in the span of three months, and the manuscript was quickly accepted by Gollancz, the only publishing house to which it had been submitted (apparently chosen when his wife randomly stuck a pin into a list of publishers). This novel, which was an immediate and sensational success, launched his career as a prolific author, and he never returned to practising medicine.
FAMILY It was at university that Cronin met his future wife, Agnes Mary Gibson (May) (1898– 1981), who was also a medical student. She was the daughter of Robert Gibson, a master baker, and Agnes Thomson Gibson (née Gilchrist) of Hamilton, Lanarkshire. The couple married on 31 August As a doctor, May worked with her husband briefly in the dispensary while he was employed by the Tredegar Medical Aid Society; she also assisted him with his practice in London. When he became an author, she would proofread his manuscripts. Their first son, Vincent, was born in Tredegar in Their second son, Patrick, was born in London in Andrew, their youngest son, was born in London in 1937.
LATER YEARS Ultimately, Cronin returned to Europe, residing in Lucerne and Montreux, Switzerland for the last 25 years of his life and continuing to write into his eighties. He included among his friends Laurence Olivier, Charlie Chaplin and Audrey Hepburn, to whose first son he was godfather. Cronin retained a great affection for the district of his childhood, writing in 1972 to a local teacher: "Although I have travelled the world over I must say in all sincerity that my heart belongs to Dumbarton... Cronin died on 6 January 1981 in Montreux, and is interred at La Tour-de- Peilz. Many of Cronin's writings, including published and unpublished literary manuscripts, drafts, letters, school exercise books and essays, laboratory books, and his M.D. thesis, are held at the National Library of Scotland and at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas.
HATTERS HOUSE Hatter's Castle (1931) is the first novel of author A. J. Cronin. The story is set in 1879, in the fictional town of Levenford, on the Firth of Clyde. The plot revolves around many characters and has many subplots, all of which relate to the life of the hatter, James Brodie, whose narcissism and cruelty gradually destroy his family and life. The book was made into a successful film in 1942 starring Robert Newton, Deborah Kerr, and James Mason.
The novel begins with some insight into the life of the Brodie household, where James Brodie seems to have everyone under his thumb. The main event that triggers the events in the novel is Mary Brodie's relationship with her first love, Dennis. Early in the story, Mary, who has occasionally met Dennis at the library, is invited by him to go to the fair in the town. She sneaks out without her family's knowledge and not only goes to the fair, but later on that night kisses and eventually makes love to Dennis, which we later learn, results in pregnancy.
We realise that Mary is pregnant, and when she is six months pregnant she makes a plan with Dennis to run away and get married without her parents noticing. Even though Mary was only seventeen, there would have been no legal problem with her marriage since the English law which, until 1970, generally required people under twenty-one to have parental consent to marry, did not apply in Scotland. But three days before Dennis is due to whisk Mary away, there is a massive storm, and she begins to go into labour whilst carrying the child. Mrs. Brodie stumbles into Mary's room and begins to scream at the fact that her daughter is with child, and calls James himself to sort it out. After being kicked in the stomach repeatedly by her father and thrown out on her face into the pouring rain (whilst in labour), she tries to reach safety. Mary nearly drowns in a river before finding a barn where she gives birth to her premature child, which dies. Dennis, who was, travelling on a train to rescue Mary, is killed when the train derails and plunges into the River Tay below, a retelling of the actual Tay Bridge disaster of 1879.
In the end of the novel, Mrs. Brodie dies. Brodies son with his wife move away In the end of the novel, Mrs. Brodie dies. Brodies son with his wife move away and Brodie is left with only his younger daughter, Nessie, and his aged mother, Grandma Brodie. Brodie forces Nessie to study hard so as to win the "Latta", a valuable bursarship. He wants this not so much to provide a good future for his daughter, as to show that she is better than his rival's son, who is also entered for it. Under his threats and the dreadful fear of failure, she labours on with it, making herself mentally and physically ill. Nessie secretly writes to Mary asking her to come back, so she will have her company and comfort. Under pretext of coming to help with housework, Mary writes to her father, who initially refuses her return. He writes again permitting Mary to come back, so she does. Nessie obtains notice of the Latta result before her father sees it. Finding that her rival has won it and fearing her father, she sends Mary out to the chemist on the pretext of getting some medicine, then dresses up and hangs herself. The story concludes with Dr. Renwick, who has been seeing Mary, taking her away with him to marry her.
Hatter's Castle (novel, 1931) The Stars Look Down (novel, 1935) The Citadel (novel, 1937) Vigil in the Night (serial novella, 1939) Jupiter Laughs (play, 1940) The Green Years (novel, 1944) Shannon's Way (novel, 1948; sequel to The Green Years) The Spanish Gardener (novel, 1950), Beyond This Place (novel, 1953) A Thing of Beauty (novel, 1956) The Innkeeper's Wife (short story republished as a book, 1958)
QUESTIONS Where Cronin was born? Where Cronin was born? From where emigrated his Grandparents? From where emigrated his Grandparents? To which place Cronin wrote his heart belongs? To which place Cronin wrote his heart belongs? Which kinds of sport enjoyed Cronin? Which kinds of sport enjoyed Cronin? Why did Cronin chose medicine? Why did Cronin chose medicine? For what Cronin was awarded an M.D.? For what Cronin was awarded an M.D.? After what After what he was finally able to indulge his lifelong desire to write a novel? Cronins first novel? Cronins first novel? Who was Cronins wife?(+) Who was Cronins wife?(+) Make a short retell for the Hatters house(+) Make a short retell for the Hatters house(+) Your opinion for the novel(+) Your opinion for the novel(+)
ANSWERS Cardross, Dunbartonshire Armagh,Ireland Dumbarton Football,Golf Dissertation The History of Aneurysm after being diagnosed with a chronic duodenal ulcer Hatters house