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William Wymark Jacobs

(1863 - 1943)

William Wymark Jacobs was an English author of short stories and novels. Best known for his humorous and eerie tales, Jacobs was born in Walthamstow, Essex, and began his career as a clerk in the civil service before his writing took precedence. His father managed a South Dock at the Thames in London, and the milieu of sailors and the sea would later percolate into Jacobs' works.

Jacobs' literary debut came with the publication of "Many Cargoes" in 1896, a collection of sea stories that found favour with the public. Yet, it was "The Monkey's Paw" (1902), a supernatural short story about the dire consequences of tampering with fate, that enshrined Jacobs’ legacy in the annals of classic horror literature. The tale has been widely anthologised, adapted into other media, and is frequently cited as an example of effective narrative tension and chilling plot.

Over his career, Jacobs wrote more than a dozen books and is regarded as a prominent figure in Edwardian literature. His work often combines humour with a wry observation of humanity's quirks, illustrated most notably in his sardonic narrative voices. Despite the enduring popularity of "The Monkey's Paw," much of Jacobs’ oeuvre reflects the everyday life of lower-middle-class England at the turn of the 20th century, retold with comedic flair and sympathy.

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