Poldark is a collection of twelve historical novels wrote by Winston Graham from 1945 to 1953 and then continued again from 1973 to 2002.
Each novel had the name of "A Novel of Cornwall".
Graham wrote and published the first four novels between 1945 and 1953. Graham himself moved to Cornwall, where the novels are set, when he was 17 and lived there for 40 years.
Graham stated that the character of Ross was, in part, based upon a fighter pilot he met on a train during World War II. His wife, Jean, helped him come up with ideas and the character of Demelza Poldark was based on her. Their daughter later stated that Graham "was the author but my mother helped with the details because she was very observant. She saw everything and remembered it all". Following a hiatus, Graham wrote the final novels between 1973 and 2002.
Ross Poldark was an officer in the British Army who fought in the American War of Independence. He was presumed dead for three years back home in Cornwall and when he finally gets home, it had forever changed. His fiancé, Elizabeth Chynoweth was now engaged to his cousin, Francis Poldark and his father had died and left their estate in ruins. He goes in search of a new fortune by reopening one of the Poldark family's derelict mines.
He eventually married a servant, Demelza Carne but their marriage was turbulent. He faces trouble in the form of arch-rival, George Warleggan, a ruthless banker and upstart in aristocracy who gets increasingly powerful and cunning.
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The novels were critically acclaimed, and have become beloved by many. Graham recognised that "that although literary fiction may be complex, great popular novels have the underlying clarity of a fairytale."
Behind the scenes
- Many productions have been made from the novels, including two BBC TV shows in 1975 and 2015.
- The Poldark Mine in Helston Cornwall was renamed following the success of the novels.
- Graham originally named the main family Polgreen in honour of a friend, but he believed that it didn't sound strong enough so he invented the name Poldark.
- While writing the novels, Graham researched the history of the time they were set in and spent many hours looking into old archives.