J W Dunne was a soldier, pioneer aviator, dry fly fisherman, prophetic dreamer and philosopher. Famous from 1910 to 1939, he died in 1947 and nowadays few have heard of him. Yet he laid the foundations of many things that we today take for granted, not least the stable aeroplane and the hard science of parapsychology research, his "Serialism", and there is much that he deserves to be remembered for.

The few published accounts are full of mistakes, delusions and outright fairy-tales, spun in desperation to fill the void in what little we have really known about him. Archives held in many places, especially his own personal papers recently obtained by the Science Museum, have a very different and far more electrifying tale to tell.

Forthcoming biography

I have been researching and writing his biography for several years now. Lifelong aero and science enthusiast, sometime student of philosophy, marginally better amateur mathematician, professional non-specialist and scion of that dying socio-military upper middle class which once ran an Empire, I feel more qualified than most to understand the man and his work and to tackle head-on the broad, eclectic intellectual challenge of getting under his skin, the better to tell his tale.

At the time of writing it stands at about 150,000 words and I expect to finish the first reasonably complete and almost readable draft within the next couple of months. It will need a good many more months' work to polish it up and get it on the publishing bandwagon. Still, if you have any queries - or better still original material - or best of all you are a publisher - feel free to contact me.





If you happen to be in the neighbourhood of Trenton, Canada, there is a full-size replica of a Burgess-Dunne seaplane at the National Air Force Museum.


Fly fishing




kitt price has created a blog at J.W. Dunne: dreaming the future, to which you are invited to contribute.

Francis Spufford's BBC Radio 3 broadcast, I Have Been here before, on J B Priestley and Dunne, is well worth a listen.



This is Guy Inchbald's web site on all things to do with J W Dunne. It began on my blocki and moved to this more permanent home in 2019.



You can contact me via email at guy@steelpillow.com.

Or drop me a line via Facebook or LinkedIn.

Updated 11 July 2019