David Wheldon was born in 1950
in Moira, a coal-mining village in Leicestershire, England.
He was given a Quaker education at Sidcot School, Somerset. He
read Medicine at Bristol and, after receiving his degree, he
studied Pathology and Medical Microbiology at the Radcliffe Infirmary,
Oxford. He studied Neuropathology under the direction of
Betty Brownell and David Oppenheimer. He has practised medicine
since in many parts of England and Wales. One of his interests
is the treatment of infections of the central nervous system.
He has become convinced by evidence that a bacterium causes multiple
sclerosis, a common and disabling disease of the brain and spinal
cord. More about this here.
Although he was brought up in a family filled with love, the
threat of an inherited illness menaced his childhood and young
adult life. This illness caused the early death of his
father, and, probably, that of his brother also.
Uncertainty is present in all David Wheldons work. In the
novels The Viaduct and The Course of Instruction
and in the sonnet sequence The Uncompliant Stranger the
characters are always on the edge of coming into being or of
returning to the silence of unremembered absence: their desires
and investigations are always met by circumstances in which chance
and intention cannot for certain be told apart. Orto
look at it another waythe unknowable distinction between
chance and intention makes a persons viewpoint both possible
and unique. Only an essentially unknowable world can stand
the weight of living. Life is the lightning-bolt which
divides the two darks, and by its brief light the darks are told
In these works surface and depth are not mutually exclusive:
on touching the surface one is feeling in deep. The surface
is but a section through the deep which would otherwise be unknown.
The author questions the reality of those ideas which we must
take as givens in order to live ideas of an apparent self
in a phenomenal world. His work can be be read as an investigation
of the boundary between the two. There is a growing certainty
that this boundary is a defensive projection rather than a reality.
Superficial critics of Wheldon's work have dismissed it as belonging
to an over-worked existentialist genre: a more thorough reading
shows his thought to be rigorously analytic of an existential
view of the world a view which, in his eyes, becomes the
more untenable the more narrowly it is examined. The real boundaries
(which bind within the closest limits) are those of which I
as me am bound to be unaware.
And yet, paradoxically, the
overall character of the work is affirmative and even liberating.
Many reviewers have remarked
that this understated writing has the elusive quality of the
thing it observes.
David Wheldon loves and is
married to Sarah Longlands, a fine artist of distinction.
updated 12th January 2011
The senses change
The senses change with hours.
where once I could not see a thing, no hand
before no face; but the smell of distance
made, bore out the leagues, measured out
the spans of time: and then the echo came,
brief, but hearing was intense, acute.