Archive | August, 2012


1909: Futurist Manifesto

Just a few years ago, museums and publications around the world marked the 100th anniversary of Futurism, a movement born as a manifesto written and published on the front page of the Parisian newspaper Le Figaro in 1909. The author and proponents of the Futurist Manifesto, F.T. Marinetti and friends, did not so much predict […]


Making Literary History, Part II

Writing in The Bookman, Professor William Lyon Phelps expressed his appreciation for Gene Stratton-Porter’s work, but he also made plain his sense of its limitations. It’s not “idealism” that mars her novels, he writes, but “sentimentality,” which reigns over the average human breast even as it revolts the “elite” minority. Phelps did not consider Stratton-Porter […]

Golden Multitudes

Making Literary History, Part I

Among the authors assembled on these pages over the last eleven months, Gene Stratton-Porter’s name may be the most obscure to all but those contemporary readers who stumbled upon her work in their youth (such as myself) or came to her later in life by way of a book club or a latter-day fondness for […]


Tough and Tender

While David Lodge’s earlier novel Author, Author takes as its anchor the friendship between Henry James and George Du Maurier (better known as Rebecca’s grandfather), in A Man of Parts, Lodge imagines H.G. Wells deeply engaged in a series of dialogues – with himself as well as the many, many women who passed through his […]


The Skeptoptimist, Part II

On Monday, we left the title character of H.G. Wells’s 1909 novel in prison, after she joined a suffragette raid on the British parliament. An experience so often characterized in literature as having a radicalizing effect does no such thing for Ann Veronica. Instead she finds herself “in a phase of violent reaction against the […]


The Skeptoptimist

In The New Yorker, the writer Adam Kirsch refers to Ann Veronica as a “topical” novel, by which he appears to mean a novel that can be summed up in fewer words than one hand has fingers – “about the suffragette movement” – but it is really nothing of the sort. No matter the paucity […]


Friday Fun: H.G. Wells and Orson Welles

In 1940, both H.G. Wells and the man he referred to as his “little namesake” Orson Welles were interviewed together on KTSA radio. Orson Welles was, at the time, 25 years old and had begun making Citizen Kane. They spoke about the panic caused by Welles’ 1938 radio broadcast of Wells’ The War of the […]

Gene Stratton-Porter Pic

Quotable: Gene Stratton-Porter

Like Upton Sinclair, Gene Stratton-Porter struck a chord with readers that literary critics found dissonant. As quoted in Judith Reick Long’s 1990 biography, Stratton-Porter puzzled over their disdain: A thing utterly baffling to me is why the life history of the sins and shortcomings of a man [as in, person] should constitute a book of […]


Life in Brief: Gene Stratton-Porter

17 August 1863: Geneva Grace Stratton born in Wabash County, Indiana 1872:                    Her beloved older brother Leander (Laddie) drowns 1875:                    Forced to move to Wabash with family and nine pet birds, shortly before mother dies 1880s:                  …drops out of high school before graduation, dissatisfied with traditional education 1886:                    …marries Charles D. Porter, a successful pharmacist/businessman 13 years […]


Life In Brief: H.G. Wells

21 September 1866: Herbert George (H.G.) Wells born in Bromley to an impoverished family (of six) 1874:                         …breaks his leg in an accident and takes to reading out of boredom 1874-80:                   …studies at Thomas Morley’s Commercial Academy 1881:                         …apprenticed to a draper for two years of 13-hour days, sleeps in a dormitory 1880-93:                    …finds great literature by way of […]