Posted in April 2013

East Lynne by Mrs Henry Wood (1861)

Review by Sylvia D: East Lynne is a little outside the scope of the Readership and Literary Cultures remit as it was first published in 1861 having previously been serialised in the New Monthly Magazine.  However, it is without a doubt a highly engaging melodramatic novel which, although panned by some contemporary critics, was spectacularly … Continue reading

The Reading 1900-1950 Newsletter

The Spring Newsletter for the 1900-1950 Special Collection is out now! It has articles (and lots of pictures) on: ‘Tauchnitz Editions: the Early Paperback’ –  we’ve received three of these unusual Tauchnitz editions and we look into the background of this German publisher of English language novels on the Continent ‘The Forgotten Frankaus: a Family of Writers’ – … Continue reading

Concert Pitch by Frank Danby (1913)

This review is for a novel by a member of the forgotten family of writers we looked at last month, the Frankaus. Frank Danby is the pseudonym for Julia Frankau, the mother of Gilbert Frankau. She was a popular novelist in the early twentieth century – see a review of another of her books, Mothers … Continue reading

The Lamp in the Desert by Ethel M. Dell (1919)

I spoke too soon! This really is our FINAL Dell review (probably). Review by Daniel Grieve, an English and History student who joined us for a work placement and is now a regular member of the reading group (he wants to read more Dells!) I am afraid that, having never read anything of melodramatic fiction, when … Continue reading

The Top of the World by Ethel M. Dell (1920)

Review by George Simmers (see his Great War Fiction blog here) This is an astonishingly  melodramatic novel, with a plot that moves with such gusto from one strong emotional situation to another that you only occasionally pause to consider how very exaggerated and improbable it is. The heroine, Sylvia,  lives with her father, the Squire, … Continue reading

The Way of an Eagle by Ethel M. Dell (1912)

Review by A Reading Group Member: In a beleaguered fort, amidst the Himalayan foothills, during the height of the British Empire, young languorous Muriel faces the prospect of death by resorting to opium. She is rescued by the irreverent Lieutenant Nick Ratcliffe, who appears to Muriel to lack the stature and nobility for such a … Continue reading

Melodrama, Ethel M. Dell and ‘The Tosh Horse’

The reading group met last night to discuss Ethel M. Dell and other melodramatic fiction, including Mrs Henry Wood’s East Lynne (1861) and Mary Webb’s Gone to Earth (1917). Reading aloud of typical Dell descriptions – so much ‘throbbing’ and ‘seething’ – caused  a lot of laughter, but there was also astonishment, and enjoyment. Astonishment … Continue reading