A Hazard of New Fortunes – William Dean Howells

William Dean Howells (1837-1920) published 'A Hazard of New Fortunes' in 1890. It deals with the lives of several inhabitants of New York, most of them connected in some way with the publication of a fortnightly review called Every Other Week. The owner, Dryfoos, was once a farmer but has made his fortune from natural … Continue reading A Hazard of New Fortunes – William Dean Howells

A Game of Hide and Seek – Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor - the other one - published 'A Game of Hide and Seek', her fifth novel, in 1951. Harriet and Vesey meet as teenagers: she is weak-willed and passive; he is thoughtless and neglectful. She falls in love with him anyway. He disappears from her life, and, after working as a shop assistant, she … Continue reading A Game of Hide and Seek – Elizabeth Taylor

Marcella – Mrs Humphrey Ward

I intended my next book to be Maurice Baring's 'Cat's Cradle', but soon discovered that I'd read it already! So I switched to 'Marcella' by Mrs Humphry Ward, aka Mary Augusta Ward. This is her. Previously I'd read only her 'Robert Elsmere', which I very much enjoyed. 'Marcella' was written six years later, in 1894. … Continue reading Marcella – Mrs Humphrey Ward

The Polyglots – William Gerhardie

As you can see from the cover, William Boyd (no less) rates 'The Polyglots' (1925) as: "The most influential English novel of the Twentieth Century." I would be inclined to award that prize to 'Ulysses', perhaps, or else 'To the Lighthouse'. Those are both great literary masterpieces, while this, emphatically, is not. The narrative, such … Continue reading The Polyglots – William Gerhardie

Red Pottage – Mary Cholmondeley

This is Mary Cholmondeley (1859-1925) whose novel 'Red Pottage' (1899) is, in my opinion, a neglected classic. It tells the story of two very different female friends, Rachel West and Hester Gresley. The main plot revolves around the consequences of adultery: at the husband's behest, he and his rival draw lots. The loser is honour … Continue reading Red Pottage – Mary Cholmondeley

Women Against Men – Storm Jameson

Storm Jameson published these three novellas in the early 1930s - and they are heavily redolent of that period. Each examines the life of a woman who struggles to overcome her circumstances: First, a novelist, increasingly overshadowed by her less talented but more charismatic, beautiful (and promiscuous) childhood friend. Second, a wealthy heiress who, escaping … Continue reading Women Against Men – Storm Jameson

The Doll -Boleslaw Prus

Here's my latest report from some of the less frequented avenues of literature. Boleslaw Prus was the pen name of Polish author Alexsander Glowacki (1847-1912). He first published 'Lalka' ('The Doll') in serialised form between 1887 and 1889. It is panoramic and ambitious, reflecting the development - and arguably the decay - of Polish society … Continue reading The Doll -Boleslaw Prus

The Morgesons – Elizabeth Stoddard

This is Elizabeth Drew Stoddard (1823-1902). She published her first novel 'The Morgesons' in 1862. We follow the development of heroine, Cassandra Morgeson, and her unworldly sister Veronica. Cassandra develops a taste for the wrong kind of man, falling in love with her married cousin Charles. After he dies when their carriage overturns, she becomes … Continue reading The Morgesons – Elizabeth Stoddard