Wherein We Elect Our Favourite Novels of 1916

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Poll Results

A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man by James Joyce 15
Lady Connie by Mary Augusta Ward 0
Mr.Brittling Sees It Through by H.G. Wells 0
The Power House by John Buchan 0
The Iron Age by Francis Brett Young 0
The Tomb Of Ts'in by Edgar Wallace 0
A Turf Conspiracy by Nathaniel Gould 0
Uneasy Money by P.G. Wodehouse 0
The Green Face by Gustav Meyrink 0
The Caranchos Of Florida by Benito Lynch 0
Chaturangah by Rabindranath Tagore 0
The Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse by Vicente Blasco Ibanez 0
The Home And The World by Rabindranath Tagore 0
The King Of Ireland's Son by Padraic Colum 0
Light And Darkness by Natsume Soseki 0
Milkman Of The Manor by Eduard Vilde 0
The Three Leaps Of Wang Lun by Alfred Doblin 0
Voyage To Faremido by Frigyes Karinthy 0
King Of The Khyber Rifles by Talbot Mundy 0
The Ivory Child by H. Rider Haggard 0
Greenmantle by John Buchan 0
The Border Legion by Zane Grey 0
The Grizzly King by James Oliver Curwood 0
Just David by Eleanor H. Porter 0
Penrod And Sam by Booth Tarkington 0
Rinktink In Oz by L. Frank Baum 0
The Rising Tide by Margaret Deland 0
Seventeen by Booth Tarkington 0
Tarzan And The Jewels Of Ophar by Edgar Rice Burroughs 0
Thuvia, Maid Of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs 0
Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher 0
Windy McPherson's Son by Sherwood Andersen 0
With Her In Ourland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman 0
You Know Me Al by Ring Lardner 0
The Hate Of A Hun by Arthur Wright 0
Under A Cloud by Arthur Wright 0
David Blaize by Edward Frederic Benson 0
A Debt Discharged by Edgar Wallace 0
Le Feu by Henri Barbusse 0

Daniel_Rf, Monday, 26 October 2020 11:19 (four months ago) link

Only read Greemantle - which is a bore, and quite outrageous in its anti-German sentiment, perhaps because it does double duty as a smokescreen for anti-semitism.

I remember very much enjoying Tagore's short stories but haven't read any of his novels.

Had never heard of that Doblin book and the idea of a historical novel set in China from that author is intriguing.

Joyce will walk this, of course.

Daniel_Rf, Monday, 26 October 2020 11:24 (four months ago) link

> Le Feu by Henri Barbusse

um, have read on Barbusse but it had an english title and i can't tell if it was this.

oh, it's this one - "Under Fire, The Story of a Squad", like a french All Quiet On The Western Front. i didn't finish it... 8(

koogs, Monday, 26 October 2020 11:38 (four months ago) link

I will never not vote Joyce

Notes on "Scamp" (Noodle Vague), Monday, 26 October 2020 11:44 (four months ago) link

Should I read Burroughs and Haggard? I've read bits and pieces, but there's so much!

Bidh boladh a' mhairbh de 'n láimh fhalaimh (dowd), Monday, 26 October 2020 12:55 (four months ago) link

Joyce is the only one I’ve read but I refuse to vote for him because I hated Portrait of the Artist so much and the humour didn’t really land for me.

scampus milne (gyac), Monday, 26 October 2020 13:24 (four months ago) link

"Light And Darkness by Natsume Soseki"

This is pretty good, though unfinished.

Haven't read that Joyce..

xyzzzz__, Monday, 26 October 2020 13:55 (four months ago) link

I will never not vote Joyce

Cosign. Portrait is nowhere near Ulysses or Finnegans Wake for me but it's still Joyce.

emil.y, Monday, 26 October 2020 17:17 (four months ago) link

Should I read Burroughs and Haggard?

I was thrilled to soak up Burroughs as a child and wish I could recommend some of his work, but his politics, especially his racism, make his work inaccessible to me now, though my tolerance for early 20th century pulp is a lot higher than most people's

I read Haggard for the first time last year (King Solomon's Mines) and had a similar reaction, though I might get to She eventually

voted for Joyce

Brad C., Monday, 26 October 2020 17:44 (four months ago) link

what's The Hate Of A Hun about?

sarahell, Monday, 26 October 2020 17:50 (four months ago) link

To be fair, King Solomn's Mines has surprising all-men-are-equal stuff explicit in the text, though it's still very imperialist.

Tsar Bombadil (James Morrison), Monday, 26 October 2020 22:39 (four months ago) link

Jimmy Joyce earned this one, straight up.

the unappreciated charisma of cows (Aimless), Monday, 26 October 2020 22:53 (four months ago) link

I remember both Haggard and Buchan as being so racist that it poisoned their books for me, though I don't retain much about Haggard's writing beyond that.

Lily Dale, Tuesday, 27 October 2020 01:00 (three months ago) link

I've a copy of King Solomon's Mines knocking about, but so far I've been happy to just think of Quartermain as the befuddled himbo of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

what's The Hate Of A Hun about?

"Germans in Australia during WWI" is as far as wikipedia will go. This being 1916 I'm gonna guess it's not a sympathetic portrayal.

Daniel_Rf, Tuesday, 27 October 2020 10:08 (three months ago) link

I wonder if anyone has written a book about HG Wells' 'late style'. Has anyone *read* late HG Wells?

Vanishing Point (Chinaski), Tuesday, 27 October 2020 23:32 (three months ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

System, Wednesday, 28 October 2020 00:01 (three months ago) link

Chinaski, the new Adam Roberts critical Wells biog is for you.

Tsar Bombadil (James Morrison), Wednesday, 28 October 2020 00:33 (three months ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll's results are now in.

System, Thursday, 29 October 2020 00:01 (three months ago) link


emil.y, Thursday, 29 October 2020 00:01 (three months ago) link


A Scampo Darkly (Le Bateau Ivre), Thursday, 29 October 2020 08:01 (three months ago) link

Thanks for taking me as sincere, James Morrison! It was more a comment on just how many books Wells cranked out and indeed if anyone read - and still reads - them.

Vanishing Point (Chinaski), Thursday, 29 October 2020 10:58 (three months ago) link

Once heard a BBC thing on why authors fall out of favour and they gave Wells as an example and put it down to his views on eugenics, which feels half baked. Surely lots of still-in-canon authors shared those?

Daniel_Rf, Thursday, 29 October 2020 11:12 (three months ago) link

I've read two of these: Chaturangah and the one apparently we've all read. Both novels about young men coming of age, with an interesting contrast in the treatment of religion/spirituality. The main character of Chaturangah is drawn ever closer to it, whereas the main character of Portrait is running as fast as he can in the opposite direction.

o. nate, Monday, 2 November 2020 20:05 (three months ago) link

Once heard a BBC thing on why authors fall out of favour and they gave Wells as an example and put it down to his views on eugenics, which feels half baked. Surely lots of still-in-canon authors shared those?

yeah i’d agree, i don’t think the reason HG Wells has “fallen out of favour” is anything to do with that.

i think your phrase “in canon” may be more relevant. like of the novels here, which are in canon? PotAaaYM (more arduous to type than the actual title) is part of the academic lit canon, Buchan and Burroughs and Haggard have a sort of fame, probably extended by awareness of films if not the films themselves as enjoyable adventures, but probably don’t exist strongly in the popular or academic imagination.

I think HG Wells is a very middle class sort of highbrow or intellectual, and a sort of snobbery applies to that. not really the sort of high intellectual you get out of modernism. nor a prototype in his wider writing (ie apart from the significant War of the Worlds) of the comic book/film.

he was highly various, but i wonder whether his interest in writing for an audience of the time leaves him seeming a bit odd now. that audience doesn’t exist any more.

i often think of the (later) writer Peter de Polnay, successful and acclaimed (though not in Wells’ league of fame) he is totally unheard of now, and you won’t even find his books in second hand shops. he fell between the academic intellectual and the truly popular, and is neither fish nor fowl in terms of today’s reading. (i found his books dull beyond comprehension).

Fizzles, Monday, 2 November 2020 20:22 (three months ago) link

Wells is still historically important as a writer of science fiction, but by now all his 'prophecies' have either been surpassed by scientific developments or else proved to be fallacious, so they've lost a major part of their initial fascination. The major exception would be The Invisible Man, which was never really science fiction, but an allegory of science, more like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde or Frankenstein than like The War of the Worlds. Late Wells was more pontifical and topical, and far less imaginative.

the unappreciated charisma of cows (Aimless), Monday, 2 November 2020 20:55 (three months ago) link

I read a fair amount of Wells when I was a kid, and thought he was a good storyteller. Checked in a few years ago, and found him the same (myself too: no levels were revealed by adult eyes). This one was prophetic enough:

The Land Ironclads" is a short story by English writer H.G. Wells, which originally appeared in the December 1903 issue of the Strand Magazine.[1] It features "land ironclads," 100-foot-long (30 m) armoured fighting vehicles that carry riflemen, engineers, and a captain, and are armed with remote-controlled, semi-automatic rifles...

The story contributed to Wells's reputation as a "prophet of the future"[3] when tanks first appeared on the battlefield in 1916. For contemporaries, Wells's rather sketchy battle between countrymen "defenders" (who rely on cavalry and entrenched infantry) and attacking townsmen carried echoes of the Boer War, as well as of his 1898 novel The War of the Worlds, which also featured a struggle between technologically uneven protagonists.[4]
The story opens with an unnamed war correspondent and a young lieutenant surveying the calm of the battlefield and reflecting upon the war between two unidentified armies.

Yeah, liked the points of view; the correspondent is old and getting older as he stands there and watches.

dow, Tuesday, 3 November 2020 01:58 (three months ago) link

Middlebrow can be good. Mark S has referred in passing to the Beatles as middlebrow.

dow, Tuesday, 3 November 2020 02:00 (three months ago) link

i have nothing against middlebrow! i just wonder whether it's peculiarly subject to going out of fashion.

I quite like Wells' short stories, and his history of the world was the first major synoptic history i read.

Fizzles, Tuesday, 3 November 2020 11:07 (three months ago) link

I should admit that this kind of "prophecy" might have seemed pretty freaking obvious to anybody halfway keeping up with steady gains in this kind of technology x imperial rivalries x the past century or centuries of European history. By 1903, he was contributing this story to a well-established subgenre---good article about it here:

dow, Tuesday, 3 November 2020 16:56 (three months ago) link

Daniel, where art thou?

pomenitul, Wednesday, 11 November 2020 20:20 (three months ago) link

Saw a disturbing adaptation of HG's "The Magic Shop" a few nights ago on The Alfred Hitchcock Hour. Don't know how much of that came across in the original; part of the effect here was perfect casting. The ending seemed like it might have been lifted by the author of a story famous via Twilight Zone adaptation, but that now seems a bit cuet compared to this.

dow, Wednesday, 11 November 2020 23:02 (three months ago) link

Sorry pom! Moved house and we won't have wi-fi until the end of the month :( so tethering my phone's net to keep this up

Wherein We Elect Our Favourite Novels of 1917

Daniel_Rf, Thursday, 12 November 2020 13:45 (three months ago) link

Thanks, Daniel! Just wanted to make sure you were ok – the polls can obviously wait. And congrats on your new home!

pomenitul, Thursday, 12 November 2020 13:48 (three months ago) link

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