From “Vulgar” and “Impossible” to “Pre-Eminently Readable”: Richard Marsh's Critical Fortunes, 1893–1915

Vuohelainen, Minna (2014) From “Vulgar” and “Impossible” to “Pre-Eminently Readable”: Richard Marsh's Critical Fortunes, 1893–1915. English Studies, 95 (3). pp. 278-301. ISSN 0013-838X DOI

Item not available from this archive. (Request a copy)


This paper examines the critical fortunes of Richard Marsh (1857–1915), a best selling author of horror, crime, sensation, comic and romantic fiction. The paper charts the changing tone of reviews of Marsh's work as the author's popularity increased, his publication pattern stabilised and his publishers became more respectable. The focus of the paper will be on critical responses to Marsh's work in high-cultural reviews such as the Academy and the Athenaeum, which have been sampled as indicative of conservative views. The paper argues that after the publication of Marsh's best selling novel The Beetle: A Mystery in 1897, a clear shift is noticeable in reviews of his work from a dismissive attitude towards genre fiction to an appreciation of a recognised name within the niche market for sensational and romantic popular fiction. The paper charts this process of winning critical recognition for genre work, exploring the reasons for Marsh's shifting critical fortunes. In the process, it also traces the likely reception of other popular writers of the period.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Divisions: English Language & Literature
Date Deposited: 25 Jul 2014 11:50

Archive staff only

Item control page Item control page