Ch. 1, Pg. 4: W. W. Jacobs

W. W. Jacobs usually wrote humorous stories about life at sea. Punch magazine wrote that his stories featured “men who go down to the sea in ships of moderate tonnage; stories told with such fresh and unforced fun that their drollery is perfectly irresistible.” The great English humorist P.G. Wodehouse mentions Jacobs with respect in his autobiography, Bring On The Girls.

Strangely enough, Jacobs is most famous today for his eerie stories, including “The Monkey’s Paw” and “The Toll House.”

Published in: on November 23, 2008 at 9:23 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Ch. 1, Pg. 4: I think the Merediths


George Meredith

George Meredith

Although largely uncelebrated today, George Meredith was a Victorian poet and novelist who rubbed elbows with Alfred Lord Tennyson, J. M. Barrie and Robert Louis Stevenson. He is mentioned in the works of Oscar Wilde (The Decay of Lying) and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (“The Boscombe Valley Mystery”). His most famous works include The Egoist, a humorous romantic novel, and The Shaving of Shagpat, a fantasy told in the style of the Arabian Nights. His style is highly complex, which may explain his decline in popularity today. (How true that is; see update 11/23/2008.)

George Meredith at the Literary Encyclopedia (preview; subscription required for full article)

Full text of The Egoist (Project Gutenberg)

Full text of The Shaving of Shagpat (Project Gutenberg)

Update 11/23/2008: Since writing this post, your blogger has attempted to read The Egoist and found it deadly, deadly boring and excessively wordy. (Remember, this is coming from a Dickens enthusiast.) It reminded me of the nonsense text generated by graphic design programs. However, Meredith’s poetry is quite different. There is beauty and painful emotional clarity in the excerpts from Modern Love published in The Norton Anthology of English Literature Vol. 2.


Published in: on November 16, 2008 at 7:16 pm  Leave a Comment  
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