19 August 2019

Bach to the Future, Part III: The Squeaking Wheel

Final words on A Voice is Calling and its author.
About eight years ago, I posted a piece on The Squeaking Wheel, an ugly, bigoted screed that was self-published in 1966 under the pseudonym "John Mercer." All I knew of its authorship came from the book itself, which claimed "John Mercer" to be two men, both English-speaking Montrealers, who worked in the fields of advertising and medicine.

That's not much to go on.

"Even today their identities are a mystery," I wrote in my review. I doubt anyone was on the case – and wasn't myself – so, it was unhappy coincidence that in researching A Voice is Calling I came upon the obituary of its author (Montreal Gazette, 5 December 2001). It includes this sentence:
As an author he wrote A Voice is Calling, published in 1945; Trespass Against None, published in 1950; Le Dernier Voyage with Martine Hebert-Duguay, published in 1951; The Squeaking Wheel as John Mercer, published in 1965; Against the Tide, published in 1989; and Focus and Middle Distance, two autobiographical novels published recently.
And so, the identity of one of the two men behind The Squeaking Wheel is revealed. I wouldn't have guessed it from reading A Voice is Calling. The Squeaking Wheel is an anti-francophone rant, yet the hero of A Voice is Calling, Andre Brousseau, is a sympathetic and talented French Canadian. The novel's few anglophones are pleasant and encouraging. Given that every other character is a francophone, I don't think anything can be read into the fact that their number includes the three villains.

Eric Cecil Morris was the ad man behind The Squeaking Wheel – he was working for Cockfield-Brown at the time – but who was the medical man?

As before, I can't be bothered.

My original post on The Squeaking Wheel was deleted and rewritten for publication in The Dusty  Bookcase. Because I feel so strongly about the "John Mercer" book, I'm reposting my review as it first appeared on this blog on 27 December 2011:

The Squeaking Wheel;
     Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying About the French
and Love the Bomb
John Mercer [Eric Cecil Morris]
n.p.: Rubicon, 1966

Let's get rid of this so as to not track it into the New Year.

I came upon The Squeaking Wheel in an Ontario thrift shop; its bold, if inept declaration—"4TH. [sic] PRINTING OF THE BEST-SELLING BOOK ALL CANADA'S TALKING ABOUT!"—did attract.

I don't remember talk of this book; but then I was only just learning to speak when The Squeaking Wheel was first published. Sure looks like it was popular. The copyright page records four printings in three months! Two in February 1966 alone! In the foreword, author John Mercer tells us that the first two printings amounted to "many thousands" of copies. So why is this the only one I've ever seen? And why was there no fifth printing?

I'd ask John Mercer, but he's a fabrication, a pseudonym for two men to hide behind. "English-speaking Montrealers who have a curious desire not to be blown sky-high to a Protestant Heaven by a few well-placed sticks of dynamite," they reveal nothing more about themselves than that they work in the fields of advertising and medicine. Even today their identities are a mystery.

More furious than funny, those familiar with Rebel Media comment pages will recognize the John Mercer style. Irrational anger and uncontrolled ranting accompany fantastical statistics presented without citation. Quotations, even those pitching the book, lack attribution. It's all here, including that old saw about Quebecers being horrible drivers: “It has often been said by opponents of French-Canada that one way to solve the problem of Quebec is to give every inhabitant a car and turn all the traffic lights green for one day.”

Take care now. Those words come not from the authors, but the "opponents of French-Canada." Or so the John Mercer men would have you believe. The reader will soon recognize that they too are opponents.

The Quiet Revolution is five years old, the Bi and Bi Commission is just beginning, and already the authors, who "have lived all their adult lives in Quebec," are fed up. Their message is clear: "Quebec is a conquered country and its people are a conquered people"... and somewhat inferior:
We are a little tired of hearing about biculturalism and French-Canadian culture. We don’t quite agree with a noted politician who recently said the only thing French-Canadian culture has produced is strip-teaser Lily St. Cyr and hockey-player “Rocket” Richard.
Again, don't you be pinning this on John Mercer. That stuff about the stripper and the hockey player comes from some politician. Who? Who knows. The men behind the pseudonym are only repeating what they've heard, and they don't quite agree.

Not quite.

The Squeaking Wheel was never talked about by "everyone in Canada"; not even Montreal's English- and French-language presses gave it much attention. Serious discussion of the book is limited to a few sentences in journalist Solange Chaput-Rolland's Reflections (1968):
The pens of these English-speaking compatriots are certainly not very brave. Of course it is true that, when one describes unpleasant reality, one receives in return unpleasant insult. But liberty of speech demands the dignity and courage of that speech. And those who hurl invective at their compatriots, while keeping themselves well hidden, are not really respectable citizens.
Though I can’t top that, I’ll add that I don't think the cowards hiding behind the pseudonym were Montrealers. Real Montrealers know it's Lili, not "Lily"; and they know she was not French-Canadian, but American.

I'll add that we Canadians know not to hyphenate "hockey player."

There, sweet Virginia, I've scraped the shit right off my shoe.

Lili St. Cyr [née Willis Marie Van Schaack]
1918  - 1999
Maurice "Rocket"  Richard
1921 - 2000

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18 August 2019

Nelson Ball (1942 - 2019)

Thoughts this weekend have been with Nelson Ball, who died this past Friday. I first encountered Nelson as a poet, and later as a bookseller. He knew more about Canada's fly-by-night post-war paperback houses than anyone. It was my good fortune to have been able to tap his knowledge. Unfailingly generous, Nelson shared my enthusiasm, encouraged my exploration of CanLit's dustier corners, and took joy in my discoveries (most particularly Richard Rohmer's pseudonymously published volume of verse).

Nelson supplied me with dozens of books over the years: Sugar-Puss on Dorchester Street, Flee the Night in Anger, Bad Men of Canada... but of all he sent my way, I value nothing so much as Minutiae, a limited edition chapbook he published in 2014 with Cameron Antsee's Apt. 9 Press. A gift, it was included in an order for Sin for Your Supper, Dirty City, Frustration, No Place in Heaven, Overnight Escapade, Strange DesireDaughters of DesireHe Learned About Women, and Too Many Women.

Its inscription reads "For Brian Busby - with admiration."

Right back at you, Nelson.

I thank you for your kindness. I'm grateful that our paths crossed.

You will be missed.

You are missed.


Addendum: Cameron Anstee and rob maclennan share their memories of Nelson.

12 August 2019

Bach to the Future, Part II: Le Dernier Voyage

Le dernier voyage: Un roman de la Gaspésie
     [A Voice is Calling]
Eric C. Morris [trans. Martine Hébert-Duguay]

Montreal: Chanteclerc, 1951
255 pages
A brief addendum to last week's post on Eric Cecil Morris' A Voice is Calling.
A debut novel by an unknown, A Voice is Calling received little attention when published and has been pretty much ignored ever since. So, how to explain this translation?

Consider this: A Voice is Calling was published in 1945, the very same year as Hugh MacLennan's Two Solitudes, described at the time as "the GREAT Canadian novel" (Chicago Sun). "Two Solitudes may well be considered the best and most important Canadian novel ever published” said the Globe & Mail. MacLennan's second novel, following the acclaimed Barometer Rising, Two Solitudes received the 1945 Governor General's Award for Literature and has been on high school, college, and university curricula ever since.

Two Solitudes wasn't available in French until 1963, a full eighteen years later... and, curiously, long after published translations in Spanish, Swedish, Polish, Dutch, and Estonian. Le dernier voyage, in contrast, appeared a mere six years after its English-language original.

I first heard of A Voice is Calling through Jean-Louis Lessard, who wrote about Le dernier voyage eight years ago. I'm a touch – just a touch – more positive about the work, though his review left me wondering whether we'd read the same novel. Had anything been cut in translation? A Voice is Calling is 487 pages long, while Le dernier voyage numbers 255. French translations of English texts are typically longer, not shorter.

And so, I bought and read Le dernier voyage. I can report that nothing was excised. Differences in layout, design and font size explain the divergent page counts. Translator Martine Hébert-Duguay is faithful to the original. My only criticism is that she is a touch – just a touch – more liberal in her use of exclamation marks.

Her efforts did not bring a change of mind concerning the original text.

The best Canadian novel of 1945 was, of course, Bonheur d'occasion – it, not Two Solitudes, is the GREAT Canadian novel.

Object: A nicely designed, well-bound paperback printed on good paper stock. Sadly, the cover image is uncredited.

Access: Held by Library and Archives Canada, Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec, and thirteen of our universities, Le dernier voyage is nearly as common as A Voice is Calling.

I purchased my uncut copy last month from a Montreal bookseller. Price: US$8.00.

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05 August 2019

Bach to the Future: A Voice is Calling

A Voice is Calling
Eric Cecil Morris
Montreal: B.D. Simpson, 1945
487 pages

The strangest novel I've read this year, I struggled to make time for A Voice is Calling between reference materials for my next book. This distraction may explain why it wasn't until late in the book that I remembered its prologue. In my defence, the scene depicted is uneventful: A middle-aged man and young girl enter a Montreal barber shop. A paperboy delivers a copy of the Gazette, and talk turns to the news that Andre Brousseau, wanted in the deaths of six people, has himself been found dead.

Still, I shouldn't have forgotten, because Andre Brousseau is the protagonist of this strange novel. His past is something of a mystery. An architect by training, Andre once worked in Quebec City, but something happened that made him quit both the profession and the city. Prologue aside, the novel opens with the poor sod working away as a lumber company clerk in the fictitious town of Trois Lupins. As a sophisticated city boy, he had attracted and married Suzanne Cote, the prettiest girl in town. It was her now-deceased father who got him the job. Fifteen years have passed – more than enough time to put to rest any idea Suzanne had that her husband will make something of himself. The couple have settled into a routine in which Suzanne nags him to remove his boots when arriving home from work. At the end of a particularly memorable workday, Andre brings news that his boss, M Lalonde, is transferring him to the Gaspé village of Ste Michele, where he will oversee lumber orders in the construction of a new factory. Suzanne, who once dreamed of Quebec City – and even Montreal – can't bear the thought. She confronts Lalonde in his office... and comes away defeated.

Unbeknownst to Andre, Suzanne and Lalonde have been having an affair. She's now pregnant with his child and the boss wants her out of the way. The story Lalonde gives his clerk involves Ste Michele's new church, built in anticipation of the influx of factory workers. Andre will be expected to play the organ on Sundays.

There's no exaggeration in writing that Andre lives for the organ. His love for Suzanne is dead. Though he does love Anne, their only child, it's not nearly with the depth one might expect of a father. No, his passion is invested in the organ and, with near-exclusivity, the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. Something can probably be read into the fact that he keeps the great man's music underneath the marital bed.

The Brousseau family's arrival in Ste Michele is not a happy one. The village is much smaller and less refined than Trois Lupins – as is the house found for them by the parish  priest – and the winter weather is miserable. Suzanne spends the better part of her days in bed crying, while twelve-year-old Anne attends to her needs. Andre, on the other hand, settles in quite nicely. He finds a loyal friend and confident in goodnatured neighbour Lawrence Nixon, a cultured Englishman who has taken refuge in the Gaspé after having suffered some sort of tragedy.

Dust jacket copy describes A Voice is Calling as "a book for everyone – for those who like romances, thrills and adventure, for lovers of music, but most particularly for the countless thousands of readers who like a good, strong, interesting plot that will hold their attention on every page." To the point of Andre's budding friendship with Lawrence, the book held my attention, but this had more to do with it being something of a curiosity. Not many English-language Canadian novels feature French Canadian protagonists, and I can't think of another set in the Gaspé.

Then the novel took a very strange turn.

One evening, while playing the organ alone in the church, Andre senses a ghostly presence. This frightens him, but not so much that he doesn't return. He comes to believe that Bach is guiding his hands in performance. And then, on a later evening, a figure appears in coat, flowered waistcoat: "I am a friend of your's Andre Brousseau – you know me very well, said the  man, in a deep quiet voice, "I am Johann Sebastian Bach."

In order to allay skepticism, the composer invites Andre to visit his afterlife, which is an idealized version of 1735 Leipzig. Once there, the lumber  company clerk is treated to a chamber performance by members of the Bach family and falls in love with his host's dark-eyed daughter Katherina. He returns to twentieth-century Ste Michele intent on seeing her as much as possible, but doesn't want to press his welcome. Drama ensues when Suzanne attempts to abort the baby. Her departure by ambulance to a hospital in Rimouski fairly coincides Andre's discovery by two members of Montreal's Casavant Society, and an invitation to perform at Montreal's ill-fated First Unitarian Church.

First Unitarian Church, Montreal
27 May 1987
Andre's recital is a great success, but tragedy intrudes on his triumph with the news that Suzanne has died. Then comes further tragedy when the roof of the newly-constructed factory collapses. Andre is suspected of criminal negligence. He's taken to Quebec City for questioning, manages to escape, and heads back to Ste Michele in chapters loaded with tension and exclamation marks. Andre is convinced that by playing its church organ one last  time he'll be able to leave this world and live for all eternity with Bach and his beautiful dark-eyed daughter.

I won't reveal more for fear of spoiling things.

Or have I already?

Not as much as the prologue.

Trivia: Catharina Dorothea Bach was the first of the composer's twenty children. Morris errs in spelling her name "Katharina."


A bonus:

Object: An attractive, bulky book in navy blue boards. The dust jacket is by C.W. MacDonald.

Access: Held by Library and Archives Canada, Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec, and sixteen of our university libraries.

Four copies are currently listed for online. The good news is that they're going cheap, ranging in price from US$5 ("lightly rubbed," lacking dust jacket) to US$23 (Very Good in Very Good dust jacket). I purchased my copy in 2017 from a bookseller in Tacoma, Washington. Price: US$13.50.

Translated by Martine Hébert-Duguay as Le dernier voyage: Un roman de la Gaspésie (Montreal: Chanteclerc, 1951), the subject of next week's post.

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01 August 2019

Margaret Murray Robertson Matrimonial Mystery (& Canadian literature's most tear-stained novel)

Summertime, and the livin' is busy. Many irons in the fire add to the heat, the pressure is on, and I'm enjoying each and every day. This week I finished a Dusty Bookcase review of Margaret Murray Robertson's 1866 novel Christie Redfern's Troubles for Canadian Notes & Queries.

A forgotten bestseller published by the Religious Tract Society, I expect a fair percentage of sales came through purchase as gifts and prizes. My own copy, which I bought last year from a London bookseller, was presented in 1893 to Hattie Seymour, winner of Miss Moore's Prize at the Mall Board School, Brading.

The author herself taught at the Sherbrooke Academy in Sherbrooke, Quebec. Lorraine McMullin, who wrote the the Dictionary of Canadian Biography entry for Margaret Murray Robertson, records that "as a teacher, she was devoted to her pupils, she never called a student by a pet name; instead, she looked to the intellect. Correspondingly, her students revered rather than loved her."

I think of Margaret Murray Robertson as "Miss Robertson." That she never married renders this undated edition curious.

That the scene depicted on its cover does not feature in the novel adds to the mystery.

My thoughts on Christie Redfern's Troubles will appear in the next issue of CNQ. What did I think? Well, I found the  following passages worthy of note. Préparez vos mouchoirs.

Night after night did her weary little head slumber on a pillow which her tears had wet. (15)

Amid a rush of angry tears, there fell a few very bitter drops to the memory of her mother. (22)

Christie did not speak; but the touch of her sister's lips unsealed the fountain of her tears, and clinging to her and hiding her face, she cried and sobbed in a way that, at last, really frightened her sister. (26)

If Christie could have found words with which to answer him, she could not have uttered them through the tears and sobs that had not been far from her all the evening. (39)

The disappointment was a very bitter one; and she turned her face away, that her sister might not see the tears that were gushing from her eyes. (41)

The tears that wet her pillow were very different from the drops that had fallen on it a little while before. (45)

Christie sank down, struggling with her tears. (64)

She was not a demonstrative child, usually; but now she dropped her face upon her father's hand, and he felt the fall of her warm tears. (80).

But she enjoyed the kind greetings and looks of sympathy that awaited them in the kirk-yard, though they brought many tears to Effie's eyes, and sent them gushing over her own pale cheeks. (90)

Her cheeks were crimson, and there was a light in her eyes that bade fair to be very soon quenched in tears. (121)

Her tears fell fast for a moment; but her heart was lightened, and it was with a comparatively cheerful face that she presented herself in the little back parlour, where she found Mrs, Mclntyre taking tea with a friend. (123)

There were tears in Christie's eyes as she raised them to look in Mrs. Lee's face, called forth quite as much by the gentle tones of her voice as by the thought of 'the bairns' at home. (130)

She was very much afraid that if Mrs. Lee were to speak so gently again her tears must flow; and this must not be if she could possibly help it. (137)

It was a troubled, tearful face that Christie laid down on her hands as she said this. (147)

It was only by a great effort that she restrained a flood of tears till her sister had gone. (156)

She went early, as usual, and had time for the shedding of some very sorrowful tears before the congregation gathered. (157)

Turning her aching eyes from the light, she did not, for a moment or two, try to restrain her tears. (166)

In a little while she grew unconscious of the tears she had tried to hide, and her hands fell down on her lap, and her wet cheeks and smiling lips were turned towards the face that her dim eyes failed to see. (169)

It was almost like seeing Effie herself, she told him, amid a great burst of tears that startled the grave John considerably. For a moment her sobs came fast. (191)

His words were light, but there was a meaning in his grave smile that made Christie's heart leap; and her answer was at first a startled look, and then a sudden gush of happy tears. (200)

Christie ceased to struggle with her tears now, but they fell very quietly. (214)

Remembering all they had passed through together, Christie could hardly restrain her tears. (221)

A few tears fell on the leaves of her little Bible; but by and by the former peace came back again, as she felt herself half resting indeed on the only sure foundation. (253)

The letter fell from her hands, and her face, as she burst into happy tears, was hidden by them. (260) Her face was flushed, and the tears filled her eyes, but she spoke very modestly and humbly too. (275)

To say that the surprise was a joyful one would be saying little, yet after the first tearful embrace, the joy of both sisters was manifested very quietly. (315)

Of Mrs. Lee's kindness she could not speak without tears. (317)

She was weak and worn out, and she could not manage to say what she had to say without a flood of tears, which greatly surprised her mistress. (323)

Her first night in the hospital was very dreary. No one can be surprised to hear that she shed some sorrowful tears. (327)
Was it any wonder that many a time her pillow was wet with tears? (332)

It was of no use to try to check her tears. They must flow for a minute or two. (333)

Christie's countenance lighted up with pleasure as he read, and the tears that had been close at hand flowed freely. (339)

Christie's face brightened as she turned her bright, tearful eyes upon him. (342)

Too many teardrops for one heart to be crying, wouldn't you say?

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18 July 2019

Reviving a Searching Novel about Drug Addiction

Kenneth Orvis' The Damned and the Destroyed arrives in bookstores this week. The fourteenth in Ricochet Books' series of post-war Canadian noir reissues, I'm particularly keen on this one. If anything, Lee Child is even more of a fan, choosing the novel for his entry in Books to Die For: The World's Greatest Mystery Writers on the World's Greatest Mystery Novels (New York: Atria, 2012).

Child writes about purchasing a copy – the 1966 Belmont edition (above) – after having been drawn by the cover:
What lay inside was not quite as advertised – although by no means a disappointment. Quite the reverse, actually. This was a solid, high-quality thriller.
First  published in 1962, set in 1954 Montreal, I first read The Damned and the Destroyed four years ago. My opinion of the novel – shared here – was at the time lukewarm. That I pushed to have it republished as a Ricochet Book says something about first impressions. The Damned and the Destroyed has never let go. My interest in the novel and its author is such that I wrote the introduction to this, the first print edition in more than half a century.

Enjoy... as much as you can a story of smack and death.

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02 July 2019

Getting to Know the Woman Who Did

The Woman Who Did
Grant Allen
Boston: Roberts Bros, 1895
223 pages

The Woman Who Did was the first Grant Allen novel I ever bought. For nearly two decades, it sat on the shelf as I read later Allen purchases – more than a dozen – most of which I've come to consider the better Canadian novels of the nineteenth century. Some, like The British Barbarians and What's Bred in the Bone (winner of the £1000 Tit-Bits Prize!), garnered a fair amount of attention in their day, but none so much as The Woman Who Did. The novel's publication was countered by damning editorials, preaching from the pulpit, and calls for censorship (it was banned in Ireland), all of which helped make it the author's best selling work.

There's no risk in writing that The Woman Who Did continues to receive more attention than Allen's other books – and he published more than fifty. Anyone at all interested in the "New Woman" novel or nineteenth-century feminism will have encountered discussion of the work. References are hard to dodge. The accumulation of tit-bits encountered here and there over the years had me thinking that I knew a  thing or two about The Woman Who Did... and so, I put off reading it. I mean, why bother with this Grant Allen novel when there were dozens more of which I knew nothing at all?  When I finally pulled the book off the shelf last week, I expected no surprises.

The Woman Who Did begins much as I'd imagined. Its heroine, schoolteacher Herminia Barton, is holidaying in Surrey when she's introduced to London lawyer Alan Merrick by a mutual acquaintance:
"You'll like him, Herminia," Mrs. Dewsbury said, nodding. "He's one of your own kind, as dreadful as you are; very free and advanced; a perfect firebrand. In fact, my dear child, I don't know which of you makes my hair stand on end most."
Mrs Dewsbury is spot on in her prediction; not only does Herminia like Alan, the feeling is mutual. The two prove to be kindred spirits, sharing identical opinions on all topics, the foremost of which are the education and emancipation of women.
"They're trying hard enough to develop us intellectually; but morally and socially they want to mew us up just as close as ever. And they won't succeed. The zenana must go. Sooner or later, I'm sure, if you begin by educating women, you must end by emancipating them."
     "So I think too," Alan answered, growing every moment more interested. "And for my part, it's the emancipation, not the mere education, that most appeals to me."
     "Yes, I've always felt that," Herminia went on, letting herself out more freely, for she felt she was face to face with a sympathetic listener. "And for that reason, it's the question of social and moral emancipation that interests me far more than the mere political one, – woman's rights as they call it. Of course I'm a member of all the woman's franchise leagues and everything of that sort, – they can't afford to do without a single friend's name on their lists at present; but the vote is a matter that troubles me little in itself, what I want is to see women made fit to use it. After all, political life fills but a small and unimportant part in our total existence. It's the perpetual pressure of social and ethical restrictions that most weighs down women."
These exchanges test the reader's patience, but not that of the couple caught up in the bloom of new love. The challenge to their relationship comes when, three weeks after Mrs Dewsbury's introduction, Alan proposes marriage. Here, at last, is something on which they don't see eye to eye. Replies Herminia:
"My conscience won't let me. I know what marriage is, from what vile slavery it has sprung; on what unseen horrors for my sister women it is reared and buttressed; by what unholy sacrifices it is sustained, and made possible. I know it has a history. I know its past, I know its present, and I can't embrace it; I can't be untrue to my most sacred beliefs."
Alan tries to convince Herminia that their marriage wouldn't be like others. The ceremony would be a mere formality, and would save them both – her particularly – from scorn, hardship, and martyrdom.

The Woman Who Did is a suggestive title, particularly in the context of the time. But what did Herminia do exactly? From the tit-bits, I knew hers to be the story of a woman who has a child out of wedlock and then dares raise it on her own. And so, I anticipated Alan abandoning our heroine. Early on, the narrator appears to confirm expectations, sharing: "...it adds, to my mind, to the tragedy of Herminia Barton's life that the man for whom she risked and lost everything was never quite worthy of her; and that Herminia to the end not once suspected it." But the man Herminia loves proves loyal to the end.

Short months after what is described as her "bridal evening," Herminia becomes pregnant. Alan convinces her that it would be best to have the child abroad. They travel to Perugia, Italy, where he dies of typhoid. After giving birth to a girl she names Delores, Herminia returns to London intent on raising the child as the first "born into this world as the deliberate result of a free union, contracted on philosophical and ethical principles."

Oh-so-earnest in intent, The Woman Who Did barely skirts silliness, and has some of the worst dialogue I've read in an Allen novel. Still, I found myself caught up in the drama of it all, and grew to admire Alan and Herminia. The tit-bits led me to expect a tragic ending, but it wasn't anything like I anticipated.  The concluding pages were as moving as they were depressing, putting me in a funk that lasted well into this past holiday weekend.

Never have I been affected by so flawed a novel.


Alan observed almost without observing it that she was gone but for a second. She asked none of that long interval that most women require for the simplest matter of toilet.
Trivia I: Remarkably, The Woman Who Did novel inspired no less than three responses that took the form of novels: Victoria Crosse's The Woman Who Didn't, Mrs Lovett Cameron's The Man Who Didn't, and Lucas Cleeve's The Woman Who Wouldn't, all published in 1895.

As might be expected, Punch weighed in with a parody, "The Woman Who Wouldn't Do," which can be read here courtesy of Allen biographer Peter Morton.

This Punch cartoon is a favourite:

Trivia II: Twice adapted to the silver screen – The Woman Who Did (1915) and Die Frau mit dem schlechten Ruf (1925) – both, sadly, lost. The latter featured Lionel Barrymore as Alan.

Object: A small hardcover. The decorations on the cover and title page are by Aubrey Beardsley. Ten pages of adverts for other "Messrs. Roberts Brothers' Publications" feature at the end. A first American edition, I purchased by copy in 2000 for US$9.99 from a Pennsylvania bookseller. The receipt records that I paid a further three dollars in shipping. Have rates really increased so dramatically?

Access: Common in university libraries, but not in those serving the public. The most recent editions are the 1995 Oxford University Press (above; now out-of-print) and a fine Broadview Press book with critical introduction and a generous gathering of appendices. Edited by Nicholas Ruddick, the latter is recommended.

The novel has been translated into French (Le Roman d'une féministe), German (Die es tat), Yiddish (Di froy velkhe hot es gethon), and twice into Swedish (Hon vågade det and Hennes livs historia).

The first edition is available for download here through the Internet Archive.

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