Thursday, October 3, 2013

A Chapter about Anna Katharine Green

THE WOMEN WHO MAKE OUR NOVELS.
By Grant Overton.
Moffat, Yard & Company.
1918 (reprinted 1922). 393 pages.
Chapter XVI: "Anna Katharine Green."
Pages 204-214.
Grant Overton offers a highly critical, yet admiring, assessment of Anna Katharine Green, who was at the time at the peak of her popularity. Overton knew good writing when he saw it, but he also appreciated good bad writing.
However, beware of SPOILERS, because Overton freely analyzes and reveals the outcome of Green's DARK HOLLOW (1914).

Excerpts:

We have said that she cannot write. It is true. . .every one of her many books is wretchedly written, full of trite and cheap expressions, full of cliches, dotted with ludicrous trifles of thought and expression, spotted with absurdities. . . .
But if she is not immortal [like Poe] she will live a long, long time! Without ever having created a character to compare with Sherlock Holmes she has constructed tales more baffling that any of the crimes Sir Conan Doyle's detective solved. She has not had to resort to exotic coloring as Doyle has sometimes had to do to conceal thinness of story.
She can handle more complex strands than Melville Davisson Post. But Mr. Post can write rings around her! When we get the Anna Katharine Green Mind and the Melville Davisson Post Art joined in a single person America will produce the detective and mystery stories not of a decade nor of a generation but of all time.
THE WOMEN WHO MAKE OUR NOVELS is also available online.

Categories: Detective fiction, Literature

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