Monday, November 04, 2013

More on "Best of" lists.

On the Times Literary Supplement blog, Michael Caines discusses the
Amelia B. Edwards, from
Harper's Magazine. NYPL
100 Best Novels list from 1898 that was created by editor-critic Clement K. Shorter, placing it alongside David Bowie's more recent list (Bowie's selections include Truman Capote's In Cold Blood and Edward Bulwer Lytton's Zanoni). The privileging of dead authors over living ones on such lists also is discussed.
There are quite a few books on Shorter's list that may provoke head scratching among today's readers, but Shorter does include the following:
• Gothic milestones The Castle of Otranto and The Mysteries of Udolpho (by Horace Walpole and Ann Radcliffe respectively)

Catherine Crowe's Susan Hopley (maidservant solves crime; see also Dante Gabriel Rossetti's drawings of characters from this work)

• Wilkie Collins's The Woman in White

Sheridan Le Fanu's Uncle Silas

• Amelia B. Edwards's Barbara's History (Edwards was a successful novelist before she became a cofounder of the Egypt Exploration Fund and an inspiration for Elizabeth Peters's Amelia Peabody Emerson)

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