Thursday, 8 November 2012

Bournemouth in fiction

It may be of interest to some readers if I elaborate on the references in the previous post to pre-1915 novels mentioning Bournemouth (not necessarily as a central setting). Apart from a couple of major players like Thomas Hardy, it's a catalogue of little-known and forgotten authors and works.
... Tess of the D'Urbervilles contains one of the most picturesque and accurate descriptions of Bournemouth. It is perhaps most fully depicted in Adrian Savage by Lucas Malet, and is visited and described in Allward by E.S. Stevens, Sinister Street by Compton Mackenzie, The Seamy Side by Besant and Rice, Jill-all-Alone by Rita, and in Tracked Down by Headon Hill. It is further seen in W. B. Maxwell's war-time romance A Man and his Lesson. Among other recent novels in which Bournemouth appears are: The Race Before Us, Guy Thorne; Zitta Sees Herself (Boscombe), E. M. Delafield; The Sins Ye Do, Emmeline Morrison; A Bit of Blue Stone, Maxwell Gray; Tyranny, Holloway Horn; Ring Up the Curtain, J.C. Nevill; Barbara Justice, Diana Patrick; Blinkers, H.A. Vachell; Mr. Justice Maxell, Edgar Wallace.
- A Pictorial and Descriptive Guide to Bournemouth, Poole, Christchurch, Avon Valley, Salisbury, Winchester and The New Forest Covering the Years 1914/15, Ward Locke guide
  • Bournemouth appears in Hardy's 1893 Tess of the D'Urbervilles as the fashionable Sandbourne, where Tess takes up residence as Alec's mistress, and cuts his throat.
  • Lucas Malet was the pseudonym of the novelist Mary St Leger Kingsley, Charles Kingsley's daughter; her 1911 Adrian Savage takes place in  Paris and Bournemouth (as Stourmouth).
  • Bournemouth (as Bournesmouth) and the Christchurch area feature as the setting of ES (Ethel Stefana) Stevens' 1915 Allward: A Story of Gypsy Life.
  • The 1913 Sinister Street (Volume 1 / Volume 2) is Sir Compton Mackenzie's bildungsroman about the coming of age of two illegimate siblings born of rich parents.  
  • The Seamy Side (1889? by Walter Besant and James Rice) portrays a Bournemouth created as "a colony of invalids"
They were not "mere brick-and-mortar speculators" who built Bournemouth ; no, rather they were sickness-and-mortality speculators, and the result of their speculations is pictured for us in The Seamy Side, by Besant and Rice
Seaside England, Ruth Manning-Sanders - 1951
  • Jill-all-Alone by "Rita" (Mrs W. Desmond Humphreys, née" Eliza M. J. Gollan) I have little about:
Jill grew up alone in the woods a free spirit, then the squire desires her. He is foiled, but Jill dies.
- Novels in English by women, 1891-1920: a preliminary checklist, 1981
  • Tracked Down is a 1902 crime novel by the novelist clergyman Francis Grainger (aka Headon Hill).
  • The 1919 A Man and his Lesson is by William Babington Maxwell, novelist son of Mary Elizabeth Braddon.; it concerns a successful dramatist and barrister, who learns a lesson about life from being torn between love for two women. 
  • Guy Thorne's 1910 The Race Before Us is a polemical novel attacking the degeneracy of the aristocratic classes; it begins with the murder of a nobleman by high-frequency current in a Bournemouth quack hydropathic clinic.
  • The 1917 Zella Sees Herself (out of interest, written in Exeter) was the strongly autobiographical first novel by Edmée Elizabeth Monica Dashwood (aka EM Delafield), best known for her Devon-set Diary of a Provincial Lady.
  • I haven't been able to find anything much about Emmeline Morrison's 1923 The Sins Ye Do, except that it was a romance adapted for film in 1924.
  • Holloway Horn's 1922 Tyranny is a male-written polemical melodrama of Catholic angst, concerning a young Irish woman called Gwenda, who despite having had many lovers via her job as a stenographer and chauffeuse, finds her Catholic upbringing makes it impossible for her to marry the one who really does it for her, a divorced man.
  • Ring Up the Curtain (1920) by John Craunston Nevill was described by The Spectator as " a very entertaining theatrical novel of the type more or less originated by Mr. Compton Mackenzie".
  • The plot of the 1921 Blinkers: A Romance Of The Preconceived Idea by Horace Annesley Vachell, is described by the 1921 American Library Association catalogue as "The heroine has been brought up to see life honestly instead of through 'blinkers; and this honesty brings her safely through disillusionment to ultimate happiness".

- Ray

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