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Charles Reade: a study of a literary reputation McGechaen, John 1946

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t^*7 'fit CHARLES READE  A STUDY OF A LITERARY. REPUTATION by JOHN.MoGECHAEN A Thesis submitted i n P a r t i a l Fulfilment of The Requirements, for. the |)egree of MASTER OF ARTS i n the Department of ENGLISH The University of B r i t i s h Columbia MAY,, 194-6. TABLE OF CONTENTS. Introduction Part One Charles Reads'3 method of writing f i c t i o n . Part Two The popularity of Reade's f i c t i o n i n h i 3 own day , Part Three Contemporary o r i t i o a l opinion of Charles Reade's f i o t i o n . . _ Part Four Later o r i t i o a l opinion of Charles Reade's f i o t i o n . _ Part Five The reasons for the eolipse of Charles Reade's "purpose" f i c t i o n . ABSTRACT This essay seeks to explain why Charles Reade's f i c t i o n , which was once so popular, i s no longer of interest to modern readers. By r e f e r r i n g to the available material on the sale of his hooks, and by considering what reviewers i n h i s own day said about them, an attempt i s made to estimate his popularity with contemporary readers. His novels were melo-dramatic i n style and sensational i n content, for he exploited the s o c i a l abuses common i n England during the second half of the nineteenthhcentury. Modern c r i t i c s of the novel believe that Reade f a i l e d to.turn h i s material into sound and probable f i c t i o n . His plots are weak and his characters poorly drawn. For t h i s reason his books ceased to interest readers as soon as the abuses with which he dealt were corrected. A c e r t a i n amount of agreement i s shown to exist between the opinions of modern students of the novel and those of Reade's more d i s -cerning contemporary c r i t i c s who, throughout his career, urged him to change his method of writing f i c t i o n . The shortcomings of h i s f i c t i v e theory are d i s -cussed and the i n e v i t a b i l i t y of the eclipse of his fame i s set fort h i n conclusion. •'CHARLES READE A STUDY OF A LITERARY REPUTATION 1. INTRODUCTION From the year IS56, when It l a Never Too Late to Mend was published, u n t i l h i s death i n 1884 Charles Reade en-joyed great popularity as a writer of f i c t i o n . Dickens alone outstripped him i n the race f o r publio approval, but i t i s doubtful indeed i t any of Dickens & novels created more comment and discussion than. Et 13 Never Too Late To  Mend. Put Yourself In His Place, or Hard Cash. The demand for his f i c t i o n made Reade rioh as'weil a3 famous and, quite understandably, led him to believe that he was a person of some importance in English l e t t e r s . On this point he was never backward about expre33ing his firm convictions, for Reade was not a a e l f - e f f a c i n g man, and he was convinced, not only that his work-was j u s t i f i a b l y popular i n h i s own time, but that i t would continue to be popular a f t e r h i s death. Although i t i s not possible to deny the popularity of Reade'a f i c t i o n during h i s l i f e t i m e i t i s equally impossible to claim that i t has any value or importance today. The publio for which he wrote has turned i t a back completely upon his work with the r e s u l t that i t i s d i f f i c u l t to f i n d many people who have heard of him and almost impossible to f i n d anyone who reads hia f i o t i o n . With the single excep-II. t i o n of The Cloiater And The Hearth hia works have been forgotten. In t h i s study I s h a l l try to explain why Reade's f i c -t i o n was ao popular i n hia l i f e t i m e and why i t i s so com-pl e t e l y disregarded today, I have divided my essay into f i v e parts. In Part One I attempt to show by an a l y s i s of some of Reade'3 novels the method which he used to capture the interest of his readers, and I hope to prove that i t i s not the method by which sound and'enduring f i c t i o n i s w r i t -ten. In Part Two, by r e f e r r i n g tc what data I have been able to gather regarding the sale of hi s "novels,'I endeavour to gauge with some degree of accuracy the extent of h i a success with the reading public of hia time. In Part Three I have t r i e d to set f o r t h the opinion3 that contemporary c r i t i c s held of hia novels, and I endeavour to show In Part Four that modern c r i t i o a l opinion agrees in the main with the conclusions concerning h i s work that hia contemporary c r i t i c s reached. My purpose in the f i f t h and f i n a l section i s to prove that there i s nothing remarkable i n the fact that Reads 1a f i c t i o n i 3 now disregarded but that t h i s d i s -regard i8 an inevitable reault of the method he used i n w r i t — ing h ia novels. CHARLES REAPE A STUDY OF A LITERARY REPUTATION PART I CHARLES READE'S METHOD OF WRITING FICTION. In a l e t t e r to The Times dated August 26, 187.1, Charles Reade named It l a Never Too Late To Mend, Hard Cash, Put Yourself In Hia Place, and A Terri b l e Temptation as the novela which he thought were h i 3 beat. They i l l u s t r a t e h i a "general method" ^ of writing f i c t i o n and for t h i s rea3on have been 3e l e o t e d aa the baaia of t h i a atudy whioh seek.3 to explain why hia f i c t i o n , once so popular and important, i a of l i t t l e or no'consequence today. Two other works, written a f t e r 1871, 3hare the c h a r a o t e r i s t i c 3 of the above novels and have been included i n the atudy; for though they do not compare i n every respect with hia f i r s t four "purpose" novels they are constructed upon the same plan, and both A Woman-Hater and A Simpleton i l l u s t r a t e very c l e a r l y the f a u l t s into which Reade'3 method l e d him. • Reviewers and c r i t i c a have c a l l e d these works novel3 p with a aoc i a l purpose beoauae i n them Reade c r i t i c i s e d 1. Reade. Charlea,• A Simpleton, P.F.Collier and Son, New - York, Preface p . . 1 . 5 . 2. Some reviewers and l i t e r a r y hiatoriana have suggested that Reade wrote the above novels with the purpose i n mind of attacking ce r t a i n a o c i a l e v i l a . I c i t e three by way of • i l l u s t r a t i o n . The f i r s t i a a.reviewer, contemporary with Reade, who wrote i n Blaokwooda Magazine (March,1S79) v o l . 125, P.332. The second i a Prof. W.Minto i n the Encyclo- paedia Britannioa, Ninth Edition, vol.20,p.303*col.1,1.11. The t h i r d i 3 Emile Legouia i n A Short Hiatory of English  Literature, Oxford, 1935, P.331, 1.17« 2. cert a i n s o c i a l e v i l s . It i s doubtful indeed whether the term "purpose" novels may be corr e c t l y ' a p p l i e d to Reade 1s f i c t i o n for i t implies that Reade took up h i s pen i n order to attack these e v i l s and that t h i s was hia chief end i n writing. Only in the caae of Put Yourself In Hia Place i a th i s ao, and Reade'3 reaaona for diaouaaing the aocial i l i a of nineteenth century England i n some of hia other novels are worth inveatigating. It may be seen from Reade'a novels that he placed great truat i n f a c t u a l truth; and he missed no opportunity to point out that, i n hia opinion, the more f a c t u a l truth a novel con-tained the better it.was. Hia i n i t i a l bent towards "truth" revealed i t s e l f when he wrote Chriatie Johnstone for he took paina to check and v e r i f y the facta which he-used, and he v i s i t e d the d i s t r i c t ' a n d talked with the people' i n order to-"get up" hi3 background on the scene. • To be f a i r to Reade i t must be admitted that he captur-ed the s p i r i t of the simple f i s h i n g f o l k and h i a treatment of the d i f f i c u l t d i a l e c t does him c r e d i t . If he had taken a a much care with plot development or character portrayal, G h r i 3 t i e Johnatone would have been a much better novel; but i t i s t y p i c a l of a l l Reade•3 work that truth to -fact came f i r a t and was, indeed, the pivot around which hia f i c t i v e theory turned. He outlined hia plan for f i c t i o n early i n h i s career. In 1853, for example, he wrote i n h i a diary: "Thespian I propoae to myself i n writing s t o r i e s w i l l , I see, cost me 3.. undeniable labour. I propose never to guess where I can know." 1 For t h i s reason, and with It l a Never Too Late To Mend in mind, he commissioned hi3 brother who was a aailor "to describe aa he-would to an i n t e l l i g e n t c h i l d , a ship 2 s a i l i n g . . . " ; and because he wanted to make hia Jew, Levi, 3 „ • "a Truth...instead of a l i e " he read eight considerable volumes on the subject. In describing hia proposed•treat-ment of the Australian scenes he. revealed the importance which he attached to hia method by aaying: " My story muat croaa the water to Aua-t r a l i a , and plunge.after that into a,., , gold mine. To be consistent with my-aelf, I ought to cross-examine at the very l e a s t a dozen men .that have farmed,' dug, or robbed i n that land. If I can get hold of two or three that have r e a l l y been i n i t , I think I could win the publio ear by theae means. F a i l i n g these I mu3t read book3 and l e t t e r s , and do the beat : I can... Suoh i a the mechanism of a novel by Oharlea Reade. If I can work the above great system, there i s enough of me to make one of the writers of the day; without i t , No, 4-No.« . Reade 3ucceeded i n winning the "public ear" to an ex-tent far beyond even hia expectations but h i s succe33 was not due to h i s laboriously gathered data on gold mining. It wa3 due to the fact that he discovered i n i'he Times of 1. Elwin, Malcolm, Charlea Reade, London, Jonathan Cape Ltd., 19314., p. 86, .11. .21-24. 2. Ibid.,p.86, 11.'30-31. •3. Ibid.,p.87, 11. 14-16 4-. Ibid. ,p.S7, 11. 17-26. 4. September 1 and S, I S 5 3 the account of a boy driven to 3 u i c i d e because of ill-treatment at the hands of h i s j a i l o r s in Birmingham J a i l , Although Reade claimed 3ome years l a t e r that t h i s "noble passage" i n the Times was the "germ" 1 of hi3 work ainoe i t "touched" hia heart and "inflamed" hia im-agination there i a good reason to believe that t h i a was not the case. He had started h i 3 novel 3ome time before read-2 ing the Time3 atory for Elwin points out that Reade had ao far advanced h i 3 atory by July, IS53, that he had changed the t i t l e from Gold, the name.of the play from which the novel waa adapted, to It Ia Never Too Late To Mend; and Reade'a diary indicates that u n t i l that time he had come upon nothing s t a r t l i n g i n the way of priaon conditions i n apite of the f a c t that he had v i 3 i t e d the priaona at Durham, Oxford, and Reading' i n 3earch of "warm facta for the Robinaon 3 buaineaa. M It i s not d i f f i c u l t to explain these v i s i t 3 ; for Robinson, one of hia characters, was a j a i l - b i r d and Reade sought authentic background for h i s story. No doubt he obtained many "warm fac t a " from these v i a l t a but hia warmest facts came from The Timea and his discovery of t h i a new information wa3 a fortunate addition to the material he had already gathered, 1. Reade, Gharle3, Readiana,London, Chatto and Windus, I89O, P. 323, L S . 2. Elwin, o p . c i t . p.90, 11. 25-26. 3 . Ibid., p.91, 11. 1-3. Setting aside for the moment any discussion regarding the exoellence of Reade's handling of the prison 3cenea, l e t ua examine b r i e f l y the position they hold i n the story and their e f f e c t upon the general structure of the work. The 3tory begina with the departure of the hero, Fielding, for A u 3 t r a l i a where he i a forced to go i n aearch of fortune to enable him to marry Susan Merton. The young lady'3 hand i3 alao aought by the v i l l a i n Meadow3 who hope3, i n the ab-sence of F i e l d i n g , to lead her to the a l t a r by f a i r means or f o u l . Meadows incurs the hate of the Jew, Levi, early i n the story and the Jew, as well as helping the hero at c r i t i c a l times throughout the 3tory, manages alao to contribute to the thwarting of the e v i l 3quire's schemes. Robinson, aft e r h i a release from j a i l , travela to A u a t r a l i a where hi a path croaaea that o f . F i e l d i n g and in t h i a way the threada of i n -terest are drawn into a reasonably well-formed p l o t . I f , aa Reade 3 a i d , the "germ" of hia novel waa the atory of Josephs i t i a d i f f i c u l t to underatand why he introduced i t ao late i n hia work and why i t wa3 30 poorly connected to the rest of hia p l o t . In the eighteen chapters of uninter-rupted narrative which Reade devoted to the prison acenea, Robinaon, hi3 o r i g i n a l j a i l - b i r d , has only a small part to play while the atory of Jo3eph3, Mr. Eden, and Hawea and hia minion3 i s treated at great length and in minute d e t a i l . Reade, of cour3e, simply halted hi3 own story to deal with the one which he found i n The Times. There i s no doubt that he treated the 3ubject i n a masterful fashion, 6. and there oan be no doubt, either, that hia emotiona were deeply touched and hia just and righteous wrath honourably and e f f e c t i v e l y arouaed; for the entire atory of Josephs i3 told with f e e l i n g and with auch dramatic e f f e c t as to make the reat of the book aeem poor by compariaon. The fact remain3, however, that Reade must b e . c r i t i c i s e d for allowing a section even as excellent as this to diafigure the form and plot of hia novel. He was aware of i t s i n -a r t i a t i c e f f e c t for he aaid himaelf that "a atory within a atory i a a f r i g h t f u l flaw in a r t . " ^ When we consider that he made th i a statement-regarding the story of Robinaon'3 l i f e which he aaid was intended as "the central gem of my l i t t l e 2 coronet" but which was omitted from the hovel and publish-ed separately under the t i t l e of The Autobiography Of A Thief we are forced to the concluaion that Reade wa3 concerned about a r t i a t i c form only when i t proved to hia advantage to be ao. Hia r e a l reason f o r omitting Robinaon'a atory waa, as he himaelf aaid, that "the novel without the autobiography, 3 waa f i v e ordinary volumea by printer'3 c a l c u l a t i o n " and something had to be l e f t out. He retained the atory of Joaepha because he f e l t that the abu3e which prompted i t ought to be expoaed and probably, too, because he was aware that i t would create i n t e r e s t in hia novel. 1. Reade, Uharlea, The Course Of True Love. Other Tales (The Autobiography Of A Thief), New York, P . F . C o l l i e r and Son, p. 3, 11. .13-14-. 2. Ibid., p.3, 1..11. 3. Ibid., p.3, l l . 11-13. One of Reade's chief a i f f i c u l t i e a i n writing was with pure invention. On one occasion, a f t e r h i s adaptation of a play from the French, he said "I want to show people that, though I ada.pt French pieces, I can invent too, i f I choose to take the trouble. And i t i a a trouble to me I confess." When we conaider that when Reade was writing, the three-vol-ume novel, which might run to three hundred thouaand words or better, was i n vogue, i t becomes clear that Reade'a problem was grave enough to concern him greatly. It i s alao clear why he ao eagerly embraced the plan which hia 3uccea3 in It Ia Never Too Late To Mend 3 u g g e a t e d to him. He saw that such 3ubjecta as prison c o n d i t i o n s a b u s e s i n private asylums, and 3o f o r t h had a double value for him since they provided sensational interest in h i a novels and atretched them out at the aame time to f i l l three volumea or even more. Here, then, was the answer to h i s problem and i n hia subsequent works he never lacked something to . say, for hia -3yatem of research provided him with an abun-dance of material. Aa a reault, a l l hia "purpoae" novela were baaed upon the plan which had proved ao successful i n It Ia Never Too Late To Mend and which oonaisted of a simple love atory of the type common in h i s day, and indeed common enough i n our3, interrupted from time to time to include aome topic or topica of contemporary interest. Although 1. Elwin, op. c i t . . P.S4-, 11. 6-9. Reade waa r e a l l y making a virtue of necea3ity, he argued that hia kind of f i c t i o n wa3 the only true one and he waa aa t i a f i e d i n the preface to A Simpleton, written toward the end of h i s career to remark: "I oan only aay that I rarely write a novel without milking about two hundred heterogeneoua cowa into my p a i l , and that A Simpleton i a no exception to my general method; that method i a the true method, and the beat, and i f on that method I do not write prime novels, i t i3 the f a u l t of the man, and not of the method." In order to aee the reaulta of Reade1 a method l e t ua examine two novela, Put Yourself In Hia Place and A Simpleton. The former' i l l u a t r a t e a Reade' a method at i t s beat whereaa the l a t t e r , written when Reade had long pa33ed the peak of hia popularity and power aa a writer, reveals what he waa content to publish at the end of a auccesaful career a3 a writer of f i c t i o n . Some who read t h i s e3aay may not have read theae novels, and othera who have read them may have forgotten much of what they contain; for Reade1 a f i c t i o n tenda to a l i p e a s i l y from the memory. I t may be useful, therefore, at t h i a point to set down an outline of them to make clearer the quality of Reade'a f i c t i o n to which I am seeking to draw attention. Put Your3elf In Hi3 Place waa conceived by Reade aa a novel with a purpoae. Elwin aaya that "the idea of wri t i n g 1.. Reade, Oharlea, A Simpleton, New York, P.F.Collier and Son, Preface, .p.4, 11. 2-g. 9 -a atory on the subject of Trades Unions with a growing indus-t r i a l town fo r i t s background had been i n Reade's mind since I S 5 9 . " ^ In keeping with his cu3tom of never guessing where he could know, Reade began, as early as 1S62, to c o l l e c t news cuttings on the subject. He also v i s i t e d Man-chester and Sheffield, and not only inspected the f a c t o r i e s and m i l l s , but interviewed many m i l l - g i r l 3 and tradesmen, both union and non-union. The importance to him of this procedure i s revealed i n a l e t t e r to Mrs. Seymour. He wrote: " Yesterday I received several-men who had been beaten, injured, shot, by the Unions; and i n the evening a detective, the ri c h e s t fellow i n the world. Oh for a shorthand, writer to record the things I heard! Seriously, were I Dickena, i t would pay me .well to take a shorthand writer everywhere. I am getting 2 anecdotes and racy d i c t a . " Having gathered h i s facta he 3et to work on hia novel, chooa-ing Hillsborough aa i t a setting, which, aa Elwin pointa out waa merely a thin diaguiae for S h e f f i e l d . The atory opena with the account of the quarrel between Mra. L i t t l e and her a r i a t o c r a t i c brother Squire Raby, whoae contempt for trade and diaapproval of hia a i 3 t e r ' a marriage led i n d i r e c t l y to the auicide of her huaband, Mr. L i t t l e . The son,Henry L i t t l e , was brought up i n London by hi a uncle on h i 3 father'3 aide,- who trained him in the c r a f t of t o o l -making with such success that he became a s k i l l e d craftsman 1-. Elwin, op. c i t . , p. 202, 11. 5-g. 2. Ibid., p. 203, 11. 13-1S. 10. early in l i f e . Realising that Hillsborough o f f e r e d him opportunities for advancement for which he could not hope i n London, Henry persuaded his mother to r e - v i s i t the countryside of her youth and the 3cenea of her former un-happiness. They had not been long i n Hillsborough before Henry f e l l i n love with G-race Carden, whose b i r t h and p o s i t i o n i n society made her i n a o o e 3 3 i b l e to a common workman; and t h i s provided an added stimulus to the young .man's ambition to r i s e i n h i s trade and become a ma3ter. He would have succeed-ed well enough, no doubt, had'it riot been that the Union3 opposed him, c h i e f l y on .the'ground3 that he was not a l o c a l man and that the work i n which he waa engaged was ao a p e c i a l -iaed aa to exclude him automatically from any of the unions exiating there at the time. Hia 3truggle with the trades, though 3hort, wa3 extremely b i t t e r and the i n j u s t i c e and i n j u r i e s that he auffered are recorded by Reade i n minute and accurate d e t a i l . Defeated and diacouraged, L i t t l e decided to give up the hopeleaa struggle and return to London but waa disauaded by Dr. Amboyne whoae interest i n L i t t l e was 3incere and aro3e not only from hia admiration of the lad's a b i l i t y and pluck, but al3o from the fact that the Doctor had once loved Mra. L i t t l e and, indeed, s t i l l cheri3hed the hope of making her hi s wife. Amboyne encouraged Henry to 3et up h i 3 forge i n a deserted church belonging to Squire Raby, hia uncle. In t h i a iaolated place Henry worked at nights, but during the .11. day d i v i d e d h i a time between two j o b 3 c a l c u l a t e d to j u s t i f y h i a continued presence i n Hillaborough without arousing the suapiciona of h i a enemie3. One of these joba waa wood-carv i n g ; but the other waa that of examining the f a c t o r i e s of the c i t y and i t was undertaken a t the doctor's suggestion i n an e f f o r t to f i n d out and c o r r e c t the causes of ao many occupational illne33es among workera. Reade uaed t h i s sec-t i o n of the s t o r y to d i s p l a y h i a f i n d i n g s on f a c t o r y c o n d i -t i o n a and L i t t l e ' s r e p o r t i 3 nothing more than an i t e m i z e d account of the p r e v a i l i n g bad c o n d i t i o n a together w i t h augge3tiona f o r t h e i r improvement which the author f e l t i n a p i r e d to l a y before h i a readera i n the form of ah appen-d i x to h i a n o v e l . L i t t l e waa di3covered at h i a forge one w i n t e r ' a night by Grace Garden and F r e d e r i c k Coventry who, having l o s t t h e i r way i n a anow atorm, aought refuge i n the church. Coventry, who waa alao a a u i t o r f o r Grace'3 hand, became jealou3 when he learned of the g i r l ' a attachment to L i t t l e and i n a moment of anger revealed L i t t l e ' a whereabouts to the astonished-trades, who soon attacked L i t t l e and i n j u r e d him. As.a r e s u l t of t h i s outrage Raby became aware of the des-e c r a t i o n of h i a ohureh and of the f a c t that L i t t l e was h i a nephew. Raby and h i s a i a t e r were r e c o n c i l e d and Henry set up i n a safe place to continue h i 3 work unmolested. Within a short time he became master i n a "model" f a c t o r y where he put i n t o p r a c t i c e the improvements 3ugge3ted i n h i a r e p o r t and, a f t e r a few t e c h n i c a l adjustments were made, found 12. himaelf, at laat, right with the tradea. Hia troublea were far from over, however, for Mr. Garden told him that in order to .win Grace'a hand he would have to make a fortune within two yeara. Henry turned hia attention to inventing, and, after d e v i 3 i n g a more economical method of grinding aawa, 3ucceeded in patenting i t and set up in bu3ines3 with Ben Bolt whom he met on his way home from Lon-don after an unsuccea3ful attempt to raise the necessary capital to set himaelf up in busineaa. Once again, however, he found himaelf wrong with the tradea for hia invention threatened to deprive mo3t of the Hillsborough saw-grinders of their mean3 of livlihood. Coventry connived with certain low characters in the employ of the Uniona to k i l l L i t t l e and blow up hia plant at the aame time; and though they aucceeded in the latter acheme, they were thwarted in the former; for L i t t l e , at the time of the explosion, waa on his way to America to patent hia invention and attend to i t a exploitation there. This 3 e c t i o n of the plot i a particularly weak for L i t t l e who, throughout the book, wa3 more than a devoted aon and a thoughtful friend, l e f t his mother, his aweetheart, and h i 3 busineaa a33ociates in. complete ignorance of his departure. As a result, a human arm which wa3 found in the river after the exploaion waa taken for his and he waa preaumed dead by everyone except his mother who waa kept in ignorance of the suppoaed tragedy. Henry, of cour3e, wrote lettera from America but only to Graoe, who never got them for the very good reason that 13. Coventry managed to intercept and destroy them a l l . This v i l l a i n pressed hi3 s u i t with such persistence that (irace capitulated, more to please her father than herself, and married Coventry the day before Henry arrived home from America, r i c h and eager to claim h i s bride. Uraoe, who heard of Henry'3 impending return some ten minute3 or ao a f t e r her marriage, attacked her wicked deceiver with a a t i l e t t o , denounced him, and refused to remain for one min-ute beneath the 8ame roof and no one can deny that Reade aucceeded i n wringing out the l a s t drop of melodrama from thia extremely melodramatic .situation. Henry returned, there-fore, to f i n d hia sweetheart married to another man,, and the fact that ahe was his wife i n name only did l i t t l e more than aoften the blow. Following another atormy and melodramatic acene, Henry f i n a l l y suggested that (irace go to America with him where they might be able to atart l i f e afreah. Grace refused hia of f e r , of courae, and inatead heraelf l e f t H i l l s -borough at the same time decoying the peraiatent Coventry away in a f r u i t l e a a chase i n order to prevent Henry from wreaking vengeance upon the v i l l a i n who had wrecked hia l i f e . In due courae Grace returned to Hillaborough and, dreaaed aa a Prot e 3 t a n t nun, every night atole to Henry'a window to view and love him from afar. Henry learned of her preaence in Hillaborough and moved to a room near her place of r e s i -dence where he watched her from time to time aa she walked in the seclusion of her garden. Coventry, too," learned of her whereabouts and was on the point of carrying her away by Ik. force when the valley was inundated by a great f l o o d caused by the breaking of a dam. Although Reade's description of the flood i a good, the acene i t s e l f i a by no meana nece33ary to the advancement of the plot i n 3pite of the f a c t that we learn that Henry and Grace are restored to eaoh other and Coventry i 3 c r i p p l e d for l i f e . Shortly after t h e i r exper-iencea i n the f l o o d the lovers learned that Grace was not r e a l l y married to Coventry at a l l for the curate who o f f i c i a t -ed at the wedding waa none other than Shifty Dick, a notor-ioua criminal, who had uaed the diaguiae of a clergyman to hide hi3 i d e n t i t y and further hia e v i l achemea. Shifty Dick waa not a new character i n the story. Some of hia exploita are recorded in Chapter Thirty where Reade displayed hia findings on a gang of unacrupuloua raacala who 3ucceeded i n defrauding insuranoe companies by produc-ing a dead body and claiming i t to be that of a p o l i c y holder. This incident has no r e l a t i o n to the r e 3 t of the story and wa3 included presumably because' i t was "ba3ed upon some i n -formation which Reade had been at pains to aecure and waa reluctant to omit." 1 Hi3 uae of Shifty Dick i n solving Henry's problem i s clever enough, but no more convincing than hia marrying Jael Dence, the simple and unlettered country g i r l , to the proud and 3nobbi3h Raby. Reade waa pleased enough with the denouement of hia 3tory and i t waa 1. Elwin, op. c i t . , p. 205, !• 9' 15. c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of hi3 melodramatic 3tyle i n f i c t i o n that a l l should end happily with wedding b e l l s drowning out the c r i e s of injured workers and bereaved widows. It i s true that Reade concluded his.book with two or three pages de-voted to an account of further outrages by the Unions, but i t i s al3o true that h i s novel cannot claim to reveal a ju3t and f a i r picture of the situ a t i o n although mo3t of hia' material i3 baaed on f a c t , in the clo3ing l i n e s of the novel Reade says: " Seeing these thinga, I have drawn my pen against cowardly as3aa3ination and sordid tyranny: I have taken a few undeniable truth3-out of many, and have laboured to make my readera r e a l i z e thoae appalling facts of the day, which mo3t men know, but not one i n a thousand r e a l i z e a , u n t i l f i c t i o n which,, whatever you may have been t o l d to the contrary, i a the higheat, widest,' noblest, and. greatest of a l l the a r t a — c o r n e a to hia.aid, 3tudie3, penetrates,, digeata the hard f a c t a of chronicles and blue booka, and makes their dry., ' 1 bones l i v e . " Actually Reade did not make the dry bonea l i v e for the aimple reaaon that h ia novel i a not. good f i c t i o n . One aees too c l e a r l y the chroniclea and blue book3 behind everything Reade say a and i n this, reapect Put Your3elf In  Hia Place i a very l i t t l e d i fferent from any other "purpose" novel of Reade'a. The commonplace love atory i s there; the melodramatic trick3 are there; the plot, though i n t r i -cately enough contrived, i s improbable; and the characters 1. Reade, Charles, Put Yourself In Hia'Place, New York, P.F. C o l l i e r and Son, v o l . 2, p. 161, 11. 21-32. 16. are marionettes that move about at the whim of the i r creator. Reade gathered material on many subjects and he used i t a l l . Consequently h i 3 novel deals with outrages by Trades Union3, poor working conditions i n fa c t o r i e s , the duping of insurance companies by unscrupulous swindlers, the "red tape" connected with the o f f i c e of Letters Patent, and, for good measure, an account of the bursting of a dam which has r e a l l y no plaoe i n the story but which had been suggested to him by h i s Boston f r i e n d Fields, who 3ent him pictures of the American floods of I S 6 9 . Although, with the help of Wlikie C o l l i n s , Reade made an e f f o r t to work a l l these materials into a sat-is f a c t o r y p l o t i t was not very successful. According to Elwin, C o l l i n a was aware of Reade'a besetting ains in f i c t i o n f o r he warned him against r e p e t i t i o n and the i n c l i n a t i o n to dwell too much upon the polemical part of the 3t o r y . C o l l i n a aaid: " ...the interest in the characters ia ao strong, the c o l l i s i o n of hu-man passions i3 ao admirably and 30 aubtly struck ,out, that the public w i l l have no more of new 1 trade'union3 and the i r outrages." Commenting upon th i s Elwin aaya: " Shrewdly he knew how Reade, i n hi3 habit of thorough research and con-sequent accumulation of serried ma33e3 of facta, was inclined' to impede the movement of his 3tory by the introduction of irrelevanciea, baaed upon some information which 1. Elwin, op. c i t . , p. 204, 1. 33, p. 205, 1. 3« 17-he had "been at pains to procure 1 and waa reluctant to omit." The fact of the matter i a that Reade considered such b i t a of information more important than the movement of hia atory, or hia charactera, or anything elae; for i n no other way can we explain hia willingneaa to preaent these "purpose" novela a3 the basis of hia claim to fame aa a noveliat. If Put Yourself In Hia Place i 3 Reade'a beat attempt at a novel with a purpo3e A Simpleton i a c e r t a i n l y hia wor3t. It i a true, aa I have already 3aid, t h a t . i t was written at 'the cloae of h i s career and after he had pasaed the peak of h i 3 power as a. writer, yet Reade himself once 3aid that a noveliat should be able to write better f i c t i o n at f o r t y than he could at twenty becauae he had accumulated more facta, and f a c t a to Reade were the things which made f i c t i o n good. Surely, then, at sixty, when he had gathered the amazing mass of stuff that f i l l e d his. f i l i n g cabinets to overflowing, Reade should have produced his best, rather than one of hia worst novels. Reade's argument, of course, was quite wrong and A Simpleton i s sure proof of t h i a . It i 3 a t r i v i a l work compared to It l a Never Too Late To Mend or Put Youraelf In Hia Place and i t i a only with d i f f i c u l t y that we r e a l i z e that i t came from the same pen as The C l o i s t e r And The Hearth, In i t we f i n d again the simple 1. Elwin, op. c i t . , p. 205, U . 3~9. IS. love story and the in t e r e s t i n g t i d - b i t s of contemporary i n -terest that we have grown to expect i n a l l Reade 13 f i c t i o n , and we miss the sound and valuable comment upon l i f e that a man of Reade's a b i l i t y and learning might have made had h i s f i c t i v e theory not been what i t was. A Simpleton i s the story of Uhriatopher Staines, a young doctor, and his bride, Rosa Luaignan. Their exper-iences with unscrupulous house agents, vendors of adulter-ated buns and coametica, and dishonest auctioneers during the time that the doctor t r i e d unsuccessfully to establish a practice i n London make up the f i r s t thirteen chapters of the book. Staines, however, waa forced to hire himself out f i r 3 t a3 a cab driver and l a t e r as the guardian of a wealthy boy who wa3 embarking on an ocean voyage. During the voyage Staines f e l l overboard. He was-rescued and taken to South A f r i c a but beoauae he wa3 suffering from amnesia he was unable to n o t i f y hia wife that he waa aafe. Phoebe Faloon recognized him aa a man to whom 3he sold buns i n London and ahe and her huaband Falcon, who, inoidentally, waa a former auitor of Roaa's, took charge of Stainea u n t i l h i s memory returned. When he recovered he waa ahocked to r e a l i z e that his wife no doubt considered him dead and must have spent the money from the insurance polioy which her father had made Staines procure before he married Rosa. To get the money with which to repay t h i s debt Stainea accompanied Falcon 1 9 . to the diamond f i e l d s and waa fortunate enough to gather a few atonea i n a ahort time. He aent Falcon back to Gape Town with them, redoubled hia e f f o r t s , and aoon met with even greater aucce33. Falcon, however, deserted h i 3 wife, went to London, and, inatead of assuring Rosa of her hus-band'a safety, t r i e d to marry her himaelf. So eagerly did he prea3 h i s su i t and so ably did Mr. Lu3ignan help him that Rosa, torn between l o y a l t y to the memory of her hus-band and duty to her father, became deaperate and decided to poiaon heraelf. Stainea in the meantime had followed hia f a l s e f r i e n d to London and melodramatically stepped out from behind a ahrub i n hia father-in-law 1 a garden just in time to anatch the l e t h a l b o t t l e from hia wife's hand. Although he .was diaguiaed by a beard Ro3a recognized him and f l e d acream-ing into the house convinced that ahe had seen a ghost. Falcon, who knew that Staines waa not a gho3t, t r i e d to shoot him, then jumped from the window only to be impaled upon the fence below where he was discovered by Phoebe who drove up i n a cab just at that time. She took her erring and now c r i p p l e d apou3e back to South A f r i c a and Stainea and Roaa, re-united at l a s t , l i v e d out their day3.in peace and prosperity. Thia waa, of courae, the usual ending of Reade'a " s t o r i e s of the day." That Reade waa w i l l i n g , even anxioua, to rest h i s claim to fame upon auch "meager humanity"^ indicates the 1. Weygandt, Cornelius, A Gentury of The English Novel,Mew York, The Gentury Go., 1925, p. 160, 1. 6. 20. f a i t h which he had in fa c t u a l truth aa the proper baais for f i c t i o n . He waa content to b u i l d h i a novela around the hackneyed p l o t of lovera aeparated and brought together again. He wa3 content, too, to portray people aa typea and to make no e f f o r t to probe the hidden 3pringa of human act i o n or to discover why people react aa they do to the impact of l i f e . He aaw nothing wrong with giving hi3 readera a hodge-podge of melodramatic nonsense, b r i l l i a n t narrative, and s t a r t -l i n g facta because he f e l t that hia facta justified'them-selves and h i 3 f i c t i o n , and by adhering oloaely to his facta he waa giving hia readera a true picture of l i f e . Reade overlooked the point, that factual truth i s not the same thing aa f i c t i o n a l truth and, indeed, has'nothing to do with i t . Most people are w i l l i n g to accept or deny the truth of a fact, but they demand the right to accept the truth of a f i c t i o n . Readers of f i c t i o n do not expect an author to deal with attested f a c t but demand inatead that the si t u a t i o n s and people he inventa for hia atory aeem l i f e -l i k e , conaistent, and probable. It i a enough for the reader to know that the thinga that happen to charactera i n f i c t i o n are thoae that might well happen to 3uch people i n the s i t -uations i n which the author has placed them. For example, i t makes no difference whether or not Becky Sharp ever r e a l -l y l i v e d f or 3he i a ao well and consistently drawn that we admit that auch a person as she might have l i v e d and we are convinced that a rea l person would have reacted to the c i r -cumatancea of her l i f e exactly aa Becky did. 21. Whenever a writer includes i n h i s f i c t i o n actual exper-iences of l i v i n g people and labels them as such he compli-cates, h i s task considerably. The reader i s forced to be-li e v e f i r s t that such experiences are possible i n r e a l l i f e and second that the3e experiences were l i k e l y to have been encountered by the characters in the novel. The c o n f l i c t . thus set up i n the reader's mind i s serious, and i f he f e e l s that the author, i n order to use or exploit hia fac t u a l material, ha3 had to force hia characters to do or 3ay thinga that such people normally would not do or 3ay the result i s f a t a l , for the i l l u a i o n of r e a l i t y i n hi3 novel i s deatroyed. It i s important that a novel should appear to be a true p i c -ture of l i f e but i t i a not important that the incidenta in the l i v e a of the characters be based on facts,. The willingness on the part of reader3 of f i c t i o n to regard as true things that have no actual baais i n fact haa been termed that " w i l l i n g auapen3ion of d i s b e l i e f for a moment" which i a the only basis upon which f i c t i o n can be accepted. I ahould l i k e to discuss b r i e f l y what I think good f i c t i o n ought to be and to compare with i t s standards tho3e that 3 a t i a f i e d Reade. Good f i c t i o n embodiea and reveal3 certain trutha of human nature and l i f e . Although i t s primary purpoae may be to i n t e r e 3 t or entertain, i t s enduring value depends upon what i t t e l l s us about ouraelve3. The serioua noveliat, therefore, mu3t paas on to hia reader3 i n an intereating and acceptable manner what he haa found to be true of l i f e . An 22.-understanding exists between author and reader which, though seldom a c t u a l l y expressed, i s nevertheless very r e a l and important. The reader understands that the author has d i s -covered something from hia observations of l i f e that he pro-poses to reveal through the a r t i f i c i a l medium of f i c t i o n . The author i s allowed to set his stage as he wishes and to make use of incidents which are not true to fact and charac-ters that have no exact counterparts i n re a l l i f e , provided hia novel aeema r e a l and probable. In thia way he i a able to direct the intereat of hia readera to the s p e c i f i c com-ment which he wiah'ea to make and to stimulate e f f e c t i v e l y i -their emotions and imaginationa. In hia e f f o r t to make hi3 3tory aeem true to l i f e , - the noveliat mu3t f i r s t conatruct a plot aa the frame work for i t . Although 3ome writer3 are better than others i n thia department of f i c t i o n , and can deviae very i n t r i c a t e and well-balanced plota, the ultimate teat of a good plot i a not i t a complexity, but i t s p r o b a b i l i t y . The incidents and happeninga i n any atory mu3t be those whioh aeem l i k e l y to happen to people i n l i f e and the writer who forcea un-uaual situations into h i a plot i n order to produce i n t e r -eating or 3 t a r t l i n g e f f e c t s , runs the r i s k of deatroying the appearance of r e a l i t y that hia novel ought to have. A good plot r e 3 t r i c t 3 the attention of the reader to the par-t i c u l a r aapect of l i f e which the author i a considering, and leada, atep by step, to an inevitable and s a t i a f y i n g con-cluaion. 23. Character protrayal i s important in a novel. If-an author i s to succeed i n setting f o r t h a true picture of l i f e the people about whom he writes must seem to be l i v -ing people. Becky Sharp, for instance, seems more l i k e a l i v i n g person about whom Thackeray wrote than someone who waa created i n hia imagination and th i a i a due to the fact that she haa a p e r 3 o n a l i t y of her own. Thackeray does not' try to force Becky to do anything that would be foreign to anyone of her temperament, nor doe.s he force her into im-probable aituationa merely to advance hia 8tory. So i t i a with Squire Weatern and Emma ioodhouae, for ao convincingly are they drawn that i t i a with d i f f i c u l t y that one r e a l i z e a they are not ac t u a l l y f l e s h and blood people. Some n o v e l i 3 t a are better able than others to make the people in t h e i r f i c t i o n r e a l due to the' fact that they are primarily interested i n the study of character, and the're-actions of people to the circumatancea of l i f e , rather than in the circumatancea themselves. Other writers, of courae, are j u s t i f i e d in neglecting.the f i n e r points of character delineation i f their f i c t i o n i a intended to deal with aome other aspect of l i f e . They must take care, however, to aee that the people who appear i n th e i r novels are conaia-tent, for unnatural conduct upon the part of any character tends to deatroy the i l l u a i o n of r e a l i t y and, conaequently, the effectiveneaa of the novel. A good aetting i a important to a novel and contributes much to the i l l u 3 i o n of r e a l i t y . When aetting i a a r t i s -24. t i c a l l y used i t forma a perfect background for both plot development and character atudy. The worka of Jane Auaten and Thomaa Hardy, for example, owe much of the i r auoceas to the fact that they are written againat e f f e c t i v e backgrounds eaaily accepted by readers with l i t t l e or no e f f o r t of imagination. When Jane Auaten leads us from the drawing-room to the oountry we make no objection, for nothing i a 3trained or forced about the tr a n 8 i t i o n . We f e e l , i f we think about i t at a l l , that i t i s quite f i t t i n g to accom-pany Emma on her pi c n i c , for we know that auoh events, though rare, are natural i n her l i f e . The harmonious blend-ing of plot and setting i n Jane Austen's novels i l l u s t r a t e s how setting may properly be used, but i t also shows that auch harmony i 3 not always, indeed, not often found i n f i c t i o n . Setting i s too often exploited for i t s own sake and Sharles Reade frequently offended i n t h i s regard, for he often a a c r i f i c e d not only h ia plo t s but the entire i l l u s i o n of r e a l i t y of hi3 novels, simply becauae he want-ed to uae settings whioh he thought were s t a r t l i n g and 3en3ational. Although plot development, character portrayal, and aetting are indispensable i n creating an i l l u a i o n of r e a l i t y i t must not be imagined that t h i s i n i t s e l f i a the true end and purpoae of f i c t i o n . A novel i a great when i t can stand as an enduring and valuable human document; but when i t i s anything leaa than that i t a intereat and importance must, of necessity, be tranaitory. Looking back upon the great 25. works i n our own and other l i t e r a t u r e s , we cannot f a i l to r e a l i z e that those that have ou t l i v e d their creators con-t a i n messages which are as valuable to ua today as to the people f o r whom they were f i r s t intended* Tom Jones, for example, appeals to modern readera not only because the plot i a clever and the character a" l i f e - l i k e , but also because F i e l d i n g , from h ia vaat knowledge of human nature, 3Uooeeded i n making ob3ervations about l i f e which we can a t i l l underatand and'which 3ucceeding generationa w i l l con-tinue to underatand aa long as human nature remaina what i t i a . S i m i l a r l y , Scott's novels hold our intereat not only bedauae of h i s narrative powera or hia great knowledge of history, but alao beoauae there' shines through a l l h i s work a great love for humanity; and h i s commenta upon human virtuea and f r a i l t i e s help ua to see ourselves as others see us. Good f i o t i o n , then, concerns i t s e l f with the general lawa which underlie human aotion and i n thi s way i t may be 8 a i d to deal with truth. The writer of good f i c t i o n muat obaerve o a r e f u l l y the conduct of h i a fellow men and their reactiona to the situationa of l i f e . On the baaia of what he sees he must formulate a philoaophy of l i f e which aeeks to explain why people act and react aa they do. Having done t h i s to h i a own aatiafaction, he muat present h i s findinga i n hia novel, a3king his readera to accept the f a c t that although the people and happeninga of hi s atory are f i c t i t i o u s hia novel i a worth the reader's conaideration, 26. for i t gives a f a i r l y true picture of what take3 place i n l i f e . If, by a r t i s t i c use of plot, character, and setting he presents a story which gives a true picture of l i f e , h i s novel has accomplished i t s purpose; but no amount of faotual truth w i l l a v a i l i f the story does not i t s e l f seem true or probable. I have already suggested that Reade, in spite of h i s passionate and painstaking 3earch f o r truth, f a i l e d to r e a l -ise the d i s t i n c t i o n between fa c t u a l and f i c t i o n a l truth, the extent of hie f a i l u r e may be 3een i n a remark i n h i 3 introduction to An Autobiography Of A thi e f where he said: n I feign p r o b a b i l i t i e s ; I record improbabilities: the former are. conjectures, the l a t t e r truths: mixed, they make a thing not so true as gospel nor so f a l s e as history; v i z . , f i c t i o n . When I s t a r t l e you most, think twioe before you disbelieve me. . What able deceiver aims at shock-ing credulity? Biatruat rather my o i l y p r o b a b i l i t i e s . They should be true i f I could make them; but I can't: they are 1 guesses, M It seems almost in c r e d i b l e that a writer of Reade'a a b i l i t y , the author of The C l o i s t e r And The Hearth, the man who transformed the atory of Josephs from an ob3cure newspaper item into a moving and powerful human atory ahould f a i l to 1. Reade, Charles, The Courae Of True Love. Other Tales  (ihe Autobiography Of A Thief), Hew York. P, F. C o l l i e r and Son, P. 4, 11. 4-12. 27. see that f a c t s , no matter how true or sensational, have no value i n f i c t i o n unless they seem probable; yet such i s the case. Time and again i n h i s novels Reade asks h i s readers to believe something which he asaure3 us i s true but which.has no appearance of truth because i t i s out of keeping with the nature of a character or i s unrelated to the rest.of the incidents in the story. An example of t h i s i s the atory of Rhoda tiale i n A Woman-Hater with which I s h a l l deal l a t e r . Another i a found i n Hard 6a ah where Hardy's father committed hia aon to an i n s t i t u t i o n for the inaane although up to t h i a time he had not been portrayed aa the kind of calloua and inconsiderate parent l i k e l y to do thia aort of thing. Obvioualy he did i t merely to enable Reade to exploit h i s findings on aayluma and the e f f e c t on the p r o b a b i l i t y of the story may ea3ily be imagined. In A Terrible Temptation Reade changes Rhoda Someraet from a kept mi3treea of rather low moral character into aomething resembling a combination of Florence Nightingale and a Salvation Army l a s s . Though auch a transformation i s not impoaaible Reade 'a>motives must be questioned for i t i a apparent early i n . the story that Reade had exhauated h i s material on the aubject of kept mistresses, and i n order to clear the way for new subject matter he dispoaed of Rhoda i n thia unconvincing manner. Reade's contempt for what he c a l l e d "the o i l y probab-i l i t i e s " of f i c t i o n l e d him far aatray for nowhere elae, 28, i n h i s "purpose" novels at least, did Reade aohieve that measure of f i c t i o n a l t ruth which r a i s e d the story of Josephs above sensationalism into the f i e l d of good, sound f i o t i o n . In t h i s oaae Reade succeeded because he al t e r e d h i s facts to 3uit h i s purpose. Hawes, Josephs, and even Mr. Eden remain i n character and do only the things that people of their sort might be expected to do. The events of the story, though sensational and even shocking, seem at the same time natural and the whole story proceeds i n a plausible manner to an inexorable conclusion. Aa a r e s u l t the reader i a profoundly affected and i8 thereby able to accept the story for what i t i a : a damning indictment of a wicked and vicoua 3y3tem. Fitzjamea Stephen, a lawyer, challenged Reade's facta and refuaed to admit Reade's r i g h t to tamper with them even though by ao doing Reade made hi a story more v i t a l and threw into sharper foous the e v i l s which he sought to denounce. Stephen did not appear to r e a l i z e that he and Reade were not only intereated i n d i f f e r e n t kinds of truth but were a c t u a l l y t a l k i n g about d i f f e r e n t people. He was e n t i t l e d to aocept or deny the truth of the fact3 regarding the boy i n j a i l but he waa forced to accept Reade's 3tate-ments regarding Josephs i n the novel juat aa i t i a necesa-ary to accept a3 true what F i e l d i n g aaid of Tom Jones of Dickens aaid of David Copperfield. The fact that Joaepha waa patterned a f t e r a r e a l boy waa only of aecondary im-portance; the important thing waa that Joaephs, and, of courae, the other characters aa well, ahould seem r e a l and 29.-that the experiences which affected t h e i r l i v e s should he thoae that people such aa they would encounter. Reade waa careful to make hia atory give an i l l u a i o n of r e a l i t y . and he did i t by a l t e r i n g f a c t a to make probable f i c t i o n . He waa quite r i g h t i n refusing to aet down s l a v i s h l y the bare fact3 aa they appeared i n the reports from which hia inapiration came. It i 3 quite aurprising, however, to.discover that from t h i s point i n h i s career u n t i l i t 3 end Reade, with very few exceptiona, made use of Fitzjamea Stephen's type of facta. One oan i n f e r only that Reade*8 emotiona were c a r r i e d away by the atory of Joaepha and t h i 8 inapired hia treatment df i t , or that he waa ahrewd enough to 3ee that aenaational facts themaeivea were enough to catch the public ear and make hia novels 3aleable though not aound f i c t i o n . What-ever the reaaon, factual truth became the corner-stone upon which he raiaed the atructure of hia f i c t i o n and he defended h i a u3e of f a c t u a l truth to the end of h i a career. "Ask your common aenae" he aaid i n the preface to A Simple- ton "why a man writea better f i c t i o n at forty than he can at twenty. I t i a aimply beoauae he haa gathered more facts from eaoh of these three sources, - experience, hearsay, p r i n t . " 1 So f i r m l y did he believe that " a l l f i c t i o n worth a button i a founded on faot" that he went to unlimited 1. Reade, Charles, A Simpleton. New York, P. F. C o l l i e r and Son, Preface, p. 3> H « 13-16. 2, Reade, Charles, op. c i t . , Preface, p. 3, 1. 8. 30. trouble to gather fact3 from blue books, newspapers, and reports u n t i l , at the end of hi3 l i f e he had amas3ed an amazing c o l l e c t i o n of c a r e f u l l y indexed c l i p p i n g s . This was his Bible and he referr e d to i t often, for he was often challenged aa to the authenticity of the f a c t s he uaed. T h i s i a hardly to be wondered at for he uaed the. moat outrageous factual truths at times and, indeed, sought • out the raw faota that were stranger than f i c t i o n and that challenged b e l i e f . He did not, however, make much attempt to make h i a f a c t a aeem probable within the l i m i t a of h i a story but i n s i 3 t e d inatead that they be accepted upon the plane of f i c t i o n although often they retarded the movement of h i a 3tory and de3troyed i t a i l l u a i o n of r e a l i t y . The reader, unable to accept Reade'3 f i c t i o n aa true, find8 i t d i f f i c u l t even to accept hia"facts, for their appearance i n an improbable atory terida to deatroy what-ever inherent value they possess. The asylum 'scenes i n Hard Ca3h,though doubtless true to fact, lose t h e i r effectiveness .because the reader i s unable to underatand why Hardy i s exposed to them..at a l l . We are aaked to be-l i e v e that Hardy'3 father waa j u s t i f i e d i n placing Hardy i n such a place but thia i s d i f f i c u l t , i f not impossible to do, for there i a nothing i n the nature of the older man to suggest that he would be oapable of auch an unnatural act. It beoomea obvious, then, that Reade aimply wi3hed to get the young man into hi3 chamber of horrora i n order to deacrlbe oonditiona i n auch plaoea and the reader i s 31. j u s t i f i e d i n being skeptical of the abaolute accuracy of his description. At any rate, Hardy'3 experiences do not impress the reader and arouse his sympathy as they might have done had they seemed an inevitable consequence of some-thing that had gone before. In the case of Josephs the reader i3 able not only to admit that Reade's f a c t s about prisons are true, but alao that the inoidenta he relates might e a 3 i l y have happened to the boy. The value of Reade 'a material i n t h i s oa3e l i e s , not i n i t 3 3ensat;ional nature alone, but i n i t a ef f e c t upon a character that aeems r e a l and l i f e - l i k e and because the situations seem probable with-i n the l i m i t s of the atory. In the caae of Hardy, however, there i a a c o n f l i c t between two kinds of reader's b e l i e f . The reader rea d i l y admita that conditiona such a3 Reade dea-cribed might well p r e v a i l i n i n a t i t u t i o n a of the 3ort i n which Hardy found himaelf. The reader cannot underatand why Hardy wa3 placed i n the aaylum to begin with nor can he aee what bearing hia experiences have upon the plo t of the main atory. The i l l u a i o n of r e a l i t y i a aaqrifioed and the atory auffers aa a reault ao that the entire aaylum section is. revealed f o r what i t i s ; an interpolated 8ensationalism quite unnecesaary to the novel and quite out of place i n i t . The reader f e e l s that he i a being asked to consider a con-trived, rather than an inevitable s i t u a t i o n and he i a not moved much by Hardy*a t r i b u l a t i o n f o r he f e e l s that somehow or other Hardy w i l l emerge unscathed from h i s ordeal. This, too, i a i n contrast to the atory of Joaepha for there the 32. reader sees the effect of cruel hardship upon a sensitive and timid l a d and h i s suicide at the end of the story i s the natural and inevitable r e s u l t . As I have suggested e a r l i e r i n t h i a atudy, Reade never again achieved that harmonious blending of f a c t u a l with f i c t i o n a l truth which alone might have made the "dry bones l i v e . " S i r Charlea Bassett, i n A T e r r i b l e Temptation, i s l i t e r a l l y dragged into a madhouae to keep Reade'a plot of f i c t i o n b o i l i n g and the inoidenta which make up the l a s t h a l f of Put Youraeif In Hia Place aeem forced and t r i v i a l to the reader who r e a l i z e s that they would never have happen-ed i f L i t t l e had not gone to America without f i r s t n o t i f y i n g hi3 family of h i a departure. A Woman-Hater i a perhaps the best example of Reade'a contempt f o r what he c a l l e d the " o i l y p r o b a b i l i t i e s " of f i c t i o n f o r he frankly abandoned any attempt to blend h i a own atory and h i a aensational mater-i a l into probable f i o t i o n . Ihe o r i g i n a l plot of t h i a novel of manners was well conceived and nicely balanced. The primary intereat cen-tred around aix characters: Harrington Vizard and h i s s i s t e r Zoe, Ina Kloaking and her husband Ned Severne, Lord Uxmoor and Fanny Dover. Theae charaotera were linked i n the follow-ing manner: Harrington Vizard, the misogynist, though pursued by Fanny Dover, waa captured by the oharms of Ina Kloaking. She, however, wa3 the wife of Severne whoae intereat i n Zoe made him try to t r i c k her into what would have been a d i a -aatroua and i l l e g a l marriage. Lord Uxmoor, who wa3 alao i n -33. tereated i n Zoe, rounded out the cast of the atory which Reade thought would reveal l i f e among the upper claaaea of hi3 day. This plot ought to have a a t i a f i e d Reade becauae i t waa not only complete and balanced, but broad enough to supply him with material f o r a good novel. It i s a matter of record, however, that onoe again he found d i f f i c u l t y with pure invention and i n order to bolster up intereat i n h i a 3tory he made use of a report which came i n t o h i a hands of the i n j u a t i c e Buffered by women medioal atudenta at the hand3 of the medical profesaion. Although h i s rea3on for using thia material may be exouaed, h i a method mu3t be con-demned; f o r he arre3ted h i s o r i g i n a l story and turned to that of Rhoda Gale. He made no e f f o r t whatever to integrate her atory with h i a own and excuaed himaelf by aaying that her atory waa n a true atory the aimplicity of which I ahall not try to apoil with any vulgar a r t a of f i c t i o n . " ^ He expected h i a readera, however, to aocept the f a c t a about women doctora on the l e v e l of f i c t i o n but although he argues that the atory of Rhoda waa "not a mere exoreacence of my atory but ahe was rooted to i t even before the f i r s t soene of i t " ^  that fact i a by no means apparent to the reader nor i a i t borne out by r e a l i t y , for as I ahall ahow l a t e r h i a 1. Reade, Charles, A Woman-Hater. Blew York, P.F. C o l l i e r and son, p . 1S3, H . 29-30. . _ 2. Reade, op. c i t . , p . 193, 11. 27-28. 3^. correspondence with Blackwood reveals that Reade's decision to use the material wa3 made after the novel had been p a r t l y written. Although Reade was not always as a r t l e s s i n h i s use of sensational padding as he was i n A Woman-Rater i t was, never-theless, an i n t e g r a l part of hia f i o t i v e creed to combine proved faot with f i c t i o n . I have t r i e d to ahow that good f i o t i o n should be a sound atudy of l i f e embodied i n a prob-able atory which deala with charactera that aeem r e a l and l i f e l i k e . The account of Jo3epha wa3 auch a story'''and i t gains i n power, not from the facta about priaona whioh i t reveals, but from the f a c t that Jo3epha wa3 a r e a l and l i f e -l i k e oharaoter whose t r i a i a and persecutions arouse'in•the reader f e e l i n g a of anger and shame. In preaenting the ' atory of what happened to the boy, Reade, for a time, aet f a c t to one aide and lnatead of making an appeal to our reaaon cho3e in3tead to appeal to our imagination and emotiona He re-arranged, altered, and modified d e t a i l s i n the story i n order to give i t dramatic e f f e c t , and i n ao doing exer-ciaed hia p r i v i l e g e aa a novelist to do anything he l i k e d with"hia material provided he succeeded i n turning i t into a probable atory. Unfortunately Reade doea not aeem to have thoroughly underatood the reaaons f o r the popularity of h i s novel for, though he was at once aware that the timelineaa of hia topic accounted in. aome measure for the novel's auccea3, he did not r e a l i z e that t h i s success'was"baaed' even more upon hia method of t e l l i n g h i a 3tory than upon the aub-35. j e c t matter i t 3 e l f . As a re s u l t he turned h i s attention to searching out and using the raw f a c t a which he gleaned from the pre33 of h i a day, but never again i n any of h i s "purpose" novela d i d he attempt to integrate these s t a r t l i n g incidents with h i s own created material i n auch a way aa to produce a probable story or aound f i c t i o n . On the contrary, he apent the re3t of hia l i f e aneering at the " o i l y p r o b a b i l i t i e a of f i c t i o n " and thoae who employed them, ateadfastly maintain-ing that " f e r t i l e s i t u a t i o n s are the true cream of f i c t i o n , " * and f e r t i l e aituationa aa Reade underatood them meant melo-dramatic incidenta and 3enaational f a c t s and very l i t t l e e l s e. By turning his back on character development and on a atudy of the impact of circumatanoes upon l i f e l i k e people Reade waa forced to provide a great deal of 3ensational i n -cident i n order to f i l l h i a novels. At f i r a t , i n Hard Gash aa well aa i n It Ia Never Too Late 'fo Mend, he waa able to deal with one major ao c i a l abuae i n each work, i n It Ia  Never Too Late To Mend i t waa priaon conditions; i n Hard  Cash, inaane asylums. The effect of di3jointedness, there-fore, i a le3a apparent i n these novela than i t i a i n l a t e r works. In A Terrible Temptation, however, h i s o r i g i n a l theme of kept mistresses did not sustain h i s work so he returned to the theme of private lunatio aaylums. In Put Youraelf In His 1. P h i l l i p a , Walter C., Dlokena, Reade. And C o l l i n s Sensation  Novelista. New York, Columbia University Pre38, 1919, p. 136, 11. 21-22. 36. Place, which i s the one novel in which he deliberately set cut to attaok a s o c i a l abuse, the story of L i t t l e ' s struggle with the trades ia not enough and a number of other topica are introduced some of which have no bearing whatever on the atruggle with the tradea. Reade waa foroed to 8tart more harea than ever i n A Simpleton and the reault i a that i t i s more d i s j o i n t e d than any work that came from h i a pen. Per-hap3 he waa 3indere i n arguing that " f e r t i l e aituationa are the true cream of f i c t i o n " but analy3ia shows that i n r e a l i t y he came 3 u a p i c i o u 8 l y cloae to making a virtue of a necesaity and I am convinced that he did no more than t h i s . The proof l i e a , I think, i n A Woman-Hater where he frankly abandoned any attempt to work over hia material i n order to make aome-thing of h i s own out of i t , but b l u n t l y t o l d Blackwood, h i s publiaher, of hi3 motives i n using the material on women doctora, and rather i r r i t a b l y a nticipated any queations that might a r i s e i n the minds of hia reader8 regarding t h i a sec-t i o n by t e l l i n g them that Rhoda waa "not a mere excrescence" of h i s atory but that "she waa rooted to i t even before the f i r a t acene of i t , " though no evidence whatever can be found to aupport the atatement. It i a , of cour8e, not enough to aay that the uae of sen-sational fact8 alone acoounted for the popularity of h i s f i c t i o n though i t waa i n large meaaure reaponaible for i t . Reade waa a good raconteur and i n hi3 hand 3 a story l o s t nothing i n the t e l l i n g . He was well-grounded i n the melo-dramatic technique of the theatre of h i s time and he c a r r i e d 37-h i s s k i l l over into h i s f i c t i o n . He uses dialogue i n h i s novels as a dramatist does in hia plays to advance hia atory and sustain interest. Hia atoriea seldom drag and at times they race on almoat at breakneck speed, a qual i t y which was i n pleaaant contra3t to much of the f i c t i o n of the time. 8ometime3 h i s prose i s auatained and powerful, compelling intereat, and c e r t a i n l y he wa8 g i f t e d in uaing the correct exprea3ion or i l l u a t r a t i o n to make p l a i n hia meaning. The reaaona then, for hia popularity were not incon-aiderable. He chose topics which interested h i s contempor- v a r i e s and he presented them i n an intere3ting, i f melodram-a t i c , way. He 3et out to catch the. public ear and he aucceed-ed. Had hia only aim been that of becoming popular he un-doubtedly would have achieved unqualified aucceaa, but, aa we saw at the beginning of t h i s essay, he f e l t that not only passing popularity but l a s t i n g fame waa due him. He was quite wrong in th i a aaaumption and i f he had heeded the warnings of contemporary c r i t i c 8 he would have diacovered why; for their c r i t i c i s m s of h i s f i c t i o n p a r a l l e l those of modern judges, and both agree that when Reade deliberately sought popularity by writing melodrama he s a c r i f i c e d h i s chance f o r laa t i n g fame a3 a noveliat, a chance which anyone who has read Ihe C l o i s t e r And The Hearth w i l l agree waa exoellent. 3a. PART r r THET POPULARITY OF' READE13"'FICTION IN HIS OWN DAY. It may be well at t h i s point i n owe study.of Reade to aet down in aome d e t a i l the fact3 whioh prove the popu-l a r i t y of h i a writings i n h i s own day. It i s , I think, quite true to say that no writer except Dickeria waa more popular than Reade. From I856. u n t i l h i 8 death i n 1S2& h i s name waa well known and hia worka were widely read, ao much ao i n f a c t that he diedconvinced that he would be long remembered i n Engliah l e t t e r s . The records of h i s dealings with hia varioua publiahera are uaeful i n forming 3ome eatimate of hia popularity and they reveal aome very intereating facta, not only about hia work but about the man him3elf. Hia f i r s t novel, Peg Woffina-ton. waa publiahed on the 17th of December, I852. Both t h i a novel and Ghriatie  Johnatone. whioh followed i t i n June of the next year, were f a i r l y well received by c r i t i o a and the general publio but neither waa an outatanding succesa, and i t i s aafe to aay that had Reade written nothing elae he would aoon have been forgotten. It Is Never Too Late To Mend.however, pub-liahed i n IS56, raised him at once from obacurity to fame. Within two months of i t a appearance i t became evident that It Ia Never Too Late To Mend waa a 3ucce8a. In a l e t t e r to h i a Boaton publiaher, F i e l d s , Reade 3 t a t e d that a cut had been made into a aecond e d i t i o n as early as 39. October 4th, or two months afte r i t s publication, and there i s reason to believe that i t 3 popularity i n America was greater than i n England. The story of Reade's dealings with Bentley, h i s English publisher, i s worth noting for i t helps us to estimate the extent of Reade's new-found popu-l a r i t y . Bentley, who had published Peg Woffiiigton and C h r i s t i e Johnstone, had done so on the basis of what Reade c a l l e d "the h a l f - p r o f i t swindle" which may best be explained by reference to the actual terms of t h e i r agreement. These were the terms: " I t i s agreed that the said Richard Bentley 3hall publish at h i s own expense and r i s k a work at present e n t i t l e d Peg Woffjngton, and a f t e r deducting from the produce' of the sales thereof the charges of p r i n t -ing, .paper, advertisements, embel- . 'lishments i f any, and other incident-a l ..expenses, including the allow-, ance of 10 per cent on the gros.3 . amount of the sale f o r commission and r i s k of bad debt3, the p r o f i t s remaining of every e d i t i o n that s h a l l be printed of the work are to be divided into two equal parts, one moiety to be pa-id to the said Charles Reade and the other moiety to be paid 1 to the. said Richard Bentley ...." Bentley did not purchase the copyright of either Peg Woffjngton or C h r i s t i e Johnstone, which reverted to Reade as soon as the sales of the novels repaid the publisher's outlay. By IS56 three editions of C h r i s t i e Johnstone had 1. Elwin, op. c i t . , p . S4, 11. 30-37, p . &5, 11. 1-10. been sold and there was no doubt that Reade was the r i g h t -f u l owner of the copyright. Bentley, a shrewd man of b u s i -ness, was impressed by the increasing 3ales of I t Is Never  Too Late To Mend and saw i n Reade "an author-more productive of p r o f i t than any since he had l o s t Dickens and Harrison Ainsworth, and he wa3 eager to issue any book with Reade's name on the t i t l e page." * He approached Reade for per-mission to issue a cheap edition of C h r i s t i e Johnstone but Reade refused for he preferred " a smaller publio at h a l f - a -guinea" to "a wider c i r c l e of readers at three-and-aix-pence." In spite of t h i s r e f u s a l Bentley issued the cheap edi t i o n on February 17th* 1657 a n c i k i a estimate of Reade's popularity waa vindicated for the e d i t i o n sold out within a month. Reade, however, wa3 extremely indignant at Bent-ley's high-handed oonduot and took l e g a l action against him. Reade loat h i a caae and although he aaid i n a l e t t e r to Ticknor and Fielda, "were he (Bentley) the only publiaher i n the B r i t i a h Ialea, he ahould never publiah another work for me, exoept by fraud or violence" ^ i t appears that Reade waa forced to allow him to publiah h i a next work, e n t i t l e d The Courae Of True Love Never Did Run Smooth for Reade pointa out i n the Eighth Commandment that Bentley had pur-1. Elwin, op. c i t . , p. 126, 11. 14-17. 2. Ibid., 11. 27-2S. 3. Ibid., p. 127, 11. 23-25. 41. ohaaed the copyright of two of the three stories that made up thi3 work and wby the l i g h t of It Is Never Too Late To Mend ... sold twenty-five thousand copies i n a few months.1' Reade spurned Bentley'a offer of £760 for h i s next ' novel, White Lies and, indeed, obtained a judgment at law which forbade the publisher to issue any e d i t i o n of Beg Woffjngton or C h r i s t i e Johnstone a f t e r October £th, I S 5 7 . The effect of t h i s wa3 detrimental to both p a r t i e s for not only was Bentley kept from sharing Reade'3 l a t e r successes, but Reade discovered that other publishers were unwilling to deal with an author so independent and unmanageable; and he was forced to publish hi3 next f i v e novels, including The C l o i s t e r And The Hearth, on a commission basis. White Lies wa3 published in 1S57 hy Trubner a f t e r i t had run as a s e r i a l i n the f l o u r i s h i n g London Journal, t h i s work was admittedly a "pot-boiler" for Reade said of i t : " I sat down to write a pack of f i b s . . . One or two honest fellows came about me, animated with a. f r i e n d l y warmth, to b i d for the coming f i b s . I bled 2 them," It i s l i t t l e wonder, therefore, that as a s e r i a l i t was not a success and i n the opinion of R. L. Stevenson "nearly 3 wrecked that valuable property, the London Journal," but i t i s proof of the popularity of h i s name that, i n spite of t h i s , Bradbury and Evans who had set up their magazine 1. Elwin, op. c i t . , p. 12S, 11. S-9. 2. Ibid., p. 130, 11. 17-20. 3. Ibid., p.-129, 11. 25-26. 4 2 . . Once A Week in opposition to bicken'a A l l The Year Round chose Reade a3 the "next most celebrated 'sensation novel-i s t ' " ^ • to supply a story which would be the main feature of the new- venture. This work, e n t i t l e d A Oood Fight. appeared not only i n Onoe A Week i n England but i n Harper'a  Weekly i n America but there i s no evidence to suggest that there was anything extraordinary about i t s reception. In fa c t Reade was a l i t t l e d i s s a t i s f i e d with Harper's t r e a t -ment of him for he complained: " I don't f e e l quite s a t i s f i e d . A Grood Fight i s a maaterpieoe. A Tale of Two C i t i e s i a not a ma3terpiece. Yet Me33ra. Harper gave Five Thousand Dollars (£1000) for i t , and to me one-twentieth of that sum. Now t h i s might be just in England; but hardly j u s t . i n Amerioa, where you know very well, I rank at least three timea higher 2 than I do i n thia country." He waa d i e a a t i s f i e d , too, with hi3 Engliah publisher"but fo r a d i f f e r e n t reaaon. It appears that Lucas, the editor of Onoe A Week i n s i s t e d upon the r i g h t of ed i t i n g Reade'a atory and t h i a created auch bad f e e l i n g that Reade brought the atory to a summary conclusion. Although Reade aaid that the atory"had done great things f o r them" ^ he admitted that the publiahera did not think so and blamed the f a c t that 1. Elwin, op. o i t . , p . 146, 1, 13. 2. Ibid., p. 147, 11. 17-23. 3. Ibid., p. 14S, 1. 23. *3. the story "suffered i n s e r i a l form" * upon "the marvelous 2 incapacity" with which the numbers had been concluded. A Good Fight was the nucleous of The C l o i s t e r And The Hearth and t h i s work, which was, of course, h i s masterpiece, appear-ed two years l a t e r i n October 1861 and was favourably r e-ceived by c r i t i c s and public a l i k e , i t was not as well r e -ceived, however, as It Is Never Too Late To Mend had been and i n view of the labour and time which he had expended upon i t Reade w a 3 disappointed. He resolved never again to go out of h i s century for subject matter and The C l o i s t e r  And The Hearth marks a turning point i n Reade's career for from then on, with the single exception of G r i f f i t h Gaunt, he devoted h i s energies to writing on contemporary themes and h i s next novel, Hard Cash, though i n f e r i o r i n every way to h i s masterpiece, made a smashing h i t with the public. Hard Cash appeared a3 a s e r i a l i n A l l The Year Round. the magazine of which Dickens was the editor. Dickens went to considerable trouble to engage Reade as a contributor . .. 3 for he considered him "the b e 3 t man to be got." More-over he allowed Reade to name his own price and paid £800 for the story. Unfortunately for Dickens the atory wa3 a disappointment as a a e r i a l for, aa Reade himself reveals, 1. Elwin, op. c i t . , p. 148, 1. 31. 2. Ibid., p. 148, 11. 31-32. 3. Ibid., p. 162, 1. 31. " 44.. the c i r c u l a t i o n of the magazine dropped some 3000 copies. The atory waa a 3ucceaa when puhliahed in book form and Reade did not regret having turned down an o f f e r from an-other publisher, Smith, of £2000 for the copyright plus an additional £1000 i f the story were published i n the C o r n h i l l Magazine. It i s i n t e r e s t i n g to note that' Reade considered'the £800 that he got from Dickens, plus the £300 from Harper 1 a Weekly a better o f f e r than Smith'a, for i t meana that he waa aure that hia book salea would exceed the difference of £900 between Smith'a offer of £2000 and the £1100 which he was guaranteed by Dickena and Harpers. Actually he wa3 offered £2250 for the work by Sampson Low and the f a c t that he d i d not a v a i l him3elf of t h i a but, i n -stead, allowed Low to publish the book on commission indioatea that he was more sure i n t h i s way of r e a l i z i n g the £5000 which he thought Hard Cash ought to bring. In h i s l e t t e r to Low on s e t t l i n g terms he expressed not only h i s c o n f i -dence i n the success of h i s work but alao the reaaons for thia confidence. He aaid: B I truat, my dear air,, you w i l l allow that I have now made an e f f o r t to meet you, I w i l l only add that the ordinary novel, which deals, however ably, with shadows only, i 3 one kind of property, a story that cuts deep into the r e a l i t i e s of the day, and has a l -ready set hundreds disouaaing i t . aa h i s t o r y and law, i a a d i f f e r e n t thing; i t finds buyers as well as readers, and that amongst a c l a s s 1 that does not buy novels as a r u l e . " 1. Elwin, op. c i t . , p. I76, 11. 13-20. 45. Reade's f a i t h i n h i s work was f u l l y j u s t i f i e d for Elwin points out that "the publications of The C l o i s t e r And The  Hearth and Hard Cash assured their author not only of a place among l i v i n g authors second only to Dicken3, but also of an appreciable income. Both books were substantial „ 1 successes...." The publication of G r i f f i t h Gaunt brought Reade to the peak of h i s popularity, 'This work appeared f i r s t as a a e r i a l i n The Argoay i n England and The A t l a n t i c Monthly 2 i n America. Reade l a t e r claimed that the atory "floated" . -3 the former magazine and was "eagerly read" i n the l a t t e r and there i a every reaaon to believe him. It waa publish-ed i n book form i n England by Chapman and H a l l and i n Amer-i c a by Tieknor and F i e l d s and it.a appearance aroused a atorm of debate. Reade waa accuaed of immorality by c r i t i o a i n England, America, and Canada and both the accusations and Reade'a 3 p i r i t e d defenae of h i a work reoeived wide p u b l i c i t y . Indeed, Reade sued the London Journal, threaten-ed to aue The Globe and r e p l i e d to the charges made by The  Round Table i n an a r t i c l e e n t i t l e d The Prurient Prude whioh may be found in Readiana. He waa .aupported by Edwin Arnold and Wilkie C o l l i n a , and although Dickens refuaed to appear before the court in Reade'3 defen3e becauae he d i d not wiah to be implicated i n the caae, he praiaed the work with the 1. Elwin, op. c i t . , p. 17S, 11. 5-10. ~ " '-*•->••• 2. Ibid., p. 190, 1. 16. 3. Ibid., p. 190, 1. 16. 46. exception of certain situations which he considered "coarse and disagreeable." ^ Reade won h i 3 case and received damage of six cents. His c r i t i c s had done him a great service, of p course, for "notoriety inspired galloping sales" both i n England and America and i t is, l i k e l y that*'ihe Memoir was not far o f f the mark i n saying that G r i f f i t h Gaunt was "the ... •  . 3 culminating point of Charles Reade's l i t e r a r y career." Foul Play. Reade's next novel appeared i n s e r i a l form in Qnce A Week on January 4th, 1S6S and was published i n book form at the end of May by Bradbury and. Evans who paid £2000 for the lim i t e d copyright of the work. This novel was no sooner written than Reade signed a. contract with George Smith on very favourable terms indeed. Reade agreed; " to f u r n i s h a novel the size of Foul Play to appear i n 13 numbers C o r n h i l l beginning January 1,186°/. Smith to pay for t h i s bare r i g h t £2000 with a right of purchasing the copyright f o r £2000 more four months before completion. F a i l -ing such purchase copyright i s mine and I can publish i n 3 vols. 2S days before completion i n Corn-h i l l . I have the exclusive r i g h t of sending early sheets to America 4 and then publish a f t e r s e r i a l , " Actually the novel d i d not appear i n s e r i a l form u n t i l 1;' Elwin, op. c i t . , p. 189, 1. 27. 2. Ibid., p. 190, 1. 17. 3. Ibid., p. 190, 1. 23. 4. Ibid., p. 201, 11. 19-26, p. 202, 1. 1. 47. Maroh and i t ran to seventeen instead of thirteen i n s t a l l -ments.. I t s success was "unqualified", ^ Smith exercised h i s option of purohasing the copyright and issued the novel, Put Yourself In His Place, i n three volumes i n June, 1870. It must have been g r a t i f y i n g to Reade, a f t e r h i s e a r l i e r d i f f i c u l t i e s with publishers, to f i n d himself eagerly sought a f t e r by no le s s than f i v e reputable concerns. He was approached by the Rev. T. Teignmouth-Shore, editor of The  Quiver and Oasaell's Family Magazine, who wanted Reade to write a s e r i a l story, ti. P. Putnam, an American, also approached him in the hope of weaning him away from Harper Brothers who were just as anxious to r e t a i n h i s services as Putnam was to secure them. Frederick Chapman, who had issued G r i f f i t h Gaunt, was eager to win him back from George Smith who maintained a close connection with Reade i n the hope of holding him to terms f o r h i s next book. This was A T e r r i b l e Temptation which appeared f i r s t i n s e r i a l form i n Cassell'a Family Magazine i n England and Harper'a  Monthly i n America and arouaed auch a atorm of comment and c r i t i o i a m that the publiahera who had been ao. eager to aecure the righta f o r the book became equally determined to have nothing to do with i t . Smith, indeed, aaid he waa " a f r a i d 1. Elwin, op. c i t . , p. .205, 1. 19. to publish i t " 1 and Chapman's laok of enthusiasm provoked the following comment by Reade: " Yesterday I treated with Mr. Fred-erick Chapman for A T e r r i b l e Tempta- t i o n . He gives me £600 f o r a 3 vol.. edition of 1 5 0 0 copies. Should.this be exhausted, fresh arrangements to be made. Thi3 i s a p i t i a b l e decline on former sales. He gave me £ 1 5 0 0 f o r l i m i t e d copyright of G r i f f i t h  uaunt.. Bradbury and Evans gave me £ 2 0 0 0 f o r d i t t o of Foul Play. The s e r i a l i n i t s f i r s t form w i l l soon be the only considerable market open 2 to me.11 Reade's disoouragement was premature, for the book enjoyed an amazing success, p a r t i c u l a r l y i n Amerioa, In a l e t t e r to The Times e n t i t l e d Fact3 must be Faced. Reade revealed 3ome figures regarding the book's sale. He said: " ...my English c i r c u l a t i o n i s l a r g -er than that .of The Time3; and in the United States three publishers have already sold three hundred and . seventy thousand copies of t h i s - ; - -: « novel-which, I take i t , i s about t h i r t y times the c i r c u l a t i o n of The Times i n the United States, and nearly six times i t s English c i r c u - 3 l a t i o n . " . ^ ' "_ I t w i l l be seen from these figures that the c i r c u l a t i o n of A Terrible temptation c l o s e l y approached, i f i t d i d not 1 . Elwin, op. c i t . , p. 220, 1. 2. 2. Ibid., p. 220, 1 1 . 1 0 - 1 7 . 3. Reade, Charles, Readiana. London, Ghatto and Windus, IS90, p. 3 2 6 , 1 1 . 10-15. •' « -49. exceed, half a m i l l i o n copies which proves that Reade en-joyed a popularity which might well be the envy of modern writers. Such was the magic of his name that even les3 pretentious works than A Terrible Temptation were eagerly bought and read. Ie have Reade's own figures on the sale of The Wandering Heir i n proof of t h i s . In an Appendix to t h i s novel Reade t e l l s us: " The Wandering Heir was f i r s t published and registered as a drama ISth December, I872, to hinder dramatic pirates from stealing the subject i n the theatres. A few days l a t e r i t appeared, as a..story, occupying the whole Christmas number of the Graphic. The sale i n Europe was two hundred thou-sand copies, - the price one s h i l l i n g . In the United States Messrs.Harper & Go. sold a hundred and fifty.thousand copies in their weekly, and eighty thousand i n book form. Messrs. Rose and Hunter (Toronto), ten thousand i n journal, and f i v e thousand i n book. The p i r a t e s i n America and the Colonies sold about ninety thousand more, as I 1 am informed." Although Reade's popularity diminished noticeably to-wards the end of his career, i t did not e n t i r e l y desert him. It i s interesting to note, for example, that A Woman-Hat er. published anonymously i n England and America, was quickly recognized aa having come from h i s pen. The cau-tious Blackwood, for whom Reade was very eager to write, had in3i3ted upon publishing A Woman-Hater anonymously be-1. Reade, Charles, Hard Cash (vol. 2) - The Wandering Heir. New York, P.P., C o l l i e r and Son, p. 184, 11. 1-14. 50. cause he did not want the "odour" of Reade's name to "offend the sensitive n o s t r i l s of the readers of the Magazine," and Harper'a In America agreed to co-operate, although much against t h e i r w i l l . Within a week Reade*s i d e n t i t y was discovered, for Mrs. 01iphant wrote to Blackwood con-gratulating him upon h i s new author, and S, S. Conant, editor of Harper's Weekly wrote to Reade: " I enclose a notice of A Woman-Hat er. which shows that you have already been discovered, although your publishers and editors have scrupulously maintained your secret. Your most i n t e l l i g e n t readers here are women; i f I may judge from the ignominious defeat suffered by one of the Messrs. Harper and.my-se l f i n attempting to delude the . la d i e s of our respective families 2 on the subject.". The notice to which Gonant referred was probably taken from The Boston Daily Globe of the 20th June, which, reviewing the July number of Harper's Magazine said: " Garth, J u l i a n Hawthorne's story, i s c u r t a i l e d , apparently to.make room for a new story e n t i t l e d A Woman-Hater; t h i s i s announced as "published anonymously", but i f . i t be not the work of Mr. Charles Reade, i t i s written by somebody who..has 3 studied him c l o s e l y . " Not only professional reviewers detected Reade's hand i n 1. Elwin, op. c i t . , p. 295, 11. 5 - 6 . 2. Ibid., p. 304, 11. 27-31. 3. Ibid., p. 305, 11. 7-11. 51. A Woman-Hater but many of his readers did too. two Wash-ington l a d i e s wrote to Harper's monthly and.said: " To attempt to bury the author-ship of such a novel as A Woman- Hat er under such an incognito as that of perfect silence 1. Ah, the dear l i t t l e sentences, a l l f u l l of f e e l i n g I The heart that beats a l l through the works! A Woman- Hater. by Charles Reade! A dia-; mond among glass; a star behind . a oloud; think you they cannot be l discerned?" the appearance of Rhoda uale i n the atory convinced many more readera that Reade waa the author and aome even went ao far aa to write him congratulating him upon the atand which he had taken. Indeed, i n the face of the obvioua fact that Reade'a anonymity wa3 no diaguiae at a l l Harp-er 'a wrote encloaing a l e t t e r from the Woman's College of the New York Infirmary: " Don't you think i t about time, in view of the enclosed l e t t e r and, paragraphs, and of a good many similar paragrapha, that you r e -l i e v e U 3 of your injunction not'. v to betray the authorship of A 2 Woman-Hater?" Blackwood atubbornly'refuaed to releaae Reade from hia obligation and maintained the anonymous u n t i l the atory f i n i s h e d i t 3 a e r i a l run, but when he publiahed i t i n book form i n June, 1S77 Reade'a name appeared on the t i t l e page a3 i t did on that of the American e d i t i o n publiahed by 1. Elwin, op. c i t . , p. 305, .11. 9-24 2. Ibid., p. 312, 11. 2 5 - 2 9 , 52. Harper's, In A p r i l of the following year Harper's assured Reade that "there oan be no doubt whatever as to the success of the story i n t h i s country" * but i t i s apparent that Reade's popularity had declined. It was i n t h i s year that T i l l o t s o n approached him with^an o f f e r of £640 for a novel'to be syndicated under the system i n which 'l'illot3on was the pioneer. Elwin states that Reade was discouraged by the "depressing figures of the book-sale3 on his l a s t three 2 novels," and for t h i s and reasons of i l l - h e a l t h , d i d not produce A Perilous Secret u n t i l 1883. Although by t h i s time the sands of Reade's popular-i t y were f a s t running out i t cannot be denied, that at the height of h i s success h i s reputation was great. He made a fortune with h i s pen and what he. wrote was eagerly read and much discussed by c r i t i c s and the reading public a l i k e . Even h i s sharpest c r i t i c s admitted that i n popularity he stood i n the front rank of the n o v e l i s t s of hi3 generation and the writer who said "there i s not a c i r c u l a t i n g l i b r a r y i n any town whioh would venture to omit Charles Reade'3 l a s t novel" wa3 merely stating a f a c t . 1. Elwin, op. c i t . , p. 314-, 11. 2-3. 2. Ibid., p. 333, 1. 33. 3. The Century Magazine, Scribnera, v o l . 2, 1871, October, p. 668. 53. PART I l T CONTEMPORARY CRITICAL OPINION OF CHARLES READE'S FICTION. Throughout Reade'a l i t e r a r y career reputable c r i t i c s and reviewers were uneasy about h i 3 works. None denies h i a popularity, of courae, for that would have been f l y -ing i n the faoe of f a c t , yet many conaiatently aought to ahow Reade that he waa following the wrong courae i n h i s f i c t i o n . Naturally d i f f e r e n t c r i t i c s expreaaed d i f f e r e n t views. Some attacked him aavagely while othera praiaed him inordinately and Reade perhapa despaired of finding much inatruction from c r i t i c s who contradicted one another. He auggeated t h i 3 himaelf once i n a l e t t e r to Mrs. Seymour for he aaid: " . . . i f I liatened to my c r i t i c s , there i s nothing somebody or other would not cut out, and i f I liatened again, there i a nothing I ahould not reatore." ^ Perhapa i t waa h i a own conceit that l e d him to diaregard the opiniona of othera but whatever the reaaon we know for a fact that he followed the plan whioh he set down for him-aelf throughout hia entire oareer and that he seldom depart-ed from i t deapite the warning8 and advice of h i 3 content porariea. The f i r s t c r i t i c to raise hia voice agai n 3 t Reade was a writer i n Blackwood'a Magazine. This reviewer admitted 1. Elwin, op, c i t . , p. 114, 11. 31-34. 5*. the popular succe33 of I t I3 Never Too Late To Mend hut he „ 1 oonaidered i t a "vulgar" success and f e l t , too, that Mr. Reade's partisans would "be w i l l i n g so far as h i s true fame i s concerned to l e t t h i s popular work s l i p out of .. 2 - - •  being." He f e l t that the book was f u l l of Reade's "char-. x . . .. a c t e r i s t i c f a u l t 3 and few of h i s excellences." ^ He gave as an example of the l a t t e r the struggle in j a i l which was, i n h i s opinion, " f u l l of dramatic power and wonderful i n -terest," ^ but he regarded as examples of Reade 1s character-i s t i c f a u l t s the improbability of p l o t and incident of the story. He also c r i t i c i s e d the t h e a t r i c a l ending of the book and i t i 3 d e a r that he did not consider I t I3 Never  Too Late To Mend good f i c t i o n , asserting that i t owed i t s success to i t s sensational and melodramatic, nature and not to i t s value as a sound study of l i f e . It i s i n t e r e s t i n g to note that Reade's next important novel, The (Jioiater And The Hearth, contained fewer of h i s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c f a u l t s than any other of h i s works. This novel has unity and coherence to a degree not often found i n h i s f i c t i o n and h i s treatment of character shows what he could do i n this f i e l d when i t 3 u i t e d his purpose to t r y . 1. Blackwood'3 Magazine, v o l . 106, p. 510* 2. Loo. c i t . 3 . Loc. c i t . 4. Loc. c i t . 55. It i s true, of courae, that there i a considerable melodrama in the atory and that Reade waa unable to reaiat the temp-tation, from time to time, to put i n aenaational and a r t i -f i c i a l e f f e c t a . But theae f a u l t a pale into i n s i g n i f i c a n c e i n the face of the moving atory of Margaret and (ierard and i t i a the inaight into l i f e and the knowledge of human nature that Reade reveals which make h i s novel great. This fact waa recognized at once by hia contemporariea, and thei r opinions may well be summed up i n tho3e of a reviewer who wrote in the A t l a n t i c monthly i n February 1862: " The C l o i a t e r And The Hearth, i n spite of i t s f a u l t s , i a a r e a l l y great book. It i a a contribution to history aa well aa romance. No other.volume could ao well deacribe European l i f e i n the tifteenth ,century. The author ha3 studied the annals etc. of that period and haa coupled i t with h i a knowledge of powers and pas3ions of all..ages. The re s u l t i a a romance of hiatory containing much essential truth, for Reade had the heart to feel.and the imagination to conceive the r e a i i t i e a of the time. Characterization i a o r i g i n a l , various, powerful. Scene3 Of jpassi.on. show hold upon emotional elements.of character and the uae of language keeps pace. In vigour and vividneaa of des-.. c r i p t i o n and narration t h i a novel excels any of hia others... Thia novel i a ciaa§-ed among the beat of the last'twenty . 1 years." It i a very doubtful whether Reade's technique i n The Cloiater  And The Hearth waa the re3ult of any wish on h i s part to 1. Atlantic Monthly, v o l . 9, Feb. 1S62, p. 270. 56. please h i s discerning c r i t i c s . On the basis of the evidence at our disposal we are more j u s t i f i e d i n assuming that he was bogged down i n h i 3 subjeot; and h i s lack of opportunity for exploiting any subjeot of contemporary i n t e r e s t l e f t him free to develop h i s novel as he did. It i s certain, however, that he was disappointed with the book's reception by the general public which, to use h i s own expression, preferred "a l i v e ass to a dead l i o n " ^ and he made up h i s mind to devote h i s energies i n the future to topics of h i s own day. Clearly, then, he valued public approval above c r i t i o a l approval and i t i s no wonder that i n gaining the former he l o s t the l a t t e r . In spite of the f a c t that Dickens professed to l i k e Hard.Cash which was Reade's next novel it-appears that he considered Reade 1a attack upon private lunatic asylums b i t t e r and uncalled f o r . He knew that the f a c t s Reade used would provoke controversy and i n order to disassociate him-s e l f and h i 3 magazine from i t he appended the following note to the l a s t installment of the story: " The statements and opinions of th i s journal generally are, .of course, to be received as the statements and opinions of i t s conductor. But t h i s i s not sp i n the oase.of a work of f i c t i o n f i r s t published i n these pages as a ser-i a l story, with the name of an eminent writer attached to i t . When one of my l i t e r a r y brothers 1. P h i l l i p s , W.C., Dickens, Reade And C o l l i n s . Sensation  Novelists, New York, uolumbia University Pre33, 191°/, p. 127, 11. 1-2. 57. does me the honour to undertake suoh a task, I hold that he executes i t on h i s ovvn personal responsi-b i l i t y , and for the suatainment of h i s own reputation; and I do not consider -myself at l i b e r t y to exer-cis e that:;control over h i s text which 1 I claim aa to other contributors." Other c r i t i c a objected to Reade 1a u3e of fact3 and f e l t that t h e i r e f f e c t upon h i a novel was bad. The Athenaeum aaid of the novel: " Hard Cash containa gold that ringa out clear muaic aa i t f a l l s on the., table, 3 i l v e r of impure coinage, and d i r t y copper. It i s a love story, an attack upon private mad-houses, and a s a t i r e on the medical profession. The love story i s pure gold; the base s i l v e r must be.look-ed for i n the chapters on asylums; . the s a t i r e on the medioal f a c u l t y 2 i a copper." This c r i t i c i s m , together with that of Dickens, indicates, that some of Reade*s contemporaries at any rate, f e l t that Hard Caah lacked the uniform excellence of good f i c t i o n . In their opinion Reade did not aucceed i n moulding hia aub-ject matter into a creditable atory, which, aa an example of f i c t i o n a l truth waa above c r i t i c i s m ; but instead so combined f a c t u a l with f i c t i o n a l truth that controversy about the former was i n e v i t a b l e . Reade*s treatment of G r i f f i t h Gaunt was severely c r i t i c i a e d too, although t h i a time i t was not h i s use of facts that was c a l l e d i n question but hia melodramatic technique. A writer i n the A t l a n t i c Monthly objected to 1. Elwin, op. c i t . , p. 174, 11. 20-30. 2. The Athenaeum - Dec. 26, 1863, P« 875. 58. the a r t i f i o i a l i t y of the denouement and gave a3 hi3 opin-ion that the atory to the point of Catherine's t r i a l waa of "high q u a l i t y " ^ but "from there to the end i t i a cour-p ageoua but not a r t . " To defend h i a c r i t i o i a m h e 'aaid: " Ia i t juat i n a n o v e l i s t to raiae to the heights and then descend to the l e v e l of comic opera? G r i f f i t h Gaunt presents jealousy, anger, l i e s and t h e i r effeota but the denouement Of the atory i a a l e t down*' -Goh-traated with Tito Melemaxih Romela i t i a an a r t i f i c i a l rather than an a r t i a t i c aolution of a 5 moral problem," The 3ignificance of t h i a c r i t i c i a m l i e s , not ao muoh in the f a c t that i t wa3 true of G r i f f i t h Gaunt, but that the technique here c r i t i c i a e d waa that which Reade uaed i n a l l hia f i c t i o n . .-tariffith uaunt waa a f a i l u r e becauae Reade preferred to depart from f i c t i o n a l truth i n order to exploit the aenaational p o 3 a i b i i i t i e a of the story* , Reade wa3 unwilling to allow h i a atory to progreaa to i t s i n e v i t -able and t r a g i c end but preferred instead to a f f r o n t the i n t e l l i g e n c e of h i a more discerning readera by f o r c i n g them to accept the a r t i f i c i a l and even ridiouloua aolution to G r i f f i t h ' s problem. A b r i e f glance'at the atory I think w i l l i l l u a t r a t e t h i a point. 1. The A t l a n t i c Monthly - v o l . IS, December 1866, p. 7&7• 2. Loc. c i t . 3 . Loo. c i t . 5 9 . G r i f f i t h Uaunt waa a Prote3tant 3quire and the hua-band of a devout, high-principled Catholic lady. He waa a man of atrong paaaiona and an inordinately jealous d i s p o s i -t i o n . He suspected h i s wife of i n f i d e l i t y because of her interest i n a young Catholic p r i e s t . In a f i t of passion Gaunt deserted her and, under an aaaumed name, took up residence at an inn miles away from h i s home. There, i n the course of time, he married a young g i r l of good charaoter but of lower b i r t h than himself. About a year l a t e r he r e -turned to h i s former home for money and discovered that h i s suspicions concerning h i s f i r s t wife were unfounded and that she r e a l l y loved him deeply. Reconciled w i t h her he returned to h i s second wife intending to declare h i s de-ception and make what amends he could. During h i s absence, however, the g i r l had given b i r t h to a son and because of thia (iaunt f e l t unable to destroy her happiness. He allow-ed the deoeption to continue u n t i l he waa f i n a l l y unmaaked by accident, and he returned to hia former home. It waa not long before h i a f i r a t wife learned of hia aecond mar-riage. After a b i t t e r quarrel Gaunt diaappeared, a p i s t o l ahot waa heard i n the night, and h i a wife was accuaed of h i 3 murder becauae a body reaembling h i a waa found i n the r i v e r near h i s home. Up to t h i a point Reade wrote w e l l . His story i s i n -teresting and h i s portrayal of character i s convincing and good. What follows however, destroys much of what was good i n h i a work, for, aa the aforementioned c r i t i c suggests. 60. he descends to the l e v e l not only of melodrama but of comic opera. During h i s f i r s t wife's t r i a l Gaunt, who was not dead, did not appear, and had Mercy Vint, h i s second wife, not come to the a i d of her r i v a l the l a t t e r would have been convicted. A firm friendship grew up between Gaunt's two wives. Gaunt who a l l through the t r i a l had been i n a drunken stupor returned l a t e r , and his f i r s t wife and he were soon reunited. Mercy Vint married a t i t l e d f r i e n d of Mrs. Gaunt and the c h i l d she bore uaunt died. The atory ends happily but not very convincingly for i n order to bring about the happy ending Reade made liaunt renounce h i s nature and be-have l i k e a knave and a weakling. Therefore, what might have been a valuable study of human nature and emotions became simply an in t e r e s t i n g story which was robbed of mean-ing and significance by reason of the improbability of i t a denouement. There waa enough i n i t to appeal to the mass of h i s readers, but sounder l i t e r a r y c r i t i c a deprecated the fact that i n the book Reade had turned hia back upon hia method i n The C l o i s t e r And The Hearth and had given h ia time to writing melodrama. With the publication of Put Youraelf In Hia Place c r i t i c s grew louder i n their condemnation of Reade'a syatem -than, ever before. Aa I sought to 3how i n the foregoing outline of thia atory Reade did not make i t aeem probable but r e l i e d upon melodrama and fa c t u a l truth to 3U3tain inter e a t . This 61. fact was noted by a writer i n Blaokwood'3 Magazine, who, In the following statement, sets f o r t h very c l e a r l y the basic weakness of Reade's technique: " Mr. Reade i s one of the most experienced and accomplished of playwrights, but he presumes sadly upon our ignorance and unbelief. Success has made him overdaring. We can swallow a great deal when i t i3 provided for us by h i s b o l d and s k i l f u l hand, but there ..are l i m i t s even to our f a i t h i n him. Put Yourself In His Place i s about the wildest of a l l . In arguing , that Truth i a stranger than f i c t i o n Reade goes wrong and makes the high-est blunder - one unworthy of him, and of h i s unmistakable powers. Fact i s no guide to art...Mr..Reade i s not.guilty of the mi3take of copying where he 3hould reproduce, for even in his impetuosity h i s hand cannot forget i t s cunning.nor . hi3 mind those i n s t i n c t s of the maker which turn the wildest r e a l -i t i e s into something l i k e natural . truth. Yet he i s running a very perilous course. Wo man needs c r u d i t i e s of fact leas yet no.man uses them more. He could not be d u l l i f he were to try yet we wish he would give U3 something of h i s own, something which might happen by divine r i g h t of truth and genius not something which has happened by 1 vulgar tyranny of f a c t . " This c r i t i o i s m , of course, challenged Reade's entire f i c t i v e theory. The c r i t i c pointed out that the duty of the novelist i s to present a picture of l i f e complete i n i t 3 e l f and not to set f o r t h a rec a p i t u l a t i o n of facts-held 1. Blackwood's Magazine. - v o l . 108, August IS70, p. IS5. 62. together by flimsy " o i l y p r o b a b i l i t i e s . 1 1 He pointed out, too, that Reade's f a c t s d i d not j u s t i f y h i s f i c t i o n but instead robbed i t of i t s i l l u s i o n of r e a l i t y , and that the product of h i s labours was not a probable study of human nature but wa3 instead an improbable and unconvincing story. He was seconded i n t h i s opinion by a writer i n The Nation who had t h i s to 3ay of Put Yourself In Hi3 Place: ..."And F i c t i o n " says Reade as i f he thought something of the kind ought to be said "whatever you may have been t o l d to the contrary, i s the highest, widest, noblest and. greatest of a l l the a r t s " which may be true, though honestly things i n th i s book have made us doubt i t . At the same.time we are bound to believe,, from thorough conviction by Reade's former books, that, when he cea363 to be an a r t i s t , i t i s of hi3 own motion. We only wonder.that he cares so l i t t l e for the public that honours him so much, f o r i t seems to us,that he f i n a l l y s a c r i -f i c e s to t h e a t r i c a l e f f e c t s what waa f i r s t and best i n the concep-tion of h i a atory. The book i a i n -teresting and then l e t us say that , i t i a a p i t y that i t i a not le33 1 intere3ting and better." Aa readera became more f a m i l i a r with Reade'a method, intereat i n h i a subjects waned and, as a r e s u l t , the de-f i c i e n c e s , or at least the shortcomings, of h i s technique stood out more c l e a r l y . A Ter r i b l e Temptation, which was written on the same plan as h i s e a r l i e r "purpose" novels, 1. The Nation, v o l . 10, June 30, 1870, # 26l, p. 423. 63. i l l u s t r a t e s t h i s point. Although the A t l a n t i c Monthly said that i t had " no misgivings concerning the l i t e r a r y character" * of thi3 work i t made the following comment, and i f they are not diaoussing " l i t e r a r y oharacter" i t i a d i f f i c u l t to decide juat what they are diacusaing: " We are, of courae, t i r e d of i n -sane hoapital3, and of the univer-sal knowledge of the author - Mr. . Rolfe i a to be auffered rather than enjoyed - The author 18 appara-tua and manoeuvrea are i n d r o l l diaproportion to the e f f e c t he producea and hia hahit of indexing hi3 many notebooka l a of no i n t e r e s t to the 3tory and i t i s a l l i n j u r -ious to the a r t i a t i c conceptions . ';'*2 of Mr. Reade." . , . . „ The Nation, too, objected to-Reade'a uae of extraneous matter and f e l t that the novel waa " i n the worat of.Reade'a two mannera." ^ The.reviewer contrasted A T e r r i b l e Tempta- tion with Reads'a e a r l i e r novela and aaid: " Such perfect gems of a r t as Peg  Woffington and othera i n which everything i a b e a u t i f u l l y evolved from a central motive which governs a l l the parta he no longer carea tQ -produce and i n t h e i r place we are yearly more l i k e l y to get from him aome astonishing farrago of im-p r o b a b i l i t i e a i n which there i a l i t t l e of hia charaoteri3tic excel-lencea except hia wit, which i a b r i l l i a n t , and occasional flashes of l i g h t on human nature. Unity,, and natural coherence of plot, aa in the early 8torie3, which are of poetic and beautiful aimplicity, we no longer expect; nor well-drawn 1. The A t l a n t i c Monthly, v o l . 28, September l S J l , p. 383. 2. Loc. c i t . 3. The Nation, v o l . 13, # 320, Auguat 7, 1871, P. 107. 64. characters nor a probable story; and i n t h i s Terrible Temptation we get none of them any mere than in Put Yourself In His Place and 1 G r i f f i t h uaunt. M This i s severe c r i t i c i s m indeed and the fact that suoh strong disapproval of h i s work should come from many sourc-es indicates that h i s more diaoerning c r i t i c s were becoming increasingly impatient with him. As we have seen e a r l i e r , however, the popular appeal of A T e r r i b l e Temptation was considerable for i t contained i t s f u l l share of melodrama and sensationalism. In one point only did i t d i f f e r from hi s e a r l i e r suooesses and i t i s worthy of mention. In A  Terrible Temptation Reade was not fortunate enough to h i t upon a new and i n t e r e s t i n g topic to bolster up h i s story, with the r e s u l t that i t drags from time to time; and the account of Rolfe, as well as the scenes i n the mad-house, are seen for what they are - rather clumsy attempts to keep his"story going. Although A Terrible Temptation lacked unity and coherence i t should be noted that the 3ame c r i t -icism must be made of It Is Never Too Late To Mend. The difference l i e s i n the f a c t that i n the l a t t e r he had been unable to use one subject i n order to carry hi3 work, where-as in the former he was forced to use three or four. Naturally the appearance of disunity i s greater i n A T e r r i b l e  Temptation than i n any of h i s purpose novels so f a r but the 1. The Nation, op. c i t . , p. 107. 65. c r i t i c i s m s of A t e r r i b l e Temptation must, of necessity, be applied to a l l b i s popular works since his method for a l l was the same., This f a c t seems to be suggested by a c r i t i c i n Ihe  Gentury .Magazine who, in looking for some work of Reade 13 to praise before condemning A T e r r i b l e Temptation, ignor-ed any of Reade1 s former "purpose11 novels but chose Peg  Woffjngton and C h r i s t i e Johnstone instead. He said: " We remember the sparkle and flow and vividness of Peg Woffjng-ton;, the genuine strength and sweetness of C h r i s t i e Johnstone. How glad we were that Reade wrote! How have we learned to shudder at an ..announcement of a fresh story bearing h i s name. Instead of sparkle we have f l i p -pancy; instead of flow; 3pasm3; instead of true vividness we have cheap melodramatic- shams; and over-lying and underlying everything an. a i r , - nay, more, a positive odour of coarse vulgarity which i s d i s - 1 gusting." _ Although t h i 3 c r i t i c wished -chat there were some "means of rousing i n the reading public a l i k i n g for pure English and an aversion to indecency of p l o t to force writers away .. 2 -from police court records as source material" he admitted the popularity of Reade'a melodrama for he said "there i s not a c i r c u l a t i n g l i b r a r y i n any town which would venture to omit 'Charles Reade's l a s t novel'". ^ In common with 1. The uentury Magazine, Scribners, v o l . 2, 1371, October, p. 668. 2. Loc. c i t . 3. Loc. c i t . 66. . a l l Reade's c r i t i c s he regretted that Reade had chosen to neglect the powers which he had revealed i n h i s early works and had chosen, instead, to produce s u p e r f i c i a l , melodramatic t h r i l l e r s ba3ed upon current happenings. It i s perhapa only to be expected that Reade*8 laat : two novela were more aeverely o r i t i o i a e d than any of hia other3 for they are poor atuff indeed. There i a apparent, too, i n c e r t a i n quartera an apathy toward Reade that indicate that aome c r i t i c a at leaat had long aince l o s t patience with him and no longer hoped fo r anything good from h i a pen. A Simpleton did not arou3e much intereat, and c r i t i c a l opinion of i t may 3afely be aummed up i n the remarka of a writer i n Harper'3 New Monthly Magazine, a publication, i t should be noted, with which Reade had had conaiderable dealinga and which had at no time i n h i 3 career been severe i n i t 3 judg-ment of him. these are the comments upon A Simpleton: ** . . .A Simpleton hardly ranks among hi a be3t s t o r i e s yet so long aa he r e s i s t s h i s f a t a l temptation to run .to,impossible romance i t i s good...We commend the f i r a t half of the atofy to. tho3e who want a aen3ible novel 1 of r e a l l i f e and the l a a t half to thoae who want an imposaibie melodrama, aenaational but i n - 1 nocent." •A Woman-Hater. however, received much rougher handling, the A t l a n t i c Monthly f e l t that the book lacked any "intalr? 1. Harper'a New Monthly Magazine, v o l . 4 - 7 , p. 7 7 6 , June .-November 1S73. ,., , , 67. l i g i b l e aim," * It f e l t , too, that, not only were the characters poorly portrayed, but the.entire story was poorly presented. The writer said: n Klosking i s not made enough of. Severne i s i n for no purpose. Gale i s not well done. Miss Gale and her troubles are clumsily graf-ted on to the 3tory. Mr. V i z a r d . i s only a woman hater in oourtesy to Mr. Reade. He merely increases . the general effect of disjointedness. This d i v i s i o n and d i s t r a c t i o n of int e r e s t s together with the poverty of the style and a tawdriness i n the atmosphere of. the whole story r e c a l l -ing the aspect of theatres behind the scenes, deprive A Woman-Hater of what we have learned to think Mr. Reade's c h a r a c t e r i s t i c charm - that of clear purpose, v i v i d p i c t u r i n g , absorbing plot, and the introduction of people who for the time being 2 engage our sympathies." The Century Magazine f e l t that A Woman-Hater was "wholly of Reade" ^ and contained "his worst f a u l t s and h i s brightest 4 charms." What the l a t t e r were i t did not say but claimed only that the story was "destitute of heart, f e e l i n g , humanity and.atmosphere." ^ More severe c r i t i c i s m could hardly be made of any work and the reviewer l e f t no doubt as to h i s opinion of the worth of the book when he said 1. The A t l a n t i c Monthly, v o l . 40, p. 507, October IS77. 2. Loc. c i t . 3. The Century Magazine, Scribners, v o l . 14, p. 720, Sep-tember IS77. 4. Loc. c i t . 5. Loc, c i t . 6S. that i t waa "agreeable reading "but the reader might wonder i f both reader and author might not have been i n a better - 1 buaineaa.• The f i r a t d i r e c t mention of Reade'a declining popu-l a r i t y with the.reading public aa a whole waa made by a reviewer w r i t i n g i n The Nation on July 19th» 1S77' He wrote: " If a new novel by Mr. Reade i a not ao important an event aa i t wa3 aay twenty yeara ago, the difference i a not due merely to the f a c t that he write3 leaa well, but also to the greater f a m i l i a r i t y of the.public with h i a manner of work. Since Reade began, many noveliata have gone more deeply into drawinga of women's char-acter a while,he i a left.behind to expoundto an i n d i f f e r e n t audience the transparent c r a f t i n e s s of h i s combination of the snake and the 2 cat." Clearly, then, Reade'a f a u l t of exploiting incident at the expenae of character development waa beginning to bear i t a inevitable f r u i t and not only c r i t i c a , but h i s publio, too, wearied of h i s method. Actually profeaaion-a l c r i t i c a i n their objectiona to A Woman-Hater merely reit e r a t e d their c r i t i c i a m a of moat of h i a other worka, but the d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n of hia leaa c r i t i c a l following aro3e from the fact that they enjoyed variety and were finding in the worka of other authors intereata with which 1. Ihe Century Magazine, op. c i t . , p. 720, 2. The Nation, v o l . 25, #629, p.44-, July 19, 1$77. 69. Reade did not supply them. His method i n writing f i c t i o n l o s t i t s power to capture their i n t e r e s t and to entertain them and, although the writer who aaid that "the adult reader w i l l derive about aa much pieaaure from reading Reade'a crude caricaturea of a couple of vulgar g i r l a aa he would from playing with two china d o l l s " ^ waa per-hapa a l i t t l e unkind to Reade i t i a true to 3ay that many of hia readera had outgrown t h e i r l i k i n g for h i a f i c t i o n . I haaten to add, however, that their l i k i n g for aenaationaliam and melodrama had not changed; they merely aought i t i n di f f e r e n t and newer forma. 1. The Nation, op.cit., p. 44. s 70. PART IV LATER CRITICAL OPINION OF CHARLES READE'S FICTION. After Reade's death i n 1SS4 the debate regarding hia "proper atation and d e f i n i t i o n " aa a writer "became at once, for the moment, a matter i n aome quartera of aome-thing l i k e peraonal controversy." * Many c r i t i c a d i d not agree with S i r Walter Beaant that Reade "atands i n the front rank and he atanda alone" and Swinburne f e l t that the di8agreement concerning Reade'a genius waa only natur-a l , for hia worka were not uniformly good. He aaid: " If he.had often written aa well aa he could aometimea write - or, again, i f he.had often written as i l l aa he could aometimea write -there would be no p o s s i b i l i t y o f . 3 diapute on the aubgect." Although Swinburne f e l t that Reade had written "not a few pagea which i f they do not l i v e a3 long aa the Engliah language w i l l f a i l to do ao through no f a u l t of their own" he f e l t , on the other hand, that Reade had "taken good care that few of hia larger and more laboured worka a h a l l have ao much a3 a f a i r chance for their l i v e a " ^ f 0 r "no man was 1. Swinburne. A.C., Miscellanies. London. Chatto & Windus. 1911, p. 271, 1. 13 and 11. 16-lS. 2. Quiller-Couch, S i r Arthur, Studies i n L i t e r a t u r e . Cam-bridge, At The U n i v e r 3 i t y Preaa, 1937, P. 25S, 11.13-14-. 3. Swinburne, op,cit., p. 271, l i . 18-22. 4. Ibid., p. 271, 11. 22-24. 5. Ibid., p. 272, 11. 4 - 6 . 71. ever at more pains to impair h i s own prospects of literary-s u r v i v a l " ^ than Reade. Swinburne c r i t i o i s e d Reade for many of the f a u l t s to which Reade 1s contemporaries objected, and i t i s of i n t e r -est to note, he mentioned f i r s t of a l l that "not a few p — of h i s more g l a r i n g f a u l t s as a n o v e l i s t " are traceable to h i s experience as "a dramatic aspirant." y Reade'a experience with the stage l e d him to s t r i v e i n h i s f i c -t i o n for t h e a t r i c a l e f f e c t s rather than a c a r e f u l study of character. These e f f e c t s often created i n h i s stories serious blemishes that are not "effaoed" or "redeemed" 4-by the "charming scenes which precede or follow them"; and they often made h i s people unconvincing. Levi, the Jew in It I3 Never Too Late To Mend i s an example of a character that "might have done well enough on the boards of a theatre, but does very much les3 than well between 5 the boards of a novel;" and Mr. Eden i s a "far more ab-6 solute f a i l u r e " than L e v i . Reads'3 f a u l t , according to Swinburne, was not only due to a " t h e a t r i c a l 3tyle of w r i t -ing but also to a t h e a t r i c a l habit of mind." 1 He could not r e s i 3 t the opportunity to use "stage e f f e c t s of sur-1. Swinburne, op. c i t . , p .272, '11, 6-S. 2. Ibid., p. 272, 11. 11-12. Ibid., p. 272, 1. 11. . 4. Ibid,, p. 272, 1. IS. 5. Ibid., p. 272, 11. 27-29. 6. Ibid., p. 273, 1. 12. 7. Ibid., p. 2SS, 11. 27-2S. 72. prise, anxiety, and t e r r o r " * even when to do so meant the "destruction i n the mind of every reader worth having, of 2 a l l sympathetic or serious interest" in h i s characters.-Reade was no worse offender than any other melodramatist whose aim i s "to provoke and r e l i e v e anxieties on behalf of poetic j u s t i c e " ' but he was no better; and i t i s not surprising that h i s t h e a t r i c a l t r i c k s and melodramatic ef f e c t s too often n cut away the very root of i n t e r -est from the very centre of h i s dramatic scheme or e t h i c a l de-sign and took from the creation of h i 3 fancy the e s s e n t i a l pro-perty of imaginative l i f e ; that quality of moral truth, that condi-tion of credible r e a l i t y , the want . of which deprives f i c t i o n of a l l right to exist and a l l reason f o r 4 ex i s t i n g . " In the opinion of Swinburne Reade's treatment of character damaged the appearance of r e a l i t y of h i s novels, for Reade was seen too c l e a r l y behind h i s people. He argued that " Hawes, and even Grotait - a much more l i f e l i k e and interesting per-son than Hawes, are not the crea- . tions of a dramatist; they are the creatures of a mechanist: you see the action of the wirepuller be- 5 hind at every movement they make;...? 1. Swinburne, op. c i t . , p. 272, 11. 6-8. 2. Ibid., p. 289, 11. 3~4. 3. Fowler, H.W., A Dictionary Of Modern English Usage.Oxford At.The Clarendon Press, 1937, p. 347, ool. .1, 1. 32. 11 4. Swinburne, op. c i t . , p. 289, 1. 32, p. 290, 1. 6. 5. Ibid., P. 281, 11. 13-16. 73. and what i a true of theae character3 i a even more true of many othera. Reade not only controlled the movements of a l l hia charactera but explained and interpreted their actiona in a moat obtruaive way. He aeemed to con8ider the average reader'a i n t e l l i g e n c e n incompetent or alow to appre-ciate, with quiet recognition . and peaceable approval, the - charm or the force of character, the strength or the subtlety of motive di3played i n the conduct of action ,or dialogue, without aome vigoroua note of more or le33 d i r e c t and personal appeal to the attention and admiration required by the writer aa hia 1 due.'' Swinburne d i d not queation the 3incerity of Reade'a attacks upon i n j u s t i c e but he did question the a r t i 8 t i c 3uccea3 of h i a e f f o r t 3 . He f e l t that the pri3on 3cenea i n It 13 Never Too Late To Mend are a "flagrant in8tance of passionate philanthrophy r i d i n g roughshod over the ruins of a r t i s t i c propriety" 2 because, i n h i s o p i n i o n the characters were not l i f e l i k e and the story was not probable. I t i 3 possible, i f not imperative, to agree with hia general eatimate of Reade and yet take exception to the example which he uaed in proof of i t for the judg-ment of time upon thia p a r t i c u l a r episode aeem3 to i n d i -cate that i t more c l o i e l y approximated what good f i c t i o n ought to be than any other part of hia" "purpo3e" f i c t i o n . 1. Swinburne, op. c i t . , p. 3 0 0 , 11. 2 -o . 2. Ibid., p. 274, 11. 26-27. 7*. There can be, of course, no question of the fact that Reade's "passionate philanthrophy" often rode "roughshod over the ruins of a r t i s t i c propriety" for, aa we know, h i 3 facta came before h i a f i c t i o n mo3t of the time. Swinburne comments upon Reade'a adherence to the p r i n c i p l e "that a.atudy from l i f e ahould be founded-on what he c a l l s 'dooumenta* - nay, that i t ahould be made up of theae, were they never ao noisome or ao weariaome" ^ and he gave th i a aa the reaaon for "the passages of almoat 3uperfloua dullneaa as the d u l l -2 eat a u p e r f l u i t i e a of ...M. z.ola" which diafigure Reade'a "purpoae" f i c t i o n . Reade•a unwillingne33 to auppres8 and s e l e c t h i a facta; h i 3 preference for them instead of probable 3 t o r i e s , l i f e l i k e charaotera, and a thoughtful comment upon l i f e are responsible i n great mea3ure for the i n a r t i s t i c q u a l i t i e 3 of h i a novela juat as they are proof of hia "apparent unoonaciousnesa that fact done into f i c t i o n may e a s i l y or may ever become diaguating and inaufferable" 3 unlea3 i t paaa through the creative imagination of the author and emerge aa aomething having an appearance of truth and making a sound comment upon l i f e . Swinburne thought that Reade'a atrength aa a noveli3t lay i n h i a narrative power3 for he aaid that "there i s a v i v i d force i n hia beat and higheat examplea of narrative 1. Swinburne, op. c i t . , p. 275> H . 15-1S. 2. Ibid., p. 275, 11. 9-11. 3. Ibid., p. 295, 11. 6-S. 75. which informs even prose with something of the e f f e c t of epic rather than dramatic poetry," * and he f e l t that t h i s power l i f t e d parts of Reade*s works to heights "far beyond . the reach of the f i n e s t painter of s o c i a l manners, the most f a i t h f u l and trustworthy spokesman or showman of common-place event and character." Such writing i s to be found i n the account of the homeward voyage of the Agra i n Hard Ca3h; the narrative of Gerard's adventures i n the company of Deny3 of Burgundy i n The C l o i s t e r And the Hearth: and i n the description of the f l o o d i n Put Yourself In'His Place. Unfortunately these heights, when reached, were not e a s i l y maintained and the works i n which they appear were too frequently marred by c h a r a c t e r i s t i c and serious f a u l t s such as those found i n the l a s t mentioned work where the " s i l l y old squire" 5 i a nothing more than a "venerable stage property not worth the author's care i n refurbishing" and where the 3tory was "a l i t t l e overcharged with d e t a i l s « 5 of documentary evidence." . Although Swinburne d i d not agree with Trollope that Reade l e f t "not'a character that w i l l remain 1" and as a re s u l t faced "oblivion or neglect" ^ he f e l t that Reade 1s 1. Swinburne, op. c i t . , p. 300, 11. 14-17. 2. Ibid., p. 300, 11. 11-14. 3. Ibid., P. 301, 1. 3, 4. Ibid., p. 301, 11. 3-^. 5. Ibid., p. 301, 11. 5-6. 6. Ibid., p. 296, 1. 16. 7. Ibid., p. 296, 1. 14. 76. hope of fame rested, not upon the sum of h i s writing, but upon the "excellence of episodes, on the charm of a single character or the effect of a p a r t i c u l a r scene." * He pointed out that time alone would determine Reade's true p o s i t i o n aa a n o v e l i 3 t and i n apite of the f a c t that he personally f e l t that Reade at hia beat "wa3 a t r u l y great writer of a t r u l y noble geniua" i t i a p l a i n to be aeen that he con-3 i d e r e d the obataclea which Reade had placed i n hia own way quite aerioua enough to accomplish hia undoing. Later c r i t i o a whoae opiniona on Reade we muat conaider f a l l into two cla33ea. The f i r 3 t i a that group of writers who are concerned with a broad atudy or hiatory of the novel in general and who treat Reade merely aa one writer among many. The aecond, and leas numerous group, i s that whioh i8 intereated i n Reade*a p a r t i c u l a r contribution to f i c t i o n and which diacuaaea at aome length h i a technique, h i a f i c t i v e theory, and the quality of hia product. In p r a c t i c a l l y every caae modern c r i t i o a aeem anxioua to be aa lenient aa poasible with Reade but i n apite of thia f a c t i t i s quite apparent that none f e e l a that Reade'a novels e n t i t l e him to a place with the masters of h i a day and there are thoae who think that there i a l i t t l e to be wondered at in the d e c l i n e of hia popularity. 1. Swinburne, ©p. c i t . , p. 2 9 2 , 1 1 . 8 -10. 2 . Ibid., p. 3 0 2 , 1 1 . 2 2 - 2 3 . 77. The Encyclopaedia Britannica makes no c r i t i c a l comment upon Reade but merely mentions h i s s k i l l in "weaving a com-p l i c a t e d plot and devising t h r i l l i n g s i t u a t i o n s . " 1 It stresses h i s habit of gathering material from every a v a i l -able source; and considers that "t h i a vast documentation, and Reade's u3e of i t , show3 him as a precursor of the 2 school of i£ola." The Gambridge History of English L i t -erature also mentions the "immense accumulations of reports of actual events by which he supported h i s boast, that, when he spoke of fact he was 'upon oath'", ^ and suggests that Reade's use of fa c t i l l u s t r a t e s h i s "sympathy with the impulse towards realism whioh was at work i n f i c t i o n i n 4 the middle of the century." His outstanding g i f t , however i 3 his a b i l i t y to produce "sustained and absorbing narrative such as the homeward voyage of the Agra in Hard Gash and the bursting of the reservoir i n Put Yourself In His Place. where h i 3 prose i s "masterful, concentrated, deliberate and at the highest p i t c h of excitement, can bear the closest ... 6 scrutiny of d e t a i l . " In spite of this.power, however, 1. Minto, W., "Charles Reade", Encyclopaedia Britannioa, 9th ed., 1886, vol.. 2G, p. 303, 1. IS. 2. Reade, Charles, Encyclopaedia Britannioa. 14-th ed. ,1937, v o l . 19, p. 4-,. 11. 39-40. 3. Cambridge History of English Literature, v o l . 13, ch. 13, p. 4-75, 11. 8-10. ^ ~ 4-. Ibid., p. 4-75, 11. 4 - 6 . 5. Ibid., p. 476, 1. 5 . 6. Ibid., p. 4-76, 11. 14-15. 7S. none of h i a "purpoae" novela compare a with The Cloiater And  The Hearth i n "apaciou3ne3s of design, and many-aidedneaa of interest, i n range of knowledge, i n f e r t i l i t y of creation, i n narrative a r t and i n emotional power," ^ because i n the opinion of the c r i t i c t h i s work i a unique. It i 3 thia work alone that plabe3 Reade near the l e v e l of hia greater con-temporaries f o r on the baaia of h i 3 other novels he must be 2 judged a "minor n o v e l i s t . " s Chambers Cyclopaedia of Engliah Literature agrees that "Charlea Reade haa not been uaually accounted one of the 3 .greatest n o v e l i 3 t s of the nineteenth oentury" ^ although the writer i n thia caae f e e l s that "few would hesitate to place him foremoat or among the very foremoat, of the aeoond h order." Hia work waa marred by coar3enes3 and by the fa c t that he waa " t h e a t r i c a l aometimea rather than.dramatic, and aometime3 even d u l l , weighed down with h i s a u t h o r i t i e s -the blue books, the booka of trav e l , the a l l too copioua acrapbooka and notebooks with which he fettered hia imagina-t i o n . " ^ "With the greatest n o v e l i s t s , " he goes on to say "the reader i 3 conacioua only of the 3tory, with him one .. L .... i a alway3 conscious of the s t o r y - t e l l e r , " f o r , though he conaidered Reade an excellent a t o r y - t e l l e r he pointed out 1. Cambridge Hiatory Of Engliah Literature, o p . c i t . . p.477. 11. 23-26. 2. Ibid., p. 4-77, 1. 28. 3. Chambers'a uyolopaedia of Engliah Literature.1903,vol. >, p. 483, 11. 27-2S. 4. Ibid., p. 30-32. 5. Ibid*, p. 33-3S. fa. Ibid., p. 38-40. 79. • that there waa aome tone or manner!am that from time to time "jars upon us, 8 1 Among l i t e r a r y hiatoriana who are c h i e f l y concerned with a 3tudy of the novel there i a aome difference of opinion regarding Reade'a p a r t i c u l a r g i f t s aa a noveliat hut very l i t t l e regarding the value of hia f i c t i o n i n general. He i3 not considered a great novelist by any. In A Study Of Prose F i c t i o n , BH33 Perry make3 no mention of Reade or of h i s work; and David C e c i l i n h i s book Early V i c t o r i a n Novelists makes only an oblique reference to Reade when he saya of Charlotte Bronte: " But equally ahe cannot be d i s -missed, to a minor rank, to the . Fanny Burney3, the Charles Reades: for unlike them she. r i s e s , a t times 2 to greatest heights." Although auch treatment a3 thi3 may ea3ily be considered severe, one i 3 tempted to point out that C e c i l has said i n two l i n e s what many other c r i t i c s have taken pages to set down, for no c r i t i c c a l l s Reade great and a l l f e e l that the f a u l t s that marred h i s f i c t i o n were too aerioua and too numeroua to allow him a place with the masters oi -his age. In the opinion of Cornelius Weygandt Reade's greateat g i f t i a that of "epical narrative," and Louis Cazamian 1. Chambers'a Cyclopaedia of Engliah Literature, 1903,vol,3, P. 4 i . • ; 2. C e c i l , David, Early V i c t o r i a n Novelists, London, Con-stable & Co. Ltd., 1935, P. 143, 11. 25-28. 3. Weygandt, Cornelius, op. c i t . , p. 159, !• 5. so. agrees that h i s chief merit l i e s i n the fac t that he "knows how to t e l l a story." They f e e l at the 3ame time that t h i s power in;narrative does not compensate for h i s f a u l t s and that i t i s not ind i c a t i v e of the general l e v e l of h i s work. J.B. P r i e s t l e y points out th i s unevenness i n the following statement: " He had ce r t a i n l y one g i f t ... a superb g i f t of narration. When h i s imagination has r e a l l y caught f i r e and a great soene i s to hand, he i s as compelling as a cavalry dharge, and i f nov e l i s t s were to be judged by a few extracts, he would seem one 'of the greatest geniuses of the 2 century." In the opinion of modern c r i t i c s one of the reasons for the unevenness i n Reade*s work wa3 h i s preoccupation with attested f a c t . P r i e s t l e y , "for example, c a l l s him the "most thorough-going of a l l the mid-Victorian n o v e l i s t s who wrote 3tories around variou3 s o c i a l abuses" 2 and say3 "he was the f i r s t - and in England c e r t a i n l y the most laborious -of the "document" n o v e l i s t s , who do not begin t h e i r stories u n t i l they are surrounded by notebooks and newspaper cuttings f u l l of f a c t s bearing on the kind of l i f e they are about to 4-describe." In spite of th i s care, however, Reade was, i n th i s reviewer's opinion "perhaps the most unequal story-t e l l e r of h i s time."; 5 Gazamian, too, f e e l s that, despite 1. Legouis, E. and Gazamian, L., A History of English L i t e r -ature, London, J.M.Dent, & Sons, Ltd., 1937,P« 1211,. 1 .6 . 2 . " P r i e s t l e y , J.B., The English Novel,London, Ernest Benn Limited, 1933, p.' 4-S, 11. 24 - 2 9 . 3. Ibid., p. 4-7, 11. 35-37-4 . Ibid., p. 4-S, 11. 3-7-5 . Ibid., p. 4-S, 1. 1 9 . 81. the fact that Reade's zeal in,:search of material stamps him as "a r e a l i s t by temperament, and also by method, to a degree of conscientiousness and system that had as yet been unequalled i n England." 1 Reade d i d not succeed i n transforming hi3 subject matter into warm and l i v i n g novels for he considers Reade's works "too documentary and loaded ... p with circumstantial d e t a i l to rouse emotion." He r e l i e d too much upon "philanthropic arguments" ^ baaed on fact, consequently, though h i a argumenta convince h i a readera, h i a atoriea laok "the warmth and f e e l i n g " ^ of Dickena' which owe their atrength to their auggeative foroe and t h e i r appeal to the emotiona and imagination's ""of t h e i r readers. Saintsbury draws attention to t i e f a c t that Reade f a i l -. . . . 5 e d to dige3t "theae 'marine 3tore8' of d e t a i l and document" and claima that Reade "remain3 with £ola, the chief example of the danger of working a t your aubject too much a a i f you were getting up a b r i e f , or preparing ah a r t i c l e for a n 6 encyclopaedia." Obvioualy good f i c t i o n must be aomething at leaat other than a c o l l e c t i o n of accurate data, regard-leas of how intereating auch fact3 are i n them3elvea, but muat be a c r i t i c i a m of human l i f e and action; and Reade'a l.Legouia and Cazamian, op. c i t . , p. 1210, 11. 18-21. 2.Ibid., p. 12.11, 11. 13-15. 3.Ibid., p. 1211, 1. 12. 4.Ibid., p. 1211, 1. 16. 5.Saintsbury, George, The Engliah Novel. London, J.M.Dent & Sons, Ltd., 1931, P. 248, 11. 32-33.. 6.Ibid., p. 249, 11.1-4. 82. f a i l u r e to write good f i c t i o n must be traced, aa h i s c r i t i c s suggest, p a r t l y at least to h i s unwillingness to subordinate documentary evidence to the more valuable i l l u s i o n of r e a l i t y which characterizes f i c t i o n of the f i r s t olass; and also to h i s unwillingness to l e t the reader draw his own conclusions about what he has to say. Wilbur L. Gross f e e l s that Reade's refusal to concern himself with probable stories was due to h i s b e l i e f that " f i c t i o n should not be written simply to please, but that i t should contain matter for i n s t r u c t i o n and e d i f i c a t i o n . " ^ No doubt t h i s b e l i e f inspired every novelist of note who ever put pen to paper because their obvious task i s to show something of interest about human nature and human action. Reade considered the s o c i a l abuses of his day most worthy of h i s attention but he dealt with 2 them i n "the controversial manner" and i t ha3 already been pointed out that i n the opinion of aome c r i t i c s h i s arguments were convincing enough but hi3 atoriea were not r e a l and hia charactera were not l i f e l i k e and aa a r e s u l t h i s novela more cloaely reaemble a aeries of f a c t a and documenta than aound and probable f i c t i o n . Not only do modern c r i t i c a f e e l that Reade atayed too cloae to h i a material i n writing hi3 f i c t i o n they al3o f e e l that he made too much uae of t h e a t r i c a l t r i c k a and 8ensational effeeta i n presenting i t . Gazamian 3peaka of the "aenaational 1. Groaa, Wilbur H., The Development Of The English Novel. London, MacMillan & Go. Ltd.,. 1935, P« 213, 11. 23-25. 2. Ibid., p. 213, 1. 27. S3. i n t e n s i t y " * of Reade's novo l a and another writer says that "Put Yourself In His Plaoe affords many examples of the sensational scenes whioh Reade expanded from newspaper stor-ies, giving to h i s narrative a j o u r n a l i s t i c q u a l i t y similar 2 to that of Dickens." This writer draw3 attention to the faot that " i n Reade's novels*however, the working up of the sources i s more laboured and the sensationalism of . . . . • , 3 presentation i a more v i o l e n t than h i a maater'a." Richard Burton f e e l s that the purpoae novels which give Reade a place "in the movement for recognition of the s o c i a l l y u n f i t and those u n f a i r l y treated" were "frankly melodraraatio." He c r i t i c i s e s Reade's method i n them by pointing out that i n • , c spite of the fact that he was a "superb partisan" 0 Reade would have "secured a safer p o s i t i o n i n the annala of f i c -t i o n " ^ i f he had cared "less for polemics and more for h i a a r t . " Weygandt agreea with t h i a opinion and arguea that "what were onoe regarded as hia great 'allow' passages are b , ' '.. 1. Legouia and Gazamian, op. c i t . , p. 1209, 1. 12. 2. Lovett, Robert Morsa - Hughes, Helen Sard, The History Of  The Novel In England. Cambridge, The River3ide Press, Houghton M i f f l i n Co., 1932,p. 24?, 11. 31-34. 3. Ibid., p. 247, 11. 34-36.. 4. Burton, Richard, Masters Of The English Novel. New York, Henry Holt & Co., 1932, ,p. .251, 11. 18-19. 5. Ibid., p. 251, 1.6. 6. Ibid., p. 251, 1. 22. 7. Ibid., p. 251, 11. 24-25. 8. Ibid., p. 251, 11. 23-24. 8k. f a l l e n to poor things enough now; what were once regarded as moments of high tragedy now disclose themselves as no 1 . .... more than melodrama.11 He f e e l s that Reade's writing lacks 2 - •-"the power of the highest order 1 1 whioh produces B the great situations that are inevitable, and nobly f e l t , and grandly fashioned; the readings of l i f e that show insight and vis i o n ; the store of ..wisdom that i 3 come of years of r i c h exper-ience and deep sympathy with . men; the characters that a r e / _ _;. v i t a l , that are no mere compounds *' 3 of manners and e c c e n t r i c i t i e s . " and he claims that Reade'3 best "was c l e a r l y short of the ..k ......... be3t of the great n o v e l i s t s . " It i 3 Weygandt who puts into words what mu3t be recognized about much of Reade's f i c t i o n f or he says that i n 3pite of " a l i the incident he manufactured for h i 3 tales and long novelst, they are meager humanity. The characters are apt to be types, the situations stock, the writ-ing careless, the comment of the writer on the actions of his puppets conventional ..or p l a t i t u d - 5 inous." In the opinion of S i r Hugh Walpole, Reade's f a u l t s were due to h i s tr a i n i n g i n the theatre of h i s day. He says that Reade "was a melodramatist of the theatre^-and i t was un-1. Weygandt, op. c i t . , p. 159» H « 11-1'+. 2. Ibid., p. 159, 1. 26. 3. Ibid., p. 159, 11. 16-21. k. Ibid,, p. 160, 11. 3*4. 5. Ibid., p. 160, 11. 5 - 9 -S5. questionably t h i a r e a l t h e a t r e - f e l t at a time when the English drama was at i t s lowest ebb-that wa3 responsible for the rgraye3t f a u l t 3 i n his.tempestuous novels." ^ Walter C. P h i l l i p f , a g r e e s with t h i 3 theory when he points out that - - p with Reade "the drama i s always the primary consideration" and though i t i s responsible for the excellence of h i s narrative i t i s also responsible for the general s u p e r f i c i a l -i t y of h i s work. His narrative gain3 much of i t s e f f e c t i v e -ness from the direct, natural, and f o r c e f u l use of dialogue by which Reade eliminated much of the wordiness that usually characterizes the works of story t e l l e r s . This s t y l e suited Reade's method of throwing "the dramatic into high r e l i e f " ^ thereby enabling him to make the moat of the sensational incident in which h i s novels abound. Unfortunately h i 3 zeal for action caused him to "reject psychological analysis and k exposition almo3t e n t i r e l y " because he believed, i n the opinion of P h i l l i p s at any rate, that "commentary upon the persons, l i k e decorative description, wa3 merely a profane . . . 5 . interruption of the sacred narrative." He rej e c t e d the method of Trollope, E l i o t , and other r e a l i s t s whose works 6 - . he considered "the chroniole of small beer" and imposed 1. Walpole, S i r Hugh, "Novelists of the 'Seventies," i n Granville-Barker.Harley.The Elghteen-Seventles. Cambridge University Press,1929, p.34, 11. 15 and 11. 2 3 - 2 6 . 2. P h i l l i p s , op. c i t . , p. 207, 1. 2. 3. Ibid,, p. 207, 11. 5-6". 4. Ibid., p. 207, 11. 6 - 7 . 5. Ibid., p. 20S, 11. 22-24. 6. Ibid., p. 207, 11. 10-0.1. 86. upon himself l i m i t a t i o n s as rigorous as those which are forced upon the dramatist in writing for the stage. As a res u l t h i s novels reveal a masculine force; a strength and vividness of presentation that make them unique among the works of h i s day; but unfortunately t h e i r b r i l l i a n c e was "mostly at the surface." * Because he minimized character interest "most Readean f o l k , l i k e C o l l i n s ' , s l i p quickly 2 out of mind," and P h i l l i p s f e e l s that there are only two men i n h i s "purpose" novels who are "something more than stalking horses for exoiting melodrama." ^ These men, David Dodd and Dr. Sampson,:both characters from Hard Cash, to-gether with Lucy Fountain, J u i i a Dodd and Kate Peyton are the only characters i n h i s works who are more than convention-a l types, for he says of the rest" " About them personally we have 3mall concern; where they w i l l "come out" we f e e l tolerably sure. They play t h e i r assign-ed part i n the melodrama.acceptably, but we leave them l i t t l e the. wiser ourselves, without having made new friend3 of them. " F e r t i l e situa-.. tions" as Reade understood and applied the term, p r a c t i c a l l y pre- 4 eluded that." P h i l l i p s continues h i s c r i t i c i s m of Reade by saying that not only d i d Reade disregard character a n a l y s i s because 1. P h i l l i p s , op. c i t . , p. 214, 1. 16, 2. Ibid., p. 214, 1.32. 3. Ibid., p. 215, 1. 2-3. 4. Ibid., p. 215, U . 12-18. 87. he considered i t "small beer," he also subordinated what character interest he did allow himself to the "exigencies of his drama." ^ He believed "that f e r t i l e s i t u a t i o n s are 2 the true cream of f i c t i o n " and they received f i r s t con-aideration. He did not heaitate to create a aen3ational or t h e a t r i c a l effect at the expenae of hi3 characters with the r e s u l t that, on the one hand " s i t u a t i o n and climax oraah down upon his readers l i k e well-aimed blows of a single-atick player, u n t i l they are battered into a kind of emotional i n s e n s i b i l i t y that nothing but floods or earth-quakes oan touch," ^ and on the other the r e a l drama which i s found i n c o n f l i c t of character i s vulgarized and seriously damaged, so that h i s f i c t i o n cannot be c a l l e d a sound study of l i f e 'ao much a3 a aeriea of t h r i l l i n g incidenta and a i t -uationa. Hia narrative s k i l l ; h i s a b i l i t y to give vigour and force to h i s storie3 atamp himaa a "doctrinaire v i r t u -030 in narrative a r t " rather than a "atudent of l i f e , " ? and i t i a becau3e he held fa3t to "a wrong-headed f a i t h i n & . ... . ' . . _ . . . . • 7 h i a creed" that"the p i t haa decided againat him." 1 1. P h i l l i p a , op. c i t . , p. 216, 1. 19. 2. Ibid., p. 136, 11. 21-22. " ' 3. Ibid., p. 216, 11. 22-26. 4. Ibid., p. 216, 1. 7. 5. Ibid., p. 21S, 1. 7. 6. Ibid., p. 21S, 11. 1S-19. 7. Ibid., p. 21S, 11. 4-6. ss. PART V. THE REASONS FOR THE ECLIPSE OF CHARLES READE'S  "PURPOSE" FICTION, It w i l l "be seen from the foregoing opinions of Reade's f i o t i o n that the defects which contemporary c r i t i c s saw i n i t are tho3e whioh modern c r i t i o a give aa the reaaona for i t a f a i l u r e to endure. Both agree that i t f e l l f a r ahort of what good f i c t i o n ought to be, for Reade a a c r i f i c e d character portrayal and p r o b a b i l i t y to aen3ationaliam, f a c -tual truth, and melodrama. The c r i t i o who aaid that Reade's f a u l t a were the f a u l t a of the melodramatic theatre of h i 3 day givea ua the clue, not only to h i a f a i l u r e to write 3ound f i c t i o n , but to the popularity whioh the f i c t i o n he did write enjoyed ^ during hia l i f e t i m e . Undoubtedly Reade wa3 a melodramatiat, and to underatand what ;I mean by "melo-drama" l e t ua oonaider Fowler'a d e f i n i t i o n of i t and aet i t beside what we know of the worka of Reade which we are d i s -cusaing: " Melodrama i s a term generally uaed with aome contempt, becauae the appeal of auoh plays as are acknowledged to deserve.the t i t l e i a eapecially to the unaophisti-Oated and i l l i t e r a t e whose acquain-tance with human nature i a auper-f i o i a l , but whoae admiration f o r . goodneaa and deteatation of wick-edneaa, i a ready and powerful. The melodramatiat'a taak i8..to get h i s charactera l a b e l l e d good and wick-ed i n hi3 audience 1 a minda, and to provoke a t r i k i n g aituationa that ahall provoke and r e l i e v e anxietiea 89. on behalf of poetic j u s t i c e . . . (melodrama) depends upon sensa-ti o n a l incident with exaggerated appeals to conventional sentiment rather than on play of character,* the dramatis personae follow con-ventional types - the v i l l a i n , the hero wrongfully charged with crime, the persecuted heroine, the adven- 1 turess etc... ." Even the best of Reade's "purpose" novels, I t Is Never  Too Late To Mend and Put Yourself In His Place f i t very well the description given above. Both.George F i e l d i n g and Henry L i t t l e , though not wrongfully accused of crime, were un-doubtedly the stock type of melodramatic heroes, poor but honest, facing and overcoming almost insuperable obstacles. They are presented as f l a t characters who do not change, except, of course, to become r i c h . Not only are Susan Merton and Grace.Garden persecuted heroines, they are persecuted by black and transparent v i l l a i n s whose lack of redeeming * 1 q u a l i t i e s stamp them as l i t t l e les3 than monsters. There i s never any doubt i n the reader's mind as to who are Readers good and who are h i s bad people, for early i n both s t o r i e s he sets h i s puppets up and prepares to move them about accord-ing to convention. No one who studies Reade*s f i c t i o n would care to refute the many c r i t i c s who argued that h i s works abound i n sensational incidents and s t r i k i n g s i t u a t i o n s . For example, L i t t l e ' s return from America to discover that h i s sweetheart had been t r i c k e d into marrying a cad l i k e Coventry 1. Fowler, op. c i t . , p. >47, c o l . 1, 11. 18-32 and 11. 46-54. 9 0 . i s a s i t u a t i o n pregnant with interest for those who l i k e that sort of thing, ana the fact that Reade managed to outdo most melodramatist3 who usually save their heroines at the church door, or at least at the a l t a r , i s simply a tribute to hia s k i l l i n melodrama, a a k i l l , i n c i d e n t a l l y , whioh paid him well. Fielding'a narrow e3oapea i n Auatralia and L i t t l e ' s frequent bruahea with the tradea are handled by Reade i n auoh a way aa to wring from them the l a a t drop of auapenae with which they are f i l l e d , ao that a l l combine to produce t h r i l l -ing, i f not very probable atories which, apparently, suited many thouaanda of hia readers i f we are to judge from the money he made from them. Many inoidents can be found i n h i 3 work to prove i t a sensational nature. Stainea i n A Simpleton 3tepping from behind the shrub to snatch the poison from the hands of h i s distracted wife; the unmasking of Severne aa he waa leading £oe away to"shame and diagrace; the whi3king away of S i r Gharlea Basaett to the aaylum in A T e r r i b l e Temptation; and the complete deatruction that f e l l auddenly upon Meadows i n It Ia Never Too Late To Mend are but four out of dozens of aenaational aituationa that i l l u a t r a t e very c l e a r l y what Reade had i n mind when he aaid that " f e r t i l e s i t u a t i o n s are the true cream of f i c t i o n . " Naturally, too, Reads'a novela of the day a l l end happily. Thia i a a d e f i n i t e requirement of melodrama and Reade waa not one to diaappoint h i a readera i n t h i a regard. It i a intereating to note i n paasing the lengths to whioh he 91. was w i l l i n g to go to please h i s publio i n the matter. One of Reade's mo3t important motives f o r ooncerning himself with the question of the trades i n Put Yourself In Hia Place was to i l l u s t r a t e how impossible i t was for a man of special talents to p r o f i t by h i s a b i l i t y because of the r e s t r i c t i v e e f f e c t of unions. Whether or not t h i s was true i s not a _,«* matter under discussion here, the main thing i s that Reade s a i d i t was true and claimed to have taken up h i s pen i n order to attack the e v i i . Strangely enough, however, h i s hero manages to r i s e to a position of security and wealth, thereby, i t seems to me, refuting Reade's argument. He did not seem to see that i n order to use the melodramatic "happy ending" he had to s a c r i f i c e h i s entire theaia or i f he d i d grasp t h i s point apparently he waa quite w i l l i n g to pay t h i s p r i c e . He knew, of courae, that had he k i l l e d L i t t l e , a 3 aome workmen had been k i l l e d ; or had he l e f t him thwarted and beaten to l i v e h i s l i f e on the frin g e of starvation, h i a book would have l o s t aome of i t s appeal, 36 he allowed " r i g h t " to triumph, a a t i a f i e d h i s publio, and sold thousands of copies of h i s book. The sensational incidents which abound i n Reade'a f i c t i o n were the product of ayatematic and thorough aearch, for he combed blue booka, reporta, and newspapera for subject matter which he thought he could use. He was shrewd in doing t h i s , of course, for the newspapers of h i s day were just aa quick a3 our own at f e r r e t i n g out the type of news which the public wanta to read. In uaing thia aort of material Reade 9 2 . was f a i r l y safe for i t s news value waa proved and he waa 8ure of its.appeal to and effeot upon readera. Although c r i t i o a reproached him for adhering too cloaely to hi3 facta, and not turning them into "aomething l i k e natural truth" i n the . form of probable f i c t i o n i t i a doubtful i f for any length of time Reade entertained the thought of doing t h i a for i t aeema he waa s a t i a f i e d with the facta themaelvea arid i t i a c e r t a i n that he knew the i r value. For proof of t h i a point we need only r e f e r to one or two remarka of h i s own i n hia correapondence with publiahera^ When he waa w r i t i n g to'hia publisher Low concerning the novel Hard Gaah he drew atten-. 2 t i o n to the f a c t that i t wa3 not an "ordinary novel" which dealt with "3hadows only" ^ but that i t "cut deep into the 4 r e a l i t i e s of the day" and "aet hundreda discussing i t aa hiatory and law." The " r e a l i t i e a of the day" of which he 3poke were, of courae, the aenaational facta pertaining to inaane aayluma whioh he had gleaned from the aourcea mentioned above, and which he honeatly thought gave hia book a degree of importance that no mere f i c t i o n could equal. In a l e t t e r to Blackwood regarding A Woman-Hater he made what, to aay the leaat, muat be c a l l e d a very blunt atatement on the subject. 1. Biaokwooda, vo l . 108 (Aug. 1870), p. 185. 2. Elwin, opi c i t . , p. 176, 1. 14. 3. Ibid., p. I76, 1. 15. 4. Ibid., p. 176, 1. 16. 5. Ibid., p. 176, 1. 17. 9 3 . He wrote: " I send you herewith the i n s t a l l -ment of new story, whioh lands the party i n England and introduces Aesculapia, or the Dootress and her struggles; which are a.great chapter of human nature and of un-just c i v i l i z a t i o n . This character i s so important that .I must beg you.to receive i t i n s t r i c t confidence and sepulchral silence. New ideas of any magnitude are now very rare i n f i c t i o n . The very whis-per of such a thing seems to be echoed, and i t would be a calamity i f any one of my contemporaries were to get wind of Aesculapia. He would bungle her and do no good with her, but thoroughly s p o i l her for us. On t h i s account I am desirous to start t h i s story not l a t e r than 1st J u n e . . . . . For, i f we strike while the i r o n i s hot, that i s to say,, while the l a d i e s are s t i l l 'struggling, we s h a l l serve., a good cause and perhaps make a.big h i t ; but we s h a l l f a l l comparatively f l a t , i f we hang f i r e t i l l Oowper Temple and others have.righted the 1 wrong without our a i d . " It i s superfluous to comment upon hi s remarks above f o r i t i s p e r f e c t l y obvious what he was doing. He had done no l e s s many times before and c r i t i c a l opinion does no more than emphasize what i s already evident i n the text of h i s works that both i n his choice of material and i n h i s treat-ment of i t Reade c l e a r l y 3et the s a i l s of h i s f i c t i o n to catch the wind of public approval - approval, that i s , of the broad mass of u n c r i t i c a l readers who sought i n f i c t i o n 1. Elwin, pp. c i t . , p. 29S, 11. 2-20. 94. vicarious t h r i l l s and an eaoape for a time from the d u l l r e a l i t i e s of their own more or les s humdrum l i v e s . This cl a s s of reader always has been and always w i l l be drawn to melodrama for the reasons that Fowler makes c l e a r . In Reade's worka they found the melodrama they aought. They saw goodneaa triumph; they saw wrong puniahed; they met no charaotera and l i t t l e philosophy d i f f i c u l t to underatand; they were t h r i l l e d and a t a r t l e d at timea and, above a l l elae, they were thoroughly entertained. They found aomething elae, however, which r a i s e d Reade's work above the l e v e l of much of the melodrama of i t s time and i t would be most unjuat to Reade i f thia were overlooked. He had a few undeniable g i f t a aa a writer one of which waa hia 8 k i l l i n narrative. The atory of Josephs, the voyage of the Agra, and the atory of the bur3ting of Ouaely dam are three examplea of Reade at hi8 beat and they i l l u a t r a t e the powerful and t e l l i n g prose whioh he aucoeeded at times i n writing.- He had a good f e e l i n g for words and hia proae often i a atrong and moving, a faot which even h i a sharpest c r i t i o a r e a d i l y admit. He made e f f e c t i v e uae of dialogue, too, and,in conaequence, hia atoriea move forward rapi d l y . Hia experience with the theatre undoubtedly a f f e c t e d the development of thia f a c u l t y for hia novela read at timea aa though they were, a3 one commentator remarked, dramatizationa for the atage. Reade conaciously atrove, not only to make h i s dialogue-effective aa auch, but to make uae of i t i n advancing hi8 atory. "When in a novel" he 3aid upon one 95. occasion "you f i n d yourself about to say something, p u l l up and ask - can'-t I make one of my dramatis personae say i t ? If you can, always do." ^ Reade managed to do t h i s success-f u l l y enough, for one cannot read much of h i s f i c t i o n with-out being impressed by the manner i n which h i s s t o r i e s are c a r r i e d along because of i t . His painstaking care i n not guessing where he could know paid him r i c h dividends i n h i s dialogue f o r , by and l a r g e , i t i s very true to l i f e and at times i t i s excellent, as i n the case of the Merchant of Venice scenes i n 0hri3tie Johnstone. Reade c e r t a i n l y knew that dialogue well used was an e f f e c t i v e means not only of capturing the inte r e s t of hia - , readers but of holding i t and, undoubtedly,he had t h i s i n mind when he wrote. S i m i l a r l y he knew that d e t a i l e d descrip-t i o n tends at timea to weary the oaaual reader ao he atead-f a a t l y avoided i t . With c h a r a c t e r i s t i c frankneaa he makes i t quite cl e a r that he eonaidered i t unneceaaary f o r he r e -ferred to auch works aa made uae of i t , notably thoae of Trollope and George E l i o t , aa "the ohronicle of amall beer." ' Sometimes h i a remarka i n paasing were quite amusing. P h i l -l i p s refers to the incident i n Hard Ca3h where Peterson, an Oxonian who has just seen J u l i a Dodd, "launches 1' as Reade says "into a rapturous description of the lady's person well worth leaving out." ^ Even h i s descriptions of people are 1. P h i l l i p s , op. c i t . , p. 203, 11. 8 -10. ~"~ 2 . Ibid., p. 207, 11. 10-11 . 3 . Ibid., p. 2 0 6 , ' 1 1 . 2 9 - 3 1 . 96. stripped of a l l superfluity though none quite so muoh as that of Jacky, the native i n I t , I s Never Too Late To Mend. "It i s usual? 3aya Reade of him,"in work3 of t h i a kind to give minute descriptions of people's dreas. I fear I have often v i o l a t e d thia r u l e . However, I w i l l not i n t h i a caae. Jacky'8 dreaa consi3ted of,, in front, a short purse made of ratakin; behind, a bran new tomahawk and two apeara. " ^ Though Reade c u r t a i l e d phyaical deacription i n hia novela and kept i t to the very minimum he di3regarded paycho-l o g i c a l analy8is and deacription aimoat e n t i r e l y . On thia point he waa moat at variance with Trollope, E l i o t , and the other r e a i i a t a , 30 c a l l e d at any rate, who sought to ahow i n th e i r f i c t i o n aome eff e c t of the impaot of circumatancea upon the naturea and charaotera of the people i n their f i o t i o n . Reade had no time for thi8, nor did he.feel that time ahould be 3pent i n character analysis for i n caating t h i a method aside he aaid,"In l i f e , people don't come to you labeled, •  2 explanation i n hand." He waa quite oorreot i n h i a atate-ment, of courae, but he did not r e a l i z e , apparently, that h i a people did that very thing. They were labeled and d e f i n i t e l y . caat for the r o l e s they were to play, and i f they did not come "explanation i n hand" i t waa only becauae they were ao tranaparent that they needed no aupporting comment from Reade. What Reade r e a l l y had i n mind waa that the time apeht i n d i a -1. P h i l l i p s , op. c i t . , p. 206, 11. 14-20. 2. Ibid., p. 207, 11. 7-8V 97. . cussing the e f f e c t of incident upon the people i n h i s f i c -tion, waa, i n a aenae, time waated, fo r the public preferred action to analysis, therefore hia e f f o r t 3 were directed to-wards making h i a f i c t i o n t h r i l l i n g , sensational, and dramatic at the expenae of both physical and p8ychological deacription.' When we consider that Reade aimed hi3 f i c t i o n squarely at the u n c r i t i c a l mass of h i s readers and when we,consider, too, that he c a r r i e d to the task c e r t a i n d e f i n i t e and con-siderable g i f t s as a writer, i t i a l i t t l e wonder that the reading public responded to h i s e f f o r t s a3 they d i d . His works, aa we have aeen, were eagerly read; he made a fortune with hia pen; and he held a place 3econd only to Dickens i n iihe a f f e c t i o n s of the public of h i s time. It i a true that the many controversies i n which he engaged throughout h i s career brought h i s name much before the public and the value of t h i s circumstance as advertising cannot be overlooked. Advertising, however, goe3 only so f a r and unleaa aupported by a worthy product.aoon loaea i t s effectiveness. There Is no doubt that h i s contemporaries oonaidered h i a product worthy of t h e i r patronage and their aupport l e d him to be-l i e v e , not only that he waa a noveliat of great importance to hi3 time, but that h i a f i c t i o n waa deatined to l i v e on. a f t e r him. To say that Reade i s not popular with the general read-ing public of today i s to understate the case a great deal. He i3 unknown and quite forgotten. It i s doubtful indeed i f one person i n f i f t y knows who he was and even fewer know any 9S. of his works except The C l o i s t e r And The Hearth, Even t h i s work i3 by no means popular for i t i s read today by the same class of reader that enjoyed i t at the time of i t s publica-tion, namely those who seek i n f i o t i o n 3ome comment upon l i f e and something more than sensationalism. This class i s . i n the minority and for every reader who asks that the f i c -t i o n he reads be probable and sound, there are hundreds who ask only that i t be interesting and melodramatic. The l a t t e r group has forsaken Reade's f i c t i o n and the i r o n i c fact remains that those who read him today belong to the group which i n h i s l i f e t i m e he made no e f f o r t to please. Although juat a few yeara ago S i r Hugh Walpole f e l t that much of what Reade wrote waa good and aome of i t ought to be revived, there i a no evidence, aa yet, that modern readers are l i k e l y to aocept h i s auggeation. Not even the cinema, that magic medium which ha3 brought about a r e - b i r t h of i n t e r -eat i n worka much leaa worthy of attention than many of Reade'a, haa taken upon i t a e l f the taak of preaenting Reade to thia generation* Thia i a rather a i g n i f i c a n t I think, f o r there i a much i n Reade that ahould do well i n the oinema. What Hollywood could do with the priaon atory i n It Ia Never  Too Late To Mend, or the aaylum 3cenea i n Hard Cash, or the atruggles with the tradea i n Put Youraelf In Hia Place i a a matter for intereating apeculation and i t i a my opinion that they could produce aomething quite apectacular i f they wiahed. Probably, however, there are many other aource3 of melodrama for them to tap without r i s k i n g anything on the works of a 99-• writer who i a now unknown. This bringa ua now to the r e a l reasons f o r Reade's eclipse. We know that he wrote a superior sort of melodrama and we know, too, that melodrama i s as popular today as i t was in Reade'a era. One of the reaaoria, then, that Reade'a melodrama i a no longer popular muat be that i t i s out-dated. The inhuman asylum keeper has been supplanted by the c a t t l e r u s t l e r , the claim-jumper, and the r e a l estate swindler of Western f i c t i o n . During the years of the l a s t war the Pruaaian o f f i c e r came into h i s own and i t was through play-ing auch parts i n the moving pictures of the time that E r i c h Von Stroheim won for himself the t i t l e of "the man you love to hate." The next stage saw the bootlegger and gangster used as v i l l a i n a , . and of late the 3waggering, aadiatic Nazi haa almoat excluaively played the part of the bad man. Who the v i l l a i n w i l l be tomorrow no one knows but, of course, he w i l l be there, though he may resemble Coventry, Meadows, Falcon and the rest of Reade's bad men i n deeds alone.' Each generation makes i t s own demands on the melodramatist and i t demands constantly that he keep h i 3 settings up to date. If he f a i l s to do so h i s works soon are cast aside. Reade, apparently, was well aware that the interest of the publio i s a capricious and v o l a t i l e thing. For t h i s reason h i s ear was always close to the ground to catch each hint of change as i t appeared during h i a l i f e t i m e . Unfor-tunately f o r h i a popularity he could not foreaee the many change3 that were to take place a f t e r h i 3 death and i t goea 100. without saying that he was quite unable to make h i s f i c t i o n s u i t those changes. A great deal has happened since Reade wrote and the e v i l s which shocked h i s followers a generation or so ago have long since ceased to ex i s t . Others have taken their place, of. course, and they are the subjeot matter of the modern melodramatist. To the modern reader of sensational l i t e r a t u r e the e v i l s of prison l i f e i n England seventy-five years ago pale into i n s i g n i f i c a n c e beside the s t o r i e s of Sing Sing, and D i l l i n g e r and A l Gapone make Hawes and Grotait seem saints by comparison. the writers df dime novels and pulp magazine " t h r i l l e r s " have usurped Reade's place not only because they are writing about topics that are more "timely" than Reade's but because, too, they are able to write in a manner that Reade oould not attempt i n h i s day. When we consider the storm of abuse that f e l l upon h i s head over the stories of G r i f f i t h Gaunt and A  Terribl e Temptation where "sex reared i t s ugly head" such a short distance, and when we consider the freedom both to read and write about the subject today, we can but marvel that such a vast change could be possible i n les3 than a hundred years. Had Reade t r i e d to write a f r a c t i o n of what i s written today i t i s doubtful, indeed, i f anyone would have published h i s works though i t i s quite c e r t a i n many would have been w i l l i n g to read them had they been published. The mere fa c t , then, that t h i s 3ubject wa3, i n large measure, forbidden to Reade and that i t scarcely appears at a l l i n h i s f i c t i o n i s a point held against him by modern devotees of sensationalism and when there 101. i s so much that i a "spicy" to be had nowadaya, i t i a no wonder that Reade'a daring, but l i m i t e d attempta at auch aub-jecta ahould be forgotten. Reade'a popularity waa not baaed en t i r e l y upon hia -appeal to lovera of raw, atark aenaationaliam. Many others read hia worka because they t o l d them of atrange landa and peoplea with which they had no acquaintance. Here, again, what Reade had to t e l l ha3 been loat i n the deluge of what haa been aaid aince. To begin with, many placea have been discovered which Reade did not even know about, but, more important than t h i a a c l a s s of l i t e r a t u r e haa been developed aince hia time which takea the reader everywhere under the aun. The3e booka are not worka of f i c t i o n at a l l but are factual accounta of journeys by t r a v e l l e r a and e x p l o r e r 3 . They are intereating and informative, and their popularity with the reading public provea beyond doubt that they f i l l a deeply-felt want. Such writinga as thoae of Richard Haliburton and Martin and Osa Johnaon enjoy a great vogue; and thoae of John liunther, Lelanci Stowe, Edgar Snow and other writera and oommentatora of the aame aort bear testimony to a broadening intereat and, I think, a aincere de8ire on the part of many to underatand better the world i n which they l i v e . It i a perhapa naive to say that a great many good books have been written 8ince Reade died; yet i t mu8t be aaid, for i t ha3 contributed to the decline of h i a popularity. The modern reader who wiahes to read about s o c i a l e v i l s , for 102. example, enjoys The Grapes Of Wrath better than Put Yourself  In His Place, not only because the s o c i a l i l l s with which the former deals are peculiar to our own era but also be-cause The Grapes Of Wrath i s a much better book than Put  Yourself In His Place. Steinbeck, Hemingway, D.H. Lawrence and a great many other n o v e l i s t s not only have the advantage over Reade i n being able to write with greater freedom about topics more suited to the modern taste, but they are un-questionably better n o v e l i s t s than Reade was. It would be incorrect to c a l l Hemingway a melodramatist, or D.H. Lawrence a sensationalist, or Steinbeck a mere commentator upon s o c i a l i l l s , for they are something more than these things. Each seeks to give a true picture of h i s time as he saw i t and each seeks to present hi3 picture through the medium of acceptable f i c t i o n . This, as we have seen, was what Reade waa not w i l l i n g to do for we cannot f e e l that h i s novels give a true picture of society i n h i s time, and i t i s c e r t a i n that they are not good f i c t i o n . The f a c t that 30 much good f i c t i o n i a a v a i l a b l e today merely robs Reade of part of the small following of discern-ing readera who might have been intereated i n h i a better worka. So f a r aa the great maaa of readers i8 concerned -the lovers of the sensational and melodramatio that he des-pised yet pandered to so much - th e i r interest i n what he had to o f f e r diminished greatly towards the end of h i s career and disappeared very shortly a f t e r h i a death for the aimple reason that nothing i n l i t e r a t u r e become3 so completely un-103. i n t e r e a t i n g j o r i n t e r e s t i n g only as a c u r i o s i t y , as the melo-drama of yesterday. Each age produces i t s own melodrama, and more has been produced so far i n the twentieth century than was ever produced before. Detective f i c t i o n , some of i t well written and moat of i t intereating i n i t a way, was p r a c t i c a l l y unknown i n Reade'a time yet i t would be quite" impo33ic-le to gauge the extent of i t a popularity today. The development of cheaper p r i n t i n g haa flooded the marketa of the world with True Love Stories, Western Storiea, Ghost Storiea, Horror Stories and matter of that aort ao that any-one with ten oenta i n h i a pocket at any corner shop or newa-'8tand may aatiafy hia craving for whatever t h r i l l he fanciea. Reade, of cour3e, i 3 not the only author whose worka have auffered whole or p a r t i a l neglect becau3e of an a l t e r e d taate i n l i t e r a t u r e on the part Of the reading public in general. Even the great writera of the paat, F i e l d i n g , Jane Au3ten, Thackeray and Dickena, do not enjoy today a f r a c t i o n of the popularity that waa theira when they were a l i v e . It i a indeed a tribute to th e i r greatneaa aa noveliats that i n the face of auoh competition a3 modern l i t e r a t u r e afforda them they hold their plaoe i n the intereat of the reading publio aa they do. Reade'a complete eclipae merely proves what many of h i a diaoernlng contemporariea feared, that he' waa not a great n o v e l i 3 t but a melodramatiat; a t e l l e r of talea rather than a atudent of l i f e . Reade aet the aeal upon hia own f a i l u r e when he choae to aubordinate character intereat to 3enaationism, for aa a 104. r e s u l t of t h i s choice he l e f t no characters that are remember-ed today, and, as we have seen, the f e r t i l e s i tuations of whioh he was so proud no longer bear the f r u i t of public approval. Apart from The C l o i s t e r And The Hearth there i s l i t t l e or nothing that might reasonably be expected to please the modern reader who seeks i n f i c t i o n some broad study of l i f e or some insight into human ac t i o n . The purple passages of Reade's narrative remain, but they are not enough to sus-t a i n his reputation and much of what he wrote reads l i k e something from yesterday's newspaper and i s about as i n t e r -esting. His "purpose" novels are l i t t l e more.than commentaries by Reade upon certa i n abuses common to English 3 o c i e t y dur-ing the la3t h a l f of the nineteenth century. What he said about them, and the method by which he attacked them proved interesting to his own generation. But that i n t e r e s t died with the century, and because h i s works lack the q u a l i t i e s that good f i c t i o n must have, they have l o s t t h e i r appeal for us. It i s curious, i n fact, that Reade even advanced them as h i s claim to fame for he must have been aware of the c r i t i c i s m that h i s disoerning contemporaries made of them and, more important than th i s , he indicated on at lea3t one occasion that he considered the type of f i c t i o n which they represented i n f e r i o r to that which i s represented by The  C l o i s t e r And The Hearth. We are forced to the conclusion, therefore, that Reade del i b e r a t e l y wrote sensationalism be-cause i t paid well and hi3 claims.for h i s purpose novels 105. • aeem l i t t l e more than r a t i o n a l i z a t i o n . It i a quite probable, of courae, that he conaidered the labour of a l i f e t i m e of aome value and the intereat which h i a aenaationalism rouaed among h i 8 contemporariea might eaaily have l e d him to attach more importance to i t than wa3 warranted. Aa i t turned out the intereat i n hia aenaational material waa 8hort l i v e d f o r i t did not long survive him. I. BIBLIOGRAPHY. 1. Burton, Richard, Maatera of the English novel, New York, Henry Holt and Company, 1932, 2. C e c i l , David, Early V i c t o r i a n n o v e l i s t s . London, Conatable and Company Ltd., 1935... 3. Croaa, Wilbur L., The development of the Engliah novel. New York, The MacMillan Company Ltd., 1935,. 4. Elwin, Malcolm, Oharlea Reade, London, Jonathan Cape, 1934. 5. Garnet, R. and Goaae., E,, Engliah l i t e r a t u r e , London, William Heineman, New York, The MacMillan Company,1903. 6. Granville-Barker, Harley, and othera, ed.,The Eighteen-Seventiea, Cambridge at the University Presa, 1929. 7. Legouia, Emile, A ahort hiatory of Engliah l i t e r a t u r e . Oxford at the Clarendon ..Preaa, 1935* 8. Legouia, Emile, and Cazamian, Louis, A hiatory of Engliah l i t e r a t u r e . London, J.M.Dent and Sona Ltd., 1937« 9. Lovett, R.M. and Hughes, H.S.,,The history of the novel i n England, Cambridge, The Riverside Preaa, Houghton-M i f f l i n Company, 1932. . _ 10. Perry, B l i s 3 , A atudy i n proae f i o t i o n . New York, Houghton-M i f f l i n Company, 1920. 11. P h i l l i p a , Walter C , Dickens,Reade,and Collina.Senaation noveliata. New York,Columbia Univeraity P r e a 8 , 1 9 1 9 . 12. Prieatley,J.B., The Engliah novel. London, Erneat Benn Ltd. 1933. 13. Quiiler-Couoh,Sir Arthur, Studiea i n literature.Cambridge at.the Univeraity Preaa, 1937. F i r a t aeriea. 14. Saintabury, George, The Engl i8h novel. London, J.M. Dent and Sona Ltd., 1931. 15. Swinburne, Algernon Charle3, Miaoellaniea, London, Chatto and Windua, 1911, 16. Weygandt,Corneliua, A century of the E n g l i 3 h novel, New York, The Century Co., I925... I I . BIBLIOGRAPHY. 17. Young, W.T., "Leaser noveliats, " Cambridge hiatory of Engliah literature,Cambridge Univeraity Preaa,1928, v o l . 13. 18. "Charlea Reade", Chambera'a oyolopaedia of Engliah l i t e r a t u r e , New York,Philadelphia, J.B. Lippinoott and Company, 1903, v o l . . 3«.. 19. "Charie8 Reade," Encyclopaedia Britannica, 9th ed., 1886,. v o l . 20. 20. "Charlea Reade," Encyclopaedia Britannica, 14th ed., 1937,. v o l . 19. 21. Fowler, H.W., "Melodrama," A dictionary of modern .Engliah usage," Oxford at the Clarendon Prea8,1937. 22. Reade, Charlea, Readiana, London, Chatto and Windua, 1890. 23. Reade, Charlea, Peg Woffington. New York, P..F.: C o l l i e r and Son. 24. Reade, Charlea, Chr i a t i e Johnatone, New York.- P. F. C o l l i e r and Son. . 25. Reade, Charlea, It Ia Never Too Late To Mend, New York, P. F. C o l l i e r and Son. 26. Reade, Charlea, The Cloiater And The Hearth, .New York, P. F. C o l l i e r and Son. 27. Reade, Charlea, Hard Caah, New York, P.F.Collier and Son. 28. Reade, Charle8, G r i f f i t h Gaunt,New York, P.F. C o l l i e r and Son. 29. Reade, Charlea, Foul Play. New York, P.F. C o l l i e r and Son. 30. Reade, Charlea, Put Your3elf In Hia Place, New York, P.. F. C o l l i e r and Son. 31. Reade, Charle3, A Terri b l e Temptation, New York, P. F. C o l l i e r and Son. n r . BIBLIOGRAPHY. 32. Reade, Charles, A Simpleton, New York, P. F. C o l l i e r and Son. 33. Reade, Charles, A Woman-Hater. New York, P.F. C o l l i e r and Son. PERIODICALS. Reviews of Reade's f i c t i o n i n the f o l l o w i n g p e r i o d i c a l s : The Athenaeum, p. 1205, September 26, IS57. p. 576, November 2, 166l. p. S75, December 26, I 8 6 3 . The A t l a n t i c Monthly, v o l . 1, p. 123, November, IS57. v o l . 4, p. 129, J u l y , 1659. v o l . 5 , p. 381, March, i 8 6 0 , v o l . 9, p. 270, February, 1862. v o l . 18, pp.767-769, December, 1866. v o l . 22, p. 254,. August, 1868. v o l . 26, p. 383, September,1871. v o l . 32, p. 501, October, IS73. v o l . 40, p. 507, October, I 8 7 7 , Bentley's M i s c e l l a n y , v o l . 40, p. 292, I S 5 6 . Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, v o l . 77, P. 5§7, vol.102, p. 262, vol . 1 0 6 , p. 510, v o l . 1 0 7 , p. 647, vol.108, p, 185, , vol.110, p. 477, vol . 1 2 5 , p. 332, vol.147, P. 708, May, 1855- • • September, I 8 6 7 . October, I 8 6 9 . May, 1870.. August, I87O. October, 1871. March, I879 . June, 1887. The Century Magazine, v o l . 2, p. 668, v o l . 14, p. 720, October, 1671. September, I S 7 7 . I V . PERIODICALS; The Edinburgh Review, v o l . 106, p. 127, July, IS57. The Fortnightly Review, vo l . 14, pp..406-407. Harper's New Monthly Magazine, v o l . 41, p..459, June to November, IS70. v o l . 47, p. 77o» June to November, 1873• v o l . 55, P« 4o7, June to November, 1877• The Nation, v o l . 3 , P« 56, June, 1866. v o l . 10, p. 423, June, I870. v o l . 13, p. 107, August,1871. v o l . 25, p. 44, July, 1877. 

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