Kari Sperring (la_marquise_de_) wrote,
Kari Sperring
la_marquise_de_

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Forgotten writers?

So, The Guardian has an interesting article today about forgotten writers. Literary Hero to Zero

Being me, I am of course certain that I will be forgotten myself (without having ever reached the heights of minor recognition, let alone 'hero') apart perhaps for some of my academic pieces. And that's fine with me, too. Also being me, I've read at least 3 of the 'forgotten' writers mentioned here (Morgan, Dreiser, Wilson) and heard of all the others apart from Mary Mann. But I'm not typical, I suspect (I have a widely -read mother and I have been known to read historical literary criticism for fun and then tracked down the books.)
The article focuses on 'literary' writers. There are names it doesn't mention -- Rosamund Lehman, John Fowles, Elizabeth Taylor, Elizabeth Bowen -- which I hope means people are still assumed to be reading them. There are, of course, far more 'forgotten' genre writers who were huge in their time -- Weyman, Sabatini, even Michael Innes, who was A N Wilson under a pseudonym.
As the article shows in the case of Virigina Woolf, writers can go out of fashion and be rediscovered, or indeed rescued from obscurity entirely. Dumas has never stopped being read or being in print but he has only begun to be accepted by the literary establishment as more than just a 'popular' writer in the last quarter century or so. On the flip side, Dickens was canonised almost at once, despite his popularity, and remains so despite the problems of misogyny, classism and sentimentality in is work. (I do not like Dickens. If I'm going to read social realism of that period, I'll take Balzac and Dostoyevsky.)
Who are your favourite forgotten writers? And who do you predict may be the writers canonised into fame by later generations? I'd like to see a rise in the recognition of Anne Bronte over her sisters, of Emily Eden, Rosamund Lehman and Rumer Godden. And, moving closer to now, Patricia Geary, Pat Murphy, Tanith Lee (who really belongs up there with Angela Carter already), Justina Robson, Judith Tarr and Zenna Henderson.

Skirt of the day: embroidered jeans.
Tags: books
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