Surviving the test of time

Bestselling Novels
1.The Broad HighwayJeffrey Farnol
2.The Prodigal JudgeVaughan Kester
3.The Winning of Barbara WorthHarold Bell Wright
4.QueedHenry Sydnor Harrison
5.The HarvesterGene Stratton Porter
6.The Iron WomanMargaret Deland
7.The Long RollMary Johnston
8.Molly Make-BelieveEleanor Abbott
9.The RosaryFlorence L. Barclay
10.The Common LawRobert W. Chambers

How many of these writers or novels do you recognize? They are the 10 best-selling authors of exactly 100 years ago. I am a reasonably well-read individual, and I have to admit that I have never heard of any of these books or any of these authors except for Robert W. Chambers, who also wrote the ur-Lovecraftian collection of short stories entitled The King in Yellow. One of the things that became clear in last week’s discussion about the literary decline of the fantasy genre, (or, as I would argue, the literary decline of the SF/F genre), is that very few of those involved in the discussion appeared to fully realize just how unusual it is for literary works to survive 70 years, as the works of Robert E. Howard and J.R.R. Tolkien have, let alone 100. Nor, as should be readily apparent from the names and titles on this bestseller’s list from 1911, should one be inclined to confuse book sales with literary longevity, let alone immortality.

Read the entire post at the Black Gate. Then comment here, or there, as you prefer.