Gibbs list updated

A few weeks ago I posted a checklist of the novels of Philip Gibbs. Several readers kindly sent in suggestions for additions or corrections. I have now incorporated these, and the list is updated.

At the Sheffield Hallam popular fiction reading group, we have been reading Gibbs this month. I read The Winding Lane, his 1931 study of a middlebrow novelist caught between, on the one hand, the pretensions of the intellectual coterie who write the book reviews, and on the other, the vulgarity of the mass market. It’s an interesting study in the sociology of literature, though not a very good novel. My review is online here.

Two members of the group read The Reckless Lady (1924) and thoroughly enjoyed it, finding it readable and interesting. One of them has written a review that is online here.
I’m really glad they liked the book, since it was I who suggested Gibbs as author of the month. I had been afraid that people might find some of his books stodgy.

Others read some of his later (post-1940) novels and were less impressed. Gibbs was a journalist-novelist, and the best of his early novels were essentially eye-witness accounts. I get the impression that later ones were more second-hand, re-hashes of what he had read in the papers, rather than what he had seen.

Googling the 1932 novel The Anxious Days, in an attempt to find out what it was about, I found this paragraph from it, which I rather like:

There was the author of the latest “best seller”, condemned to the flames of hell—and magnificently advertised—by that austere moralist, Mr. James Douglas. She was a young creature with her pretty back bare to her waist, looking as innocent as a German doll.

James Douglas was the journalist who loved to kick up campaigns against books he considered immoral. He succesfully inspired prosecutions of Lawrence’s The Rainbow, of Rose Allatini’s Despised and Rejected, and of Radclyffe Hall’s The Well of Loneliness. He tried to stir things up about Arnold Bennett’s The Pretty Lady, but Bennett was too smart for him.

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