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Monday, April 16, 2018

Thornton P. Knowles On History's Worst Novelist

In 1897, the Irish novelist and poet, Amanda McKittrick Ros, published her first novel, Irene Iddesleigh. The opening line of this novel represents a writing ability and style that rightfully earned her the unofficial title of history's worst novelist: "Have you ever visited that portion of Erin's plot that offers its sympathetic soil for the minute survey and scrutinous (sic) examination of those in political power, whose decision has wisely been the means before now of converting the stern prejudiced, reaching the land of slight and to share its strength in augmenting its agricultural richness?" A lot of deep purple writing can at least be unintentionally funny. No so with Ros. Compared to this novelist, my worst writing student wrote like Ernest Hemingway.

Thornton P. Knowles

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