Youmans (pronounced like 'yeoman' with an 's' added) is the best-kept secret
among contemporary American writers. --John Wilson, editor, Books and Culture Marly Youmans is a novelist and poet out of sync with the times
but in tune with the ages. --First Things

Monday, May 13, 2013

"Pretty well"

"In short, I am an ignoramus, but pretty well for a yeoman." -R. D. Blackmore, Lorna Doone

The "romance of Exmoor" was at first self-published (1869), or, as would have been said, "privately printed." The book did not sell very well. But the next year it caught fire with readers and has never been out of print since. Lorna Doone was admired by Mrs. Oliphant, Robert Louis Stevenson, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and Hardy. Now there's a self-publishing story!


  1. I do not think that I have read 'Lorna Doone'!
    Ok..... I am on it now! How did I miss it?
    (Poor marketing?)
    HA! : )

  2. I've always been fond of the voice of John Ridd, in the same way that I like the voice of Gabriel Betteredge in the first part of Wilkie Collins' "The Moonstone": forthright, earnest and honest, full of color and grounded in place.

  3. I'm afraid I have only eaten the cookies.

  4. Naughty! The romance is much better than the cookies! It's a wild concoction of folk materials, history, pastoral, and local color. It's contemporary with "The Moonstone," and the two have a good bit in common in mode, and both are part of the "sensationalist" novel.


Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.