The value of pulp fictionBMJ 2008; 336 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39560.553229.94 (Published 01 May 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:1023
- Theodore Dalrymple, writer and retired doctor
There is more to great literature than good writing, of course, for even the most arrant nonsense can be well written. And it is my impression that the pulp writers of yesteryear were better stylists than the pulp writers of today.
Algernon Blackwood, for example, who lived from 1869 to 1951, was a fine stylist whose prose even contained subtle psychological and social observations. His plots are mainly absurd, but his urbanity is pleasurable. For example, The Wings of Horus, in which a man of overheated imagination believes himself possessed by the old Egyptian god, takes place before the first world war in an Egyptian hotel to which rich invalids have …