Wednesday 1 April 2009

Edgar Wallace - Quite a Life...

Idly noting that it's the birthday of Edgar Wallace today, I looked him up on Wikipedia. I did not expect to find this - surely one of the most colourful (not to mention profitable and prolific) literary lives of the 20th century. I read on to the end with mounting astonishment - and can only suggest you do the same. Wallace's life and career make even the great Jeff's seem like pallid stuff - though Wallace did at least stay out of jail (thanks in large part to the extraordinary indulgence of Lord Rothermere). What's really surprising is that there doesn't seem to be, as far as I can make out, a modern biography of Edgar Wallace. The story is a gift - someone should pick it up.


  1. I think the story is too convoluted for a movie treatment - it would have to be about a day long to get all that story in!!!

    love this quote -

    "What is a highbrow? He is a man who has found something more interesting than women."

    I've never heard the word 'highbrow' used as a prototypically referential noun like that before

    ...and ultimately, how weird and full of hubris that someone who was the most read man on the planet not that long ago is now almost completely unknown.

    We can but hope the same fate befalls Jeffrey Archer.

  2. This list includes books about Edgar Wallace (at the left, under "Refine Your Search," you can limit it by years).

  3. Thanks, Dave - magnificent!

  4. "What is a highbrow? He is a man who has found something more interesting than women."

    Of course, he said that before they invented Viagra.

  5. It's a variant of "An intellectual is someone who has discovered something more interesting than sex". But which came first?

  6. Oddly, Dearieme, our Edgar seems to have come up with both - and they seem to be the only quotes of his anyone's bothered to collect. I'm sure there must be more good stuff...

  7. Now that is interesting - two quotes saying the same thing.

    Don't forget his two other famous epigrams:

    "A genius is a man who finds he prefers persuing words to chasing birds."


    "You know, I just can't seem to get laid any more."

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