Reading Keeler

Some writers are born great, some writers achieve greatness, and some writers have greatness thrust upon them.

Harry Stephen Keeler is none of those writers.

This blog is host to an ongoing essay series discussing the novels of a true American original, Harry Stephen Keeler. Notable for his combination of an absolutely stupendous imagination and a total lack of good judgment, Keeler published a series of far too many pulp fiction novels from 1924 to 1953, when his last publisher got fed up with him. Keeler’s stories usually combine a staggering number of different plotlines which resolve in thrillingly weird ways: a murder, a love story, skulls and safes, bizarre wills, inscrutable Chinese mobsters and other amateurish racial stereotypes, and a prose style which can be most charitably described as “enthusiastic.”

This page will list all the Keeler essays I’ve completed to date, each covering one of our hero’s gloriously absurd “web-work” classics.

1. Stand By–London Calling! (1953) (19 Feb 2011)
2. Behind That Mask (1933) (23 Feb 2011)
3. The Amazing Web (1929) (15 Mar 2011)
4. The Riddle of the Traveling Skull (1934) (5 Apr 2011)
5. The Spectacles of Mr. Cagliostro (1924) (10 Apr 2011)
6. Find Actor Hart / Portrait of Jirjohn Cobb (forthcoming)
7. The Crilly Court Case (forthcoming)

I should note that all of my Keeler reading takes place at the British Library, which has a complete collection of the HSK novels published in England. If you want to read more about Harry Stephen Keeler and his wild, warped, and wonderful novels, visit the homepage of the Harry Stephen Keeler Society, read two of his novels online for free, follow HarrySKeeler on Twitter, or check out Ramble House, a press which is keeping every Keeler book in print.

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