How to Write a Novel, 1901

Gutenberg has a nice little 1901 book called How to Write a Novel, by Anonymous. He helpfully takes most of his material from interviews with various Victorian and Edwardian authors, mostly the genre kind, and includes “stories of other worlds” and “the supernatural” in his survey. A fair number of one’s sworn enemies from English class also show a human writerly face. There’s also an interesting section on short stories versus novels.

Anyway, the really fascinating bit is at the end, where Poe describes how he got the idea for “The Raven,” and makes it clear that he was in no way a poet who wrote on inspiration, but rather a construct-y type poet as well as a short story writer. He sounds like a Nashville songwriter, honestly. (And that’s not a bad thing.)


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