Eden Phillpotts Analysis


(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

Eden Phillpotts’s significance in the history of mystery and detective fiction derives largely from his occasional inventiveness in the matter of how fictional crimes are committed and, more important, from his highly detailed and carefully crafted descriptions of southwest England, the setting for most of his work. This area, which includes Dartmoor National Park, contains hundreds of square miles of rolling moorland, within which are mysterious mists, fierce winds, and peaceful villages. His careful evocation of the spirit of this region informs almost all of his fiction. Phillpotts also achieved some standing in the English literary community for his novels about the moors, and his forays into detective fiction certainly helped to legitimize the genre for many in the English-reading public.


(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

Barzun, Jacques, and Wendell Hertig Taylor. “Preface to ’Found Drowned.’” In A Book of Prefaces to Fifty Classics of Crime Fiction, 1900-1950. New York: Garland, 1976. Preface by two preeminent scholars of mystery and detective fiction, arguing for Phillpott’s novel’s place in the annals of the genre.

Day, Kenneth F. Eden Phillpotts on Dartmoor. North Pomfret, Vt.: David & Charles, 1981. Study of Phillpotts’s home and haunts, as well as of his fictionalized representation of them in his novels.

Dayananda, James Y., ed. Eden Phillpotts (1862-1960): Selected Letters. Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 1984. Collected personal and professional correspondence of Phillpotts; provides invaluable insights into his life and work.

Girvan, Waveney, ed. Eden Phillpotts: An Assessment and a Tribute. London: Hutchinson, 1953. Collection of homages to Philpotts by his professional admirers.

Hanson, Gillian Mary. City and Shore: The Function of Setting in the British Mystery. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, 2004. A useful work for contextualizing Phillpotts’s distinctive use of the moors of England in his fiction. Bibliographic references and index.

Horsley, Lee. Twentieth-Century Crime Fiction. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005. Looks at the history of detective fiction and contains a chapter on classic detective fiction and how it changed that sheds light on Phillpotts’s work.