H. M. Tomlinson Criticism - Essay

Robert Lynd (essay date 1923)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Mr. H. M. Tomlinson," in Books and Authors, G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1923, pp. 252-59.

[In the following essay, Lynd offers an appreciation of Tomlinson and his works.]

Mr. Tomlinson is a born traveller. There are two sorts of travellers—those who do what they are told and those who do what they please. Mr. Tomlinson has never moved about the world in obedience to a guide-book. He would find it almost as difficult to read a guide-book as to write one. He never echoes other men's curiosity. He travels for the purpose neither of information nor conversation. He has no motive but whim. His imagination goes roaming; and, his imagination and his temper being such as...

(The entire section is 1675 words.)

Edmund Blunden (essay date 1925)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "H. M. Tomlinson," in Edmund Blunden: A Selection of His Poetry and Prose, edited by Kenneth Hopkins, Rupert Hart-Davis, 1925, pp. 303-08.

[In the following essay, originally published in 1925, Blunden praises Tomlinson's writing style and ability to evoke landscapes and scenes.]

The author of The Sea and the Jungle has not had his share of the talk about the moderns. Neither personal nor critical studies of H. M. Tomlinson have multiplied, though such things are by no means out of fashion. He himself probably never thinks of this comparative neglect, and would, I believe, respond to an interview with something like Hamlet's "I am too much i' the...

(The entire section is 2171 words.)

J. B. Priestley (essay date 1927)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "H. M. Tomlinson," in Saturday Review of Literature, Vol. 3, No. 23, January, 1927, pp. 477-78.

[In the following essay, Priestley praises Tomlinson's realistic portrayal of his travels.]

Most of his readers, perhaps all but the most astute, would be surprised if they met him. There is nothing of the traveler about H. M. Tomlinson. He is not bronzed, hearty, hail-fellow-well-met, nor does he carry with him any suggestion of great distances and strange suns. Yet his appearance, I think, is significant, revealing not a little of his secret. At a first superficial glance, he looks like a rather hard-bitten city clerk. At a second glance, he looks like a gnome, who...

(The entire section is 2786 words.)

John Freeman (essay date 1927)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Mr. H. M. Tomlinson," in London Mercury, Vol. 16, No. 94, August, 1927, pp. 400-08.

[In the following essay, Freeman describes Tomlinson's journeys as portrayed in his writings, particularly The Sea and the Jungle.]


Nothing now is left remarkable, except the flatness of the world; curiosity has destroyed whatever is curious, and invention has overtaken invention until we are fatigued by wonders and retreat into the unfathomably familiar.

It is not Mr. Tomlinson that leads me to talk thus, but the announcement, recently made, that liners are ready to take you a thousand miles up the Amazon into the heart of America....

(The entire section is 4816 words.)

Frederick P. Mayer (essay date 1928)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "H. M. Tomlinson: The Eternal Youth," in Virginia Quarterly Review, Vol. 4, No. 1, 1928, pp. 72-82.

[In the following essay, Mayer disputes the comparison of Tomlinson with Joseph Conrad, noting Tomlinson's unique abilities as a writer.]


Because his book is labeled fiction, H. M. Tomlinson, with the publication of his first novel, Gallions Reach, is gaining fame. Before, Tomlinson, essayist and traveler, enjoyed but a limited distinction. Recently, however, and mainly through Gallions Reach, there has grown a Tomlinson vogue. He has been praised as "a second Conrad."

The truth is,...

(The entire section is 3630 words.)

Odell Shepard (essay date 1931)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "In the Great Tradition," in Yale Review, Vol. 20, No. 4, June, 1931, pp. 843-44.

[In the following review of Out of Sounding, Shepard praises Tomlinson's ability to evoke a mood of nostalgia-]

Until one has read halfway through this book [Out of Soundings] one regards it as merely another collection of random essays such as Mr. Tomlinson has given us before and may, if we are lucky, give us again. Gradually there emerges, however, not so much a plan and purpose as a tendency of thought or tone of feeling, perhaps not entirely conscious in the author's mind, which produces at least the unity of mood. By the time the reader lays down the...

(The entire section is 472 words.)

D. H. Lawrence (essay date 1936)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Review of Books: Gifts of Fortune, by H. M. Tomlinson," in Phoenix: The Posthumous Papers of D. H. Lawrence, edited by Edward D. McDonald, The Viking Press, 1936, pp. 342-45.

[In the following essay, Lawrence declares Tomlinson to be not a travel writer, but a writer exploring what Lawrence calls "coasts of illusion," meaning travel by mind and soul to a world uncorrupted by disillusionment.]

Gifts of Fortune is not a travel-book. It is not even, as the jacket describes it, a book of travel memories. Travel in this case is a stream of reflections, where images inter-twine with dark thoughts and obscure emotion, and the whole flows on...

(The entire section is 1748 words.)

Helen and Richard Altick (essay date 1943)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Square-Rigger on a Modern Mission," in College English, Vol. 5, No. 2, November, 1943, pp. 75-80.

[In the following essay, the Alticks discuss Tomlinson as an anti-war writer.]

Henry Major Tomlinson in the era-between-wars was one of those writers against war whom Mr. MacLeish has categorically accused of having contributed much to the so-called "psychological disarmament" of the democracies. History will decide whether eventually he will be sanctified as a passionate but unheeded prophet or assigned a particularly bleak station in the outer darkness as an unwitting but effective saboteur of democratic morale. The results of the present war must first be in,...

(The entire section is 2902 words.)

Alva A. Gay (essay date 1958)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "H. M. Tomlinson, Essayist and Traveller," in Studies in Honor of John Wilcox, edited by A. Dayle Wallace with Woodburn O. Ross, Books for Libraries Press, 1958, pp. 209-17.

[In the following essay, Gay discusses Tomlinson's pre-1940 works.]

In 1950 the Londoner, H. M. Tomlinson, journalist, novelist, essayist, traveller, published a collection of essays under the title The Face of the Earth. One wonders to how many of those who chanced upon it the name of its author evoked nostalgic memories of other of his books not reread in years. To most readers born between the 1914 and 1939 wars the name would probably be no more than just that—a name....

(The entire section is 2992 words.)

Derek Severn (essay date 1979)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "A Minor Master," in London Magazine, Vol. 18, No. 11, February, 1979, pp. 47-58.

[In the following essay, Severn offers a post-centenary appreciation of Tomlinson's work.]

The changes of taste and fashion since the war have suppressed, at least for the time being, a number of distinguished reputations. One thinks, for example, of R. C. Hutchinson, William Gerhardie, Hugh Kingsmill, Forrest Reid and R. B. Cunninghame Graham. H. M. Tomlinson is another of the casualties. His centenary in 1973 passed without notice, and not one of his thirty books is now in print in this country. But he was a writer of singular integrity and individuality who published nothing...

(The entire section is 4819 words.)