Lester Dent Analysis


(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

Writing under the publisher-imposed pseudonym Kenneth Robeson, Lester Dent created the Doc Savage character, who, along with the Shadow, became one of the most popular heroes of pulp magazines during the 1930’s and 1940’s. He also wrote seven novels and numerous short stories featuring a variety of detectives. His crime fiction is widely regarded as epitomizing the best of the Black Mask school of writers, although he published only two tales, “Sail” and “Angelfish,” in that magazine. Over time, however, his work on the Doc Savage material, for which he was paid handsomely, seems to have dulled his talent.


(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

Cannaday, Marilyn. Bigger than Life: The Creator of Doc Savage. Bowling Green, Ohio: Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 1990. Scholarly study of Dent’s life and his most famous creation, geared toward the nonscholarly reader.

Farmer, Philip Jose. Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life. Rev. ed. New York: Bantam, 1975. Lengthy treatise on Doc Savage that includes a biography of Dent and a bibliography of all Doc Savage’s adventures.

Goulart, Ron. Cheap Thrills: An Informal History of the Pulp Magazines. New Rochelle, N.Y.: Arlington House, 1972. The chapter “Doc Savage and His Circle” discusses the importance of Doc Savage to the success and evolution of pulp fiction.

Haining, Peter. The Classic Era of American Pulp Magazines. Chicago: Chicago Review Press, 2000. Looks at Dent’s contribution to the pulps and the relationship of pulp fiction to its more respectable literary cousins.

Hutchison, Don. The Great Pulp Heroes. Buffalo, N.Y.: Mosaic Press, 1996. Doc Savage is compared with his equally famous codenizens of the pulps: the Shadow, Tarzan, Zorro, and so on.

McCarey-Laird, M. Martin. Lester Dent: The Man, His Craft, and His Market. West Des Moines, Iowa: Hidalgo, 1994. Biography that looks at the life and works of this man, focusing on his writing.

Widen, Larry, and Chris Miracle. Doc Savage, Arch Enemy of Evil: A Pictoral Reference to the Man of Bronze. Milwaukee, Wis.: Fantasticon Press, 1993. A bibliography of Doc Savage works.