Robert (Smythe) Hichens Criticism - Essay

Frederic Taber Cooper (essay date 1912)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Robert Hichens," in Some English Story Tellers: A Book of the Younger Novelists, Henry Holt and Company, 1912, pp. 342-75.

[An American educator, biographer, and editor, Cooper served for many years as literary critic at the Bookman, a popular early twentieth-century literary magazine. In the following essay, he surveys Hichens's early works, from The Green Carnation to The Fruitful Vine, commenting on his themes, style, and development as a writer.]

It is almost a score of years since Mr. Robert Hichens first sprang into local notoriety through The Green Carnation, which set all London buzzing hotly anent the identity of its bold...

(The entire section is 7967 words.)

Harold Williams (essay date 1918)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "The Contemporary Novel," in Modern English Writers: Being a Study of Imaginative Literature, 1890-1914, Sidgwick & Jackson, Limited, 1919, pp. 355-416.

[In the following excerpt, which was originally published in 1918, Williams provides an overview of Hichens's novels in which he judges their relative strengths and weaknesses.] There are aspects in which the novels of Mr. Robert Hichens are not unlike those of Mr. Conrad. He combines elements of romance, of realism, and the study of motives, causes and mental phenomena. When a young man he came to London to become a student of the Royal College of Music; but by a happy inspiration he chose the moment when the aesthetic...

(The entire section is 1393 words.)

Abel Chevalley (essay date 1921)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Development of the English Novel during the Past Thirty Years," in The Modern English Novel, translated by Ben Ray Redman, Alfred A. Knopf, 1925, pp. 117-34.

[In the following excerpt, which was originally published in French in 1921, Chevalley contends that Hichens's later works did not fulfill the promise of his earlier writings.]

Why has [Robert Hichens] not given us all that he promised? It seems that he has lost himself in an excess of analysis, in a vain effort to attain the inaccessible, which may perhaps be explained by his musical education and his essays in occultism.

In 1894 he published The Green Carnation, a cutting satire...

(The entire section is 440 words.)

Lacon (essay date 1925)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Mr. Robert Smythe Hichens," in Lectures to Living Authors, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1925, pp. 93-9.

[In the following essay, Lacon writes in the form of a lecture to Hichens on the overall course of his career.]

There was once a singular institution called, somewhat grandiloquently, the London School of Journalism. I gather from the public press that schools purporting to teach the art of writing, journalistic or other, flourish even in the present day: there may even, by now, be another bearing the same title. They arise, and fade, and rise again. And there is, I suppose, a certain part of the journalistic trade that can actually be taught—given a teacher...

(The entire section is 2021 words.)

St. John Adcock (essay date 1928)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Robert Hichens," in The Glory That Was Grub Street: Impressions of Contemporary Authors, The Musson Book Company Limited, n.d., pp. 105-14.

[An English author whose works often concern the city of London, Adcock served as editor of the London Bookman from 1923 until his death in 1930. In the following essay, he focuses on Hichens's literary beginnings and his novel The Garden of Allah.]

There is a tradition that every novelist began as a writer of verse, and if Robert Hichens did not exactly conform to it, he did not altogether break with it, for in his youth he wrote both verse and prose, but without regarding either as the business of his life. His...

(The entire section is 2414 words.)