Re: RARA-AVIS: Robert Martin

Date: 10 Mar 2006

I always felt that Robert Martin was too quiet and introspective a writer to find much purchase in the noisy Fifties. He wrote well and honestly about the human condition and his people were folks I knew well from my own experiences. He was especially good with women in trouble.

Very few writers are rediscovered, I've come to realize. Those who last seem to have been popular in their own time. I just re-read The King in Yellow by Robert W. Chabers (you want spooky, he gives you spooky, and he also gives you a portrait worthy of O' Henry of NYC at the turn of the last century) and in the edition I have the intro writer talks about how Chambers was re-discovered. Well, he was a best-seller for many years, albeit of soapy novels for women. So his name was familiar to the horror critics of the 1920s who realized that he'd written a collection of horror stories worth looking into.

There are of course exceptions--obscure writers are occasionally raised from their graves to find enormous new audiences waiting for them. But as I said I tend to think's rare. Congrats to Felton and Niebuhr for excellent work on this excellent writer.

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