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John Buchan's uncollected journalism: A critical and bibliographic investigation

Clarke, Roger John

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Roger John Clarke


John Buchan (1875-1940) has a literary reputation as a minor novelist, based mainly on his success as a popular fiction writer, the inventor of the spy thriller in his best-known novel, The Thirty-Nine Steps (1915). Although there has been considerably increased scholarly interest in his work in recent years, the perception that he is mainly a genre writer persists and has limited the success of attempts to move his literary reputation towards the academic mainstream. Other areas of his writing have received some recognition, but his uncollected journalism has remained a neglected aspect of his work, largely overlooked even by Buchan specialists.
This thesis brings an academic focus to Buchan's uncollected journalism for the first time. It breaks new ground by examining the style, structure, and content of his articles and reviews, and argues that Buchan should be considered as an essayist of elegance and authority, an astute literary critic attuned to contemporary trends, and a wide-ranging cultural commentator on his times.
The thesis shows that Buchan's uncollected journalism, in its volume and range, provides a major field for the additional research which is clearly required if Buchan's literary reputation is to be further enhanced. It aims to make a significant contribution by opening up this area of his work to future study in two entirely new ways. First, it contains an extensive catalogue of his uncollected journalism, over a thousand items in total, with each article categorised and summarised as an aid to future researchers, features which have never before been available. The catalogue also contains a hundred articles and reviews which have not been included in any previous bibliography. Secondly, it provides a selection of annotated articles which could form the basis of the first critical edition of Buchan's essays to be issued in order to promote further recognition of this aspect of his writing.


Clarke, R. J. John Buchan's uncollected journalism: A critical and bibliographic investigation. (Thesis). University of the West of England. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Publicly Available Date Jun 6, 2019
Keywords essayist, literary, critic, middlebrow, modernism, cultural, commentator, thriller, fiction, themes, sources, articles, reviews, catalogue, poetry, biography, history, philosophy, politics, imperialism, war, economics, exploration, mountaineering, Edwardi
Public URL
Award Date Jan 29, 2015


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