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Writers, Readers, and ReputationsLiterary Life in Britain 1870-1918$
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Philip Waller

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199541201

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199541201.001.0001

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Authors at Play: Nat Gould Leads the Field

Authors at Play: Nat Gould Leads the Field

Chapter:
(p.817) 23 Authors at Play: Nat Gould Leads the Field
Source:
Writers, Readers, and Reputations
Author(s):

Philip Waller (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199541201.003.0023

Conventional literary histories ignore the extent to which sport has been a source of human drama quite as much as love, politics, war, religion, crime, and adventure. This chapter redresses that omission by detailing the wide range of authors' participation in and passion for sport in this period. Above all, Nat Gould was the best-seller of stories about horse-racing. He usually included some romantic interest and criminal activity, but what gave his work its distinction was the thrilling descriptions of horse races. He was immensely productive, writing 130 books at the rate of about five a year. His total sales, some 24 millions by the mid-1920s, probably exceed those of any contemporary writer; but because of the format in which he published — the cheap ‘yellowback’ or paperback — his remuneration was less than that of Hall Caine or Marie Corelli. The chapter also brings out Gould's egalitarian yet conservative social philosophy, along with the importance of the time he spent in Australia being recognised.

Keywords:   sport, horse-racing, best-seller, paperback, australia, nat Gould

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