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Creator / Amanda McKittrick Ros

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Have you ever visited that portion of Erin's plot that offers its sympathetic soil for the minute survey and scrutinous examination of those in political power, whose decision has wisely been the means before now of converting the stern and prejudiced, and reaching the hand of slight aid to share its strength in augmenting its agricultural richness?
—Opening lines of Delina Delaney

I first read this sentence nearly three years ago. Since then, I have read it once a week in an increasingly desperate search for meaning. But I still don't understand it.
Nick Page, In Search of the World's Worst Writers, on the above sentence.
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The zenith of the nadir of the art of literary craftsmanship, Amanda McKittrick Ros (1860-1939) penned prose of an extravagantly amethyst tint, with plots involving sorrow and the ruination of lives.

Robbed, she was, of a self-perpendicular perception of the mirthfulness of her volcanic verbosity, and those carping, craven, cack-handed criticasters who dared to draw the attention of the patient public to her insignificant lapses from literary excellence never failed to draw the livid lightning of her righteous wrath.

The Inklings, a gathering of wordsmiths whose ranks included C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien, had a roaring time with the attempt to see who could go through these works of hers and hold back mirth for more time than others. Also among the ranks of her detractors the world over were Mark Twain and Aldous Huxley, the latter of whom explicitly compared her to the Euphuists from whom she was removed by at least three centuries and whose style she somehow managed to independently emulate even though she was by no means of a background wealthy enough to have even studied them.

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Tomes crafted by her pen:

  • Irene Iddesleigh (a tale of some length)
  • Delina Delaney (a tale of some length)
  • Poems of Puncture (containing verse of her crafting)
  • Fumes of Formation (containing verse of her crafting)
  • Helen Huddleson (a tale of some length that was never prepared for the machines to press letters upon paper in patterns identical to what she had herself pressed to paper for it while her body yet had blood and neural signals flowing through it, occurring as such only one and a half score revolutions about the sun after all such activity within her mortal vessel abruptly ceasednote )


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Tropes employed in her works:

  • Added Alliterative Appeal: It certainly appealed to her!
  • Alliterative Title: All of her tomes: Irene Iddesleigh, Delina Delaney, Poems of Puncture, Fumes of Formation, and Helen Huddleson.
  • Aside Comment: All of her books had Ros addressing the reader directly, asking them their opinion.
  • Can't Take Criticism: Ros attacked her critics vociferously, calling them "bastard donkey-headed mites" and "clay crabs of corruption".
  • Flowery Elizabethan English: Befitting her status as "an Elizabethan born out of her time", her characters, at least in Irene Iddesleigh and for the few times they do speak, randomly dip into Middle English for words such as "thou".
  • Giftedly Bad:
    • When your œuvres can transform such crafters of the written word as C. S. Lewis and Tolkien into trolls, you are the possessor of a decidedly "special" talent.
    • Huxley pointed out in his 1923 essay Euphues Redivivus how she managed to channel the Euphuist movement from Elizabethan times even though she in all likelihood never got the chance to study them.note 
      “In Mrs. Ros we see, as we see in the Elizabethan novelists, the result of the discovery of art by an unsophisticated mind and of its first conscious attempt to produce the artistic. It is remarkable how late in the history of every literature simplicity is invented. The first attempts of any people to be consciously literary are always productive of the most elaborate artificiality.”
    • Contemporary critic Barry Pain stated she was "a thing that happens once in a million years. There is no one above it and no one beside it, and it sits alone as the nightingale sings."
  • May–December Romance: Not quite played as one would expect, in fact it may suffice to say that the temporal distance between their births is not so significant, in Irene Iddesleigh. The eponymous protagonist is but a young maiden, whereas her suitor John Dunfern is "a man of forty summers".
  • Meaningless Meaningful Words: She was essentially incapable of writing a plain English sentence.
  • Pet the Dog: Every reader who purchased a book directly from her also got a personally addressed note of thanks.
  • Purple Prose: Bow to the Queen & Empress of the Hogwash Guildnote . Ros seems to be incapable of saying even the most basic things directly. For example:
    "She tried hard to keep herself a stranger to her poor old father’s slight income by the use of the finest production of steel, whose blunt edge eyed the reely covering with marked greed, and offered its sharp dart to faultless fabrics of flaxen fineness."note 
  • Rape as Drama: In Irene Iddlesleigh, it's not clear whether a drunken Oscar Otwell raped the title character... or just said a lot of mean words to her.
  • Rouge Angles of Satin: An instance of a concept that bears close similarity is ordinary bungled orthography—"tête-à-têtes" was put down on the page as "tetè-a-tetès" in chapter IV of Irene Iddesleigh. We lack certainty as to whether this was an error by the one who penned the tale or the one who set the type for the one who prepared the script for impressing the ink upon what would be folded and trimmed into the pages of the novels.note 
  • Small Name, Big Ego: She asked her publisher if her books could win a Nobel Prize for Literature, "What think you of this prize? Do you think I should make a 'dart' for it?"
  • Theme Naming: In Helen Huddleson, many personages of her device have names of a vegetal persuasion.note 
  • Vanity Publishing: All of her work was self-published, thanks to her doting husband. It goes without saying that this was the only way her books would ever see print. On a heartwarming note, she also personally thanked with an enclosed note each of the people who ordered a book from her.
  • You're Just Jealous: Her default retort to many of her critics. She even advanced the preposterous argument that one such critic, Barry Pain, came to her work presenting such an outrageous anger towards the words she had laid down on paper because he was afflicted with the same affectionate affliction as some of the heroes of her stories - of harboring romantic inclinations towards her, but unable to reveal his sentiments, feelings, affections, and hopes publicly.note 

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