Date Published: 
Binding: No binding & hard cover
Robert Leighton unpublished typescript novel "Sir James Bridges" collection
Robert Leighton (1858-1934) wrote many adventure stories for boys and was the first literary editor of the Daily Mail. His wife was Marie Connor Leighton (1865–1941) who wrote a large number of sensational novels. They had three children, Clare (1898-1989), Roland (1895-1915) and Evelyn (1901-1969). Their son, Roland Leighton (1895-1915), died tragically in World War I. He was the fiancé of Vera Brittain, immortalized in her heart-wrenching memoir, Testament of Youth.
Collection contains an unpublished novel circa 1903, "Sir James Bridges”, with 2 readers’ reports, including a report from the novelist Robert Leighton. Although deemed unsatisfactory as a work of creative fiction, this novel presents an interesting perspective of Victorian life among the upper class at the turn of the 20th century.
Typescript with authorial holograph revisions of an unpublished novel entitled: “Sir James Bridges Being Chapters from the Early Life of Sir James Bridges, Bt.”. , 1-19, , 1-315 pp.
The novel consists of the following sections: Part I. Introductory; Chapter 1. The River; Chapter 2. Eileen; Chapter 3. Sir James Bridges confesses himself; Part II. Amabel consisting of Chapters I-XLIV. The novel was submitted to G.P. Putnam’s Sons in London.
Novel’s plot: Lady Bridges, while still a girl, has loved a man named Leigh. She marries an immoral Cornish baronet and has one child, James, the hero of the novel. Leigh, who marries an unsympathetic woman, the daughter of a solicitor, has several children, the youngest named Amabel. After meeting Amabel, James takes counsel from Eileen O’Neill, who fall in in love with him. James has relationships with many women. Amabel re-appears later in the novel as Elise of Storence Street
Plus 2 reader’s reports:
• Robert Leighton,  pp. Typed Letter Signed, received 22 December 1903, date reported upon 28 December 1903;
• An anonymous reader, “Notes on `Sir James Bridges Bart.’”, 19 pp. manuscript
The anonymous reader complained that the book had no plot but was a study of temperament in the form of a story. It exhibited clever phrasing, probably written by an undergraduate student, at the expense of a simple and defined story. As such, the novel was pretentious and hopeless. He advised the author to put the book aside and to return to it many years later with maturer consideration.
In his 2pp. report Robert Leighton surmised that the novel was the author’s first experiment in fiction. He praised the author’s psychological examination of human emotions and actions. He criticized the plot, the presentment of the characters, and the style: “Let him aim at being lucid instead of clever.” He suggested turning some of the narrative into dialogue, enhancing the dramatic action, simplifying the language, and re-working the plot into a closer design.
Collection on consignment with LDRB