Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Forgotten Heroes of Pulp Fiction: Jim Maitland

World War I veteran, H. C. McNeile (better known by his nom de plume of “Sapper”) was a bestselling author of the last century whose works are quickly fading into obscurity. His most famous creation, Bulldog Drummond is best remembered for the old-time movie and radio series rather than the nearly twenty novels where the character first appeared. “Sapper” also wrote numerous stories and books about a Holmes-like consulting detective, Ronald Standish as well as two books about Jim Maitland, the monocle-wearing two-fisted defender of honor who personified the ideals of the British Empire while traveling abroad. Maitland first appeared in the 1923 collection, Jim Maitland, a fix-up of several short stories that chronicle his adventures before and immediately following the Great War. Modern critics have dismissed Maitland as an overgrown bully. This is a slur against the character that fails to recognize the extremes of nationalistic fervor in the last century. The worst example of this occurs in the tale where Jim overhears a “bloody foreigner” speak out against the British Empire and insists on settling the matter of dishonor with a duel to the death. It is interesting to note that the Old West’s concepts of lawlessness and devaluing of human life were not unique. To Continue Reading This Article, Please Visit The Black Gate on Friday.

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