Charles Reade (2796 words)

  • Shannon R. Wooden (Missouri State University)

The reputation of Victorian novelist and playwright Charles Reade was never uncomplicated. Even in his lifetime, critics and fans couldn’t agree on whether he was one of the best English writers of the nineteenth century or one of the worst; he was on the one hand praised alongside Charles Dickens and George Eliot (Phillips 20; Oxford 613) while on the other criticized for his “crude[ly]” melodramatic, even “vaudevillian” plots (Merriam-Webster 933; Smith 55). Still, most of his contemporaries probably did not imagine that he would be utterly “neglected, almost forgotten” within just a few decades of his death in 1884 (Burns 11). Though once his work was so widely read that Walter Phillips describes him as “…

Wooden, Shannon R.. "Charles Reade". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 30 July 2011
[, accessed 26 October 2016.]