Charles Reade

Shannon R. Wooden (Missouri State University)
Download PDF Add to Bookshelf Report an Error

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;


613) while on the other criticized for his “crude[ly]” melodramatic, even “vaudevillian” plots (


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 “one of the most popular men of [Victorian] letters” in his…

2796 words

Citation: Wooden, Shannon R.. "Charles Reade". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 30 July 2011 [, accessed 13 April 2024.]

3720 Charles Reade 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

Save this article

If you need to create a new bookshelf to save this article in, please make sure that you are logged in, then go to your 'Account' here

Leave Feedback

The Literary Encyclopedia is a living community of scholars. We welcome comments which will help us improve.