THE FABULOUS ORIGINALS by Irving Wallace

THE FABULOUS ORIGINALS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A literary reconnaissance is deductive and diverting, explores the ""Lives of Extraordinary People who Inspired Memorable Characters in Fiction"". The selective criteria applied here are that these lives must be at least as interesting as the ""fictional stepchildren"" they inspired, that they be not too well known (through biographical material) or too obscure. Among them you will meet Dr. Joseph Bell, the real Sherlock Holmes, and a pastmaster of diagnostic feats and applied observation; Henry James' Juliana Bordereau (of the Apern Papers) who owed her identity to Byron's Claire Clairmont, the mother of Allegra; Lady Ellenborough, who exhausted a long list of husbands and lovers to marry an Arab- both infidel and unfaithful- and owed a longer life to Balzac's Lady Dudley; Deacon Brodie, the prosperous businessman by day, gambler and armed robber by night who became Stevenson's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde; Poe's Marie Roget, the gallicized tobacconist clerk- Mary Rogers; Robinson Cruso's alter ego- Alexander Selkirk, whose long solitude of four years and four months took place when he asked to be set ashore on Masa Tierra- these offer full length portraits and parallels appended by some shorter illustrations of double identities. All of these ""originals"" were to achieve a fame- and immortality- they might never have had; but for the present, right here, their lives- and those of their counterparts- provide an entertaining galaxy.

Publisher: Knopf