Wikipedia:Peer review/E.W. Hornung/archive1

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E.W. Hornung[edit]


* Further information

This peer review discussion has been closed.
Wee Willie Hornung is largely forgotten as an author now, apart from the hugely popular character of A.J. Raffles, who still lives on through film, television and reprints of the novels. His output was much wider than his criminal antihero: his work covered wider and deeper subjects than that however. Although he was a great lover of cricket, he wasn't a terribly good player, mostly because of a delicate constitution. This has undergone a complete re-write recently and a trip to FLC will hopefully follow. Many thanks for any thoughts, criticisms and suggestions. - SchroCat (talk) 21:34, 19 February 2014 (UTC)

Comments from Tim riley[edit]

First pass, for spelling only.

  • "with pre-Raphelite looks" – in a quote so I didn't like to change, but I imagine Lycett wrote "pre-Raphaelite"
  • "Eugéne Presbrey" – acute accent? A grave is usual for Eugène
  • "The Return of A.J.Raffles" – No gap between initials and surname?
  • "Productions's" – is the apostrophe-ess wanted?

More tomorrow on the content etc. – Tim riley (talk) 22:18, 19 February 2014 (UTC)

First half of comments on text, to end of biography section:

  • Lead
    • I'll do this last, when I've read the main text
  • Early life: 1866–86
    • "life-long" – one word, according to the OED
    • "despite rather limited skills at the game" – I think I might scrub the "rather".
    • "In addition to teaching he also spent time" – simultaneously or in between?
      • The sources are unclear—as they are with much of his life, unfortunately. - SchroCat (talk) 19:17, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Return to England: 1886–98
    • "five murders, undertaken" – ambiguous: was it the work or the murders that were undertaken?
    • "the Idler's" – really apostrophe-ess?
      • Some sources do, some don't. I've now gone with the always excellent Andrew Lycett and taking it out. (I had an email from Lycett in praise of the Fleming article, so I'm slightly biased towards his choice). - SchroCat (talk) 19:17, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
        • I say! Impressive. Tim riley (talk) 15:36, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Introducing Raffles: 1898–1914
    • "who Rowland considers to be" – "whom Rowland considers to be" or "who Rowland considers is"
  • First World War and aftermath
    • "He continued to work" – I might make this "Hornung continued to work" and make the "Hornung" later in the sentence "he"

Looking good. More soonest. Tim riley (talk) 10:10, 20 February 2014 (UTC)

Second and concluding batch:

  • Style and technique
    • "Oliver Edwards" – perhaps link to William Haley (Edwards being the pen name under which he reviewed books) Sorry: ignore. Not in Haley's article, so a bit mystifying for readers if we linked to it.
    • "His obituarist" – ambiguous – could be Edwards or Hornung. Suggest "The obituarist".
    • "Jeremy Lewis sees a …" – Jeremy Lewis sees as a …?
    • "Oliver Edwards, writing in The Times" – you've already told us this
  • Major themes
    • "something Contemporary Authors states shows…" – reads a bit awkwardly. Perhaps "which, Contemporary Authors states, shows…"
    • "protagonist of The Crime Doctor used" – elsewhere you use the present tense, which I think is the general convention, as in "Raffles … steals a gold cup" shortly after this.
    • "Amongst these is Peccavi" – stand well clear: Riley chestnut coming in over the wicket at 90 mph: what has "amongst" got that "among" hasn't other than two unnecessary letters? And perhaps (just a thought) add a footnote explaining that "Peccavi" is Latin for "I have sinned"?
      • Removed and the fn added whilst doing so... - SchroCat (talk) 19:17, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
    • "lives his life try to atone" – not sure if there's a missing "to" or a superfluous "try" here
    • "Old Offenders and a few Old Scores" – "few" really not capped?
    • "permeated into his stories" – not sure I'd use a preposition after "permeated", but what do I know?
    • "his best-known character, Raffles" – a bit late at this point to tell us that R is his best-known character
  • Lead
    • "the characters were either based on his friends Oscar Wilde and his lover, Lord Alfred Douglas, or on Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson" – (i) if this is substantiated in the main text I missed it, and (ii) who says so? And tangentially "Bosie Douglas" in note f feels subtly wrong. I think he was either "Bosie" tout court or "Lord Alfred Douglas"
      • It was at footnote H (and acredited in text and citation to Rowland), but I've brounght it into the body now as it's a point of some interest (second paragraph of the "Introducing Raffles" section). - SchroCat (talk) 19:17, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
    • "where he helped man a YMCA canteen" – neutral language where convenient, so perhaps "run" rather than "man"?
    • "the latter of which" – I don't think you need the last two words.

That's my lot. Mere quibbles. It's a fine article, well proportioned and carefully balanced. I look forward to meeting it again chez FAC. – Tim riley (talk) 16:59, 20 February 2014 (UTC)

Many, many thanks! Your always-thoughtful and pertinent comments are a great help, and the article is much stronger than it was before. All done, with the occasional comment above. - SchroCat (talk) 19:24, 20 February 2014 (UTC)

Afterthought: either here or at FAC may I suggest you invite views on whether Dr Johnson needs [Samuel] in square brackets? I see why you've done it, but I'm in two minds about it. Just a thought. Tim riley (talk) 15:36, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
Would you think that just a link would be sufficient? - SchroCat (talk) 17:10, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
I'm inclined to think so, but then I'm a great fan of Dr J. Others may find the bracketed name useful. Might be worth canvassing opinion. Tim riley (talk) 17:30, 21 February 2014 (UTC)

Images by Crisco[edit]

  • Could do, although then we wouldn't see the bride. Thoughts? - SchroCat (talk) 20:18, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Fair point. Alright, keep as is works. — Crisco 1492 (talk) 11:30, 23 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Should be PD in the UK. I've searched for another (full page) image, but can't find one. - SchroCat (talk) 19:46, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
  • I thought this was {{PD-1923}}—although the Hirtle chart doesn't cover all eventualities. - SchroCat (talk) 20:18, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
  • In the US, yes it is. But in the UK? If a cover artist is credited (we don't have access to the book to see if one is credited or not) then it would need to be 70 years after that artist's death. This can be hosted on Wikipedia as free us, just like the picture of Hornung. — Crisco 1492 (talk) 23:06, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Yep. Two production companies, Hyclass Producing Co. and L. Lawrence Weber Photodrama Corp., both US.
  • 1907 edition (with a 1901 copyright). I thought it best to go for the later date. – SchroCat (talk) 19:46, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
  • poet and author. He was most famous for writing the A.J. Raffles series of stories about a gentleman thief in late 19th-century London, but was a prolific author. - Perhaps "poet and author best known for writing the A.J. Raffles series, about a gentleman thief in late 19th-century London." or something similar. Avoid repetition of author
  • From a Hungarian background, Hornung was educated at Uppingham School - this really doesn't feel connected, at all, and certainly not enough to be a single sentence
  • He published two collections of war poetry during the war, and then, afterwards, one further poetry volume and account of his time spent in France, - any way to avoid "poetry -- poetry"?
  • during some of the later years of one of its notable headmasters, Edward Thring. - I think either this needs to be merged with the footnote, or the footnote text brought into the article. Also, "notable"? Feels unnecessary
  • shortly before the death of his father in November - is nine months "shortly"?
  • As with his first novel, Hornung again used Australia as a backdrop in Tiny Luttrell, - This almost feels as if it is a continuation of the failed boxing story.
  • The fictional character Stingaree proved to be a prototype of a character Hornung used in a series of six short stories published in 1898 in Cassell's Magazine, A.J. Raffles, who was modelled on George Cecil Ives, a Cambridge-educated criminologist and talented cricketer who, like Raffles, was a resident of the Albany. - May need simplification
  • Broken the sentence in two for ease. - SchroCat (talk) 20:43, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
  • (and former school fag) - Raffles' fag?
  • One of the less delightful traditions of the British public school system (and thankfully one that had vanished before my time!) I've lined the term as I'm not sure it's once that can be easily explained within this article. - SchroCat (talk) 20:43, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
  • The play was first performed at the Princess Theatre, New York, on 27 October 1903 with Kyrle Bellew as Raffles, and ran for 168 performances. - Did Hornung go to the States as well?
  • Unlikely. Nothing mentioned in the sources about it. - SchroCat (talk) 20:43, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
  • "probably" - scare quotes really necessary
  • that turned into influenza and pneumonia - Spanish Influenza?
  • Possibly/probably, but the sources only refer to influenza - SchroCat (talk) 20:43, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
  • a Dr. Johnson - ?
  • with Raffles transformed from a gentleman thief to a tough adventurer. - before his death in the Boer War, right?
  • Unknown: I suspect that—in film terms—it was a reboot that ignored all the previous storylines. - SchroCat (talk) 20:43, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
  • More on the morrow. — Crisco 1492 (talk) 14:23, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Many thanks for all this. I've addressed everything (I think), except where commented upon. Cheers - SchroCat (talk) 20:53, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Watson also considers the point, - Considering you also have Dr. Watson, would the full name of the critic/scholar be worth repeating?
  • Throughout the Raffles stories patriotism runs as a theme in several stories - Redundant
  • Cricket was one of Hornung's lifelong passions, and he was delighted to become a member of the Marylebone Cricket Club in 1907. - How good was his performance, if he played? (I dare say Sarastro1 may be of help with this question) — Crisco 1492 (talk) 23:15, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
  • He was a bloody awful player of the game! He was a non-playing member, as far as I am aware. Other text points addressed - will sort the images shortly. - SchroCat (talk) 08:50, 22 February 2014 (UTC)

Brianboulton comments[edit]

On the "Life" sections only, at this stage. I have taken against Hornung. He looks very much like my old maths master, a sadistic old bastard if ever there was one, but I'll try not to let the likeness influence my review

I can cover the likeness if it helps...? - SchroCat (talk) 22:06, 23 February 2014 (UTC)
  • I wonder if "known professionally as E.W. Hornung" is really necessary? It's pretty much the same name.
  • "the characters were either based on his friends Oscar Wilde and his lover, Lord Alfred Douglas, or on Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson." Perhaps the text will clarify this, but are you sure about the "either"? The respective pairs are disparate – I imagine that Hornung took characteristics from both pairs, and if so this sentence needs modifying: "based partly on his friends Oscar Wilde and Lord Alfred Douglas, and also on..." etc
  • The dedication of the first Raffles book to Conan Doyle is hardly leadworthy.
  • "He published two collections of war poetry during the war" – first "war" redundant
  • "...afterwards, one further volume of verse and account of his time spent in France" – not quite right; an account, perhaps?
  • You seem to have added a year to his life – he died in 1921 not 1922.
Early life
  • Beware two "and" conjunctions in one sentence ("his health worsened and he left Uppingham and travelled to Australia")
  • Rather than relying overly on links which take the reader away from the article, you should briefly say where the "Riverina" is, and also what The Bulletin was.
Return to England
  • "From his relatively prosperous position, John's coal and iron business had gone through hard times and he was in acute poverty by the time of his death." Something not right about this construction. Perhaps: "From a position of relative prosperity, John's ..." etc. I'm a bit worried, too, about "acute poverty", which implies destitution rather thn straitened circumstances.
  • "In 1891 he..." → "In 1891 Hornung..."
  • "Hornung also knew Doyle's sister..." The "also" is unjustified, as is "at some point" at the end of the sentence. Besides which, this sentence and its successor belong with the next paragraph rather than as a tailpiece to this one.
  • Why were relations between Hornung and Doyle "sometimes strained"? When did this occur?
  • "The couple had a son..." Without wishing to be facetious, the couple you have just mentioned is Hornung and Doyle. A nice trick if you can do it, as Kenneth Horne might have said.
  • "on a subject of boxing during the Regency". Should be "the" subject. I also suggest you link "boxing". What was the fate of this boxing play?
  • To what does "both figures" in the final quote refer? I see only a reference to "an Oxford-educated, Australian gentleman thief".
Introducing Raffles: 1898–1914
  • Too mush irrelevant detail in the first paragraph. For example, the visit to Rome and meetings with Wells and Gissing seem entirely inconsequential.
  • You need to say what, and where, "the Albany" is
  • You also need to explain "Bosie": not all your readers will connect him with Lord Alfred Douglas
  • Can you check the wording of the Spectator quote that begins "stern moarlists..."? It reads like gobbledegook.
  • Checked the transcript and the images of the original article, and the quote is correct. I'll have a play around with selecting the coherent bits to use. - SchroCat (talk) 13:47, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Now reworked to read: that "stern moralists" would consider the book's premise "as a new, ingenious, artistic, but most reprehensible application of the crude principles involved in the old-fashioned hero-worship of Jack Sheppard and Dick Turpin". - SchroCat (talk) 14:46, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
  • What were Dead Men Don't Tell Tales and Peccavi? Novels?
  • All now done. - SchroCat (talk) 11:48, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
First World War and aftermath
  • "He edited a privately-issued collection of Oscar's letters home under the title Trusty and Well Beloved, released in 1916, and at some stage he joined an anti-aircraft unit." Unrelated facts should not be conjoined in a single sentence
  • Given that there is apparently a full-length biography, I'm a little surprised by the vagueness of some of the dating, e.g. "at some stage" and "In either 1916 or 1917..." Is it not possible to be more precise
  • Unfortunately not. Much of the vagueness is an echo of the biography, and Rowland comments on how annoying the lack of primary sources was. I've covered this in Note C, but if there's a better way of flagging this up to readers I'd be delighted to do it. - SchroCat (talk) 22:11, 23 February 2014 (UTC)
  • "at the age of 51" should be moved to near the beginning of the sentence.
  • Link arras
  • Mentioning the friendship with Belloc doesn't seem to have any point
Death and legacy
  • "I don't think health is "troubled", though one can be troubled by it. Perhaps "troublesome", or "problematic"
  • "A further series was written in 1950..." – passive voice.
  • "...with 14 of them published..." "them" needs defining. Also perhaps confirm that all the post-1950 stories were written by Perowne
  • "Hornung's stories" → "Hornung's original stories", perhaps?
  • (aside) "House Peters" is about the stupidest name I've ever encountered, even for an actor
  • "...although he was not accompanied by Manders, but by Bride, played by Michael French" No relevance to this article whatever.
  • This section now done. - SchroCat (talk) 11:05, 24 February 2014 (UTC)

I'll do what's left in a day or so. Brianboulton (talk) 15:18, 23 February 2014 (UTC)

  • Many thanks, as always, for such a thorough and insightful review: I think I've done justice to your comments so far. Looking forward to the next batch. - SchroCat (talk) 11:48, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
Here's the rest
Style and technique
  • "According to Cox..." This is the second mention of Cox in the text, but she was not identified in the earlier mention. You do identify her, but in a footnote; I think this description also needs to occur on first mention in the text. Most readers don't read footnotes.
  • No comma after "although Edwards"
  • Literary tenses: I see that Cox, Watson, and Lewis are quoted in the present tense, the others in the past. I don't know what your cut-off date is – there's not much between Watson (1971) and Edwards (1966). Personally, I prefer to use the past tense only when quoting really ancient sources, e.g. Doyle and the Times obituarist. After all, most of the others are propbably still alive (not Orwell, though). It's a point to consider.
  • "Contemporary Authors states..." Magazines do not "state", although their literary critics do. (this occurs more than once)
Major themes
  • You should place a colon after "three categories of Raffles stories", and delete the word "including".
  • "a "palpably tainted rearguard action on behalf of the puritan values which had bestowed middle-class identity in the past" – am I alone in not having any idea what this means? Ah, these academics...
  • "Gariepy agrees...": as he was writing several years before Rance, this should perhaps read: "Gariepy makes the same point..."
  • "When the Second Boer War starts in the fictional timeframe of the stories, covered in "The Knees of the Gods", Raffles volunteers for service after changing his name and hair colour..." This is rather clumsily expressed. Suggest simplify to: "In "The Knees of the Gods", Raffles volunteers for service in the Second Boer War, changing his name and hair colour" etc (Note that the Boer War should be linked)
  • As I recall, Raffles played cricket for the "Gentlemen of England", which in cricket parlance is not the same as being "an England cricketer"
  • "Raffles draws the comparison between law-breaking and cricket, 'crime is reckoned as another and better sport' ". First, a colon not a comma should follow "cricket". But I am puzzled as to how the quotation represents a "comparison" between law-breaking and cricket.
  • Penultimate paragraph: "Valentine agrees..." – who or what is he agreeing with? A real person (Valentine) cannot "agree" with fictional characters.
  • "Watson widens the idea of cricket to sport..." I don't know what this means, and it seems unnecessary. Why not just say: "Watson examines Raffles's actions within the broader context of sportsmanship, with Raffles acting within his own moral code "of what is 'done' and 'not done'". I would break the sentence here.
  • The "Themes" section is rather untidiy presented, with opposite images that squeeze the print and a quotebox for good measure. I don't think all these distractions are necessary, and I advise you to lose one of the images (the book cover is the less interesting).

OK, done now. Brianboulton (talk) 22:49, 25 February 2014 (UTC)

  • Fantastic stuff, as always, and thank you very much for the excellent review. I've covered all your points (I think), but will examine the article further over the next few days. Cheers - SchroCat (talk) 04:58, 26 February 2014 (UTC)

Comments from the Dr.[edit]

I'll take a look at this tomorrow... Gosh what sort of school did you go to Brian LOL, teachers who wouldn't let you have a harmless Christine Keeler Appreciation Society and a psycho maths teacher! ♦ Dr. Blofeld 21:40, 23 February 2014 (UTC)
  • "where he helped run a YMCA canteen and library" -no need to mention YMCA again
  • South of France -capital not needed.
  • "Much of Hornung's work has been forgotten over time, although his Raffles stories continued in popularity, not least on screen, with John Barrymore, Ronald Colman and David Niven all playing the role on film and with Nigel Havers and Anthony Valentine in television adaptations." That's a bit of a mouthful, I'd say "Although much of Hornung's work has fallen into obscurity, his Raffles stories continued to be popular, and have formed numerous film and television adaptations". I don't think you really need to mention all of those actors playing a character in the lead, it would be different if it was the article on Raffles but this is a biography.
  • "Above all there are two threads that run through a sizeable proportion of his books: Australia and cricket, the latter was also a lifelong passion." -punctuation is a bit awkward here, how about "A lifelong cricket enthusiast, the sport and the Australian backdrop form an integral part of many of his works".♦ Dr. Blofeld 08:10, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
  • The first three are done. I'm not sure about the final one: perhaps we can leave for the moment and see if others also comment? - SchroCat (talk) 13:45, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
Early life
  • Is well-liked preferred or well liked?
  • I think "he was well liked", or "he was a well-liked boy", although I'm never entirely sure. Perhaps Brianboulton‎ can correct me and comment on the use here? - SchroCat (talk) 13:45, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Your usage here is entirely correct. Brianboulton (talk) 15:46, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
  • "In addition to teaching, he also spent time working in remote sheep stations in the outback[4] and contributing material to the weekly magazine The Bulletin; he also began writing what was to become his first novel." -repetition of also, I think you can remove in first instance.

"They were married on 27 September 1893, although Doyle was not at the wedding and relations between the two writers were sometimes strained." -a bit vague.

  • Yes, sadly the sources are limited in details of the "strain", although they do refer to the difficult relationship between the two. - SchroCat (talk) 13:45, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
  • "Like Hornung's first novel, Tiny Luttrell had Australia as a backdrop and also used the plot device of an Australian woman in a culturally alien environment;" -shouldn't there be a full stop here rather than a semi colon?
  • Done all down to here. - SchroCat (talk) 13:45, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
Introducing Raffles

You use the semi colon a bit too much in the opening paragraph I think which affects the flow a little and again at "In the final story of the collection, "The Knees of the Gods", Raffles and Manders enlist in the army to fight in the Second Boer War; the story closes with Manders wounded and Raffles killed.[45] The critics again complained about the criminal aspect; The Spectator declared "this sort of book presents crime in a form too entertaining and attractive to be moral" " This is semi colon abuse Schrod :-] ! Can you reword one of them slightly and remove one of them?

  • "produced a third series of short Raffles stories in A Thief in the Night, in which Manders relates some of his and Raffles's earlier adventures." -Nothing on critical reception?
  • The story concerned the attempts of a scientist's attempts - can you attempt to remove attempts, thanks in advance for your attempt!
  • "Hornung decided to ensure " -awkward, "was adamant that some good would come of it" maybe.
  • Link Amiens?

Great article, in fact it reads like one of Tim's with the exception of a few extra semi colons ;;;-]♦ Dr. Blofeld 09:18, 24 February 2014 (UTC)

  • Many thanks for your review Doc. All done, with the exception of reviews for A Thief in the Night, which I'll have a look for shortly. Cheers - SchroCat (talk) 14:21, 25 February 2014 (UTC)

Now archived: many thanks to all who took part. - SchroCat (talk) 13:44, 27 February 2014 (UTC)