Kennedy, Margaret: The Constant Nymph
(researched by Katisha Kersey)

Assignment 1: Bibliographical Description
1 First edition publication information (publisher, place, date, etc.)
Margaret Kennedy. The Constant Nymph. London, England: William Heinemann, Ltd. 1924. Copyright held by The Estate of Margaret Kennedy 1924. Copyright 1924, 1925 by Doubleday, Page and Company. Source: American edition, second printing of The Constant Nymph. Parallel first edition: Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1924. Source: RLIN
2 First edition published in cloth, paper, or both? If both, simultaneous or staggered?
First edition published in trade cloth binding.
3 JPEG image of cover art from first edition, if available
4 Pagination
170 leaves, pp. [2][1-10] 11-336 [2]
5 Edited or Introduced? If so, by whom?
First edition neither edited nor introduced.
6 Illustrated? If so, by whom?
No illustrations appear in the first edition.
7 JPEG image of sample illustration, if available
8 General physical appearance of book (Is the physical presentation of the text attractive? Is the typography readable? Is the book well printed?)
Text is very easy to read. Clearly printed in serif Roman font. Adequate margins and spacing between the lines makes the text easy to read. The page is 185mm x 120mm. 20 lines of text measures 61mm x 94mm (61R). On the first page of a chapter there is 45mm between the top of the page and the chapter heading. The chapter heading appears in all capitalized Roman serif fonts. There is 5mm between the chapter heading and the beginning of the chapter. There is no indentation at the beginning of the first chapter paragraph. On all other pages there is 10mm between the top of the page and either the book title (as it appears on even pages) or the chapter title (on odd pages). The headings of the pages are centered with the page numbers left and right aligned respectively with 4mm between the heading and the text. Useful sources: Gaskell, Phillip.A New Introduction to Bibliography1972, pg.9
9 JPEG image of sample chapter page, if available
10 Paper (Assess the original quality of the paper used for the book. Is the paper in the copy or copies you examined holding up physically over time?)
The book is printed on regular wove paper. It is of a heavy quality and smooth in texture. It has beige coloration by nature (i.e. is not heavily yellowed by time). All of the pages within the book are of the same size, shape, texture, and quality. They all remain in good contition (rather stiff) with the exception of a break in the binding between pages 80 and 81.
11 Description of binding(s)
The book has no book jacket. It's covered in dark reddish-Brown criss-cross grain trade cloth binding. There is a 25mm publisher seal stamped in the bottom right corner of the back. The binding font appears in gold italicized roman gilt. |The Constant| Nymph|Margaret|Kennedy|Heinemann| Except for the title, author, and publisher information imprinted on the binding and the publisher's seal on the back right-hand corner (same symbol of the windmill and William Heinemann's initials that appears on the recto side of the title page) there are no other markings or pictures on the outside of the first edition. Useful sources: Gaskell, Phillip. A New Introduction to Bibliography, pg.238, 241-244.
12 Transcription of title page
Recto: |THE CONSTANT NYMPH|BY|MARGARET KENNEDY| AUTHOR OF "THE LADIES OF LYNDON"| publisher's seal [of windmill and the publisher's initials, W.H.]|LONDON| WILLIAM HEINEMANN LTD.| 1924| Verso: |First Published 1924|Printed in Great Britain by|THE LONDON AND NORWICH PRESS, LIMITED, ST. GILES' WORKS, NORWICH| Useful sources: Gaskell, Phillip. A New Introduction to Bibliography pg. 325.
13 JPEG image of title page, if available
14 Manuscript Holdings
Master microform held by United States Library of Congress. Useful sources: RLIN
15 Other (typograpical information from title page, etc.)
N/A
Assignment 2: Publication and Performance History
1 Did the original publisher issue the book in more than one edition? If so, briefly describe distinguishing features of each (illustrations, cover art, typography, etc.); if not, enter N/A
The Constant Nymph published by William Heinemann Ltd., London (1924) (parallel first edition) The Constant Nymph published by Doubleday* (Dolphin Books edition), Garden City, NY (1963) The Constant Nymph published by Doubleday, Page and Company, Garden City, NY (1925). Described under Barnes and Noble used books trader as having blue trade cloth binding with a dust jacket. The Constant Nymph published by William Heinemann Ltd., London (1945) *In 1920 Doubleday acquired the well-known British firm of William HeinemannÖin 1923 he established a new subsidiary, Garden City Publishing Co."--The Directory of American Book Publishing page 106. Sources: Kurian, George Thomas. The Directory of American Book Publishing, pg.106.
2 JPEG image of cover art from one subsequent edition, if available
3 JPEG image of sample illustration from one subsequent edition, if available
4 How many printings or impressions of the first edition?
Research concludes that there were at least five impressions of the first edition published by William Heinemann by 1925. After 1925, The Constant Nymph was reprinted in 1963, 1966, and 1976. Sources: National Union Catalog, RLIN
5 Editions from other publishers? If so, list their dates and publishers; if not, enter N/A
Editions from other publishers include: The Constant Nymph published by Virago, London (1976,1983) The Constant Nymph published by ISIS Large Print, Oxford (1928,1987) The Constant Nymph published by Bernhard Tauchnitz, Leipzig (1925) The Constant Nymph published by the Readers Library Pub. Co. ([192-?],1986) The Constant Nymph published by Penguin, Harmondsworth (1924,1969) The Constant Nymph published by World Distributors (1960) The Constant Nymph published by The Albatross, London (1947) The Constant Nymph published by S. French, Ltd., S. French, Inc., London and New York (1930/) The Constant Nymph published by Grosset and Dunlap, New York (1925) The Constant Nymph published by A.L. Burt, New York (1925) The Constant Nymph published by Avon, New York (1925, 1969) Sources: Worldcat, National Union Catalog, RLIN
6 Last date in print?
The Constant Nymph is out of print. Trafalgar Square last published the book in October of 1992, although this publishing company no longer publishes this book and the rights are sold. ISIS Large Print Books no longer publishes the book and its last printing was in October of 1987. Doubleday and Company last published the book in August of 1984. These were the latest printings of The Constant Nymph that could be found. Sources: Amazon.com, Books in Print (web) Virgo Database
7 Total copies sold? (source and date of information?)
80 Years of Best Sellers by Alice Payne Hackett did not have sales figures because The Constant Nymph sold less than one million copies. It was listed, however, as the second best-selling fiction novel of 1925. It first appeared at number four on the Publisher's Weekly list on April 18, 1925, spent eight weeks at number one after June 20, 1925, and spent a total of twenty weeks on the Publisher's Weekly best-sellers list. Sources: Hackett, Alice Payne. 80 Years of Bestsellers
8 Sales figures by year? (source and date of information?)
Refer to number seven
9 Advertising copy (transcribe significant excerpts, briefly identify where ads were placed)
Along with assistance from a librarian, significant advertising information could not be found for the weeks in 1924 or 1925 in Publisher's Weekly or the New York Times
10 JPEG image of sample advertisement, if available
11 Other promotion
N/A
12 Performances in other media? If so, list media, date, title, production information; if not, enter N/A
The Constant Nymph was made into a play of three acts, which was written by Margaret Kennedy and Basil Dean. It was published by Doubleday, Page and Company (Garden City, N.Y.) in 1926. A different, second edition of the play was published by William Heinemann (London) in 1926. The French's acting edition was published by S. French, Ltd. (London), S. French, Inc. (New York) in 1930. Publication history was found on the music that corresponded with a theatre version of the book. It appears as Some Incidental Music to "The Constant Nymph." [songs with piano accompaniment], 1926. The film script for The Constant Nymph was published in 1942 under Warner Bros. The Drama film was directed by Edmund Goulding and produced by Henry Blanke. Sources: Worldcat, National Union Catalog, RLIN
13 Translations? If translated, give standard bibliographic information for each translation. If none, enter N/A
Translations as they appear in the pre-1956 National Union Catalog: La Ninfa Constante. Traduccion de Roman A. Jimenez. Buenos Aires, Editorial Sudamericana [1943] 2.ed. Tessa; la nymphe au coer fidele, Frantispice de C. Berard. Neuchatel, Ides et calendes [1946]. Die treue Nymphe, roman. Munchen: K. Wolff [1925]. There is also a foreign language version cataloged as Wierna Nimfa that contained no publication information. There is also a french translation of the three act play: Tessa, piece de 3 actes et 6 tableaux de Margaret Kennedy et Basil Dean; adapte pour la scene francaise par Jean Giraudoux. Paris, B. Grasset [1934]. This was listed as the tenth edition of this particular translation. Translations as they appear on WorldCat: Verna Milenka, Margaret Kennedy. Praha: Lidore nakiadatelstvi, 1972. Eien no shojo, Margaret Kennedy. Tokyo: Daviddosha, 1951. (first edition) Eien no shojo, Margaret Kennedy. Tokyo: Daviddosha, 1951. (third edition) La nymphe au coeur fidele, Margaret Kennedy. Paris: Plon, 1962. Sources: Worldcat, National Union Catalog, RLIN
14 Serialization? If serialized, give standard bibliographic information for serial publication. If none, enter N/A
N/A
15 Sequels/Prequels? Give standard bibliographic information for each. If none, enter N/A
The publication information of the sequel as it appears in the pre-1956 National Union Catalog is as follows: The fool of the family; continuing the story of Sanger's circus from "The Constant Nymph" [by] Margaret Kennedy. Garden City, New York: Doubleday, Doran and Company, inc., 1930. [Dramatized as Escape Me Never] Translation includes: L'idiot de la famille. Tr. De l'anglais par Louis et Renee Guilloux. Monaco, Editions du Rocher, 1947. Sources: Simkin, John E. The Whole Stroy: 3000 Years of Sequels and Sequences , National Union Catalog
Assignment 3: Biographical Sketch of the Author
1 Paste your biographical sketch here (maximum 500 words)
Margaret Moore Kennedy was born on April 23, 1896 in London, England. (April 23 is also the day of William Shakespeare's birth.) Her parents began a family five years after marriage and eventually had four children: Margaret, Tristam, and twins, David and Virginia. Charles Moore Kennedy was a barrister of Scottish descent, while Elinor Marwood was of Yorkshire ancestry, with a number of artists on her side of the family. Margaret was the only accomplished writer of the Kennedy lineage. In January of 1912, she entered Cheltenham Ladies College and by 1914, she was an established writer for the college's magazine. Upon completion of Cheltenham where she received High Honors in reading, she enrolled into Somerville College at Oxford. She graduated Oxford in 1919 with second class honors in history, despite taking a year off after her brother, second lieutenant Tristam Kennedy, died in Jerusalem in 1918. While young, she was described as "rather tall, neither fat nor thin?nervous and talkative" (Kunitz 520) and was an accomplished pianist with a passion for Mozart and the arts. Margaret Kennedy's first work was a non-fiction history book, A Century of Revolution(1922). Her first fiction novel, The Ladies of Lyndon, published a year later, was received with mediocre success. (Although at times she was quoted as saying that her first published novel was more exciting than her most famous published novel.) At twenty-eight, her second novel, The Constant Nymph(1924) caught on in England and America, and despite her family's disapproval due to "mistresses, bastards, sexual abandonment, and, almost the seduction of a minor" (Powell 67), it reached global heights. An actual Sanger family circus (with the same name as the villainous main character) threatened Kennedy with a libel case because the name implied grotesque vulgarity instead of pleasing entertainment. It was Kennedy's lawyer friend who stopped the case. She later teamed up with Basil Dean to write a successful play of The Constant Nymph as well as a number of other plays that received praise. Margaret Kennedy met David Davies, a marine insurance lawyer in the spring of 1925. By June 1925, they were married. In the same year that her mother died, 1928, her first child Julia was born. It was after the birth of her second child Sarah (Sally) in 1930 that she suffered severe depression while trying to complete the sequel to The Constant Nymph. James Davies, child three, was born in 1935 (he later died from multiple sclerosis in 1971). While Kennedy was living through her Second World War, her London home was bombed and she had to escape with her children to Hendre Hall in Llwyngwril, Wales. Her daughters later attended Oxford while her husband was made a judge of the English courts and was even knighted Sir David Davies in 1952. Her last book, Not in the Calendar, was published in 1964, the same year as her husband's death. Margaret Kennedy died from ill health on July 31, 1967 at the home of an old college friend, Flora Forster. It is said that "Margaret Kennedy's poised style, cool wit and skillful characterization made her novels welcome for three decades"(Ousby 537). Margaret Moore Kennedy's works: The Ladies of Lyndon(1923), The Constant Nymph(1924)*, A Long Weekend(1927), Red Sky at Morning(1927), The Fool of the Family: sequel to The Constant Nymph(1930), Return I Dare Not(1931), A Long Time Ago(1932), Together and Apart(1936), The Midas Touch(1938), The Feast(1950)*, Lucy Carmichael(1951), Troy Chimneys(1953)*-recipient of the James Tate Black Memorial Prize for 1953, The Oracle(1955), The Heroes of Clone(1957), The Outlaws of Parnassus(1958)- a study of the art of fiction, A Night in Cold Harbour(1960), The Forgotten Smile(1961). Short Stories: Dewdrops(1928), The Game and the Candle(1928) Plays: The Constant Nymph, from the Novel of Margaret Kennedy (with Basil Dean)(1926), Come With Me (with Basil Dean)(1928), Escape Me Never! Play in three acts (1934), Autumn (with Gregory Ratoff)(1937), Happy with Either(1948) Others: A Century of Revolution, 1789-1920(1922), The Merchandised Muse (1942), Jane Austen (1950) (critical biography)- most favorite personal work, Not in the Calendar(1964) *Received critical acclaim **Research does not show that Margaret Kennedy had an agent, but her cousin George Kennedy sent The Constant Nymph manuscript to William Heinemann Publishing after he approved it. Works-Cited Kunitz, Stanley J., ed. Twentieth Century Authors: A bibliographical dictionary of modern literature (first supplement). New York: H.W. Wilson Company, 1955. Ousby, Ian, ed. The Cambridge Guide to Literature in English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992. Powell, Violet. The Constant Novelist: A Study of Margaret Kennedy 1896-1967. London: William Heinemann Ltd., 1983.
Assignment 4: Reception History
1 Paste contemporary reception history in here (maximum 500 words)
Published in 1924, The Constant Nymph became successful in England only after it received praise in the rest of Europe. The unifying viewpoint at the time of its success, however, was that this novel showed hope for Kennedy's writing maturity in later works. She was regarded as having a budding reminiscence of Jane Austen. Literary critics acknowledged Margaret Kennedy's talent for wit and vitality and applauded her ability to satirize English behavior. "? like glorious Jane [Austen], she has a pervading humor and also a dangerous wit which she holds severely in check".1 These are the qualities of writing which made Kennedy a promising writer ; the critics called her just that: promising. Nicola Beauman says that "? there is no obvious reason why The Constant Nymph was so hugely successful. Two things helped: the unforgettable Sanger family, and the intense passion [for life] with which the novel is imbued"2. The spirit of the novel obviously attracted the attention of the readers, but the critics were not impressed with her literary style. If she had the experience and talent comparable to Jane Austen, it would have been a literary as well as a popular success. Lewis Dodd explains, "If Jane Austen had lived one hundred years later, in a freer environment, she might quite well have given us Sanger's circus."3 She lacked strong unification throughout the novel, genuine development of most characters, and at times her purpose seemed vague. "? she begins in the mood of sophisticated farce, ?she means to rise to a considerable height in the description of passion?yet she does not?do either of these things supremely well. The desired fusion does not take place?[and] we are given the outline of a great novel, but that outline is not filled by living characters or surrounded by that atmosphere of convincing passion?"4. In essence, The Constant Nymph was regarded by critics merely as a bit of art targeted toward the public as entertainment, because Kennedy presented no development of literary merit. Rebecca West notes it as "? a masterpiece of decadent art?.for when an artist makes no discoveries, adds nothing to the stuff of tradition, then his art?is on the way toward decay, and he must be termed decadent."5 In the late 1920s, Margaret Kennedy's humor and satire attracted the public, but her lack of depth and exploration deterred most literary critics. 1. Lee Wilson Dodd, "The Nymph's Precursor" The Saturday Review of Literature 14 Nov. 1925. 2. Nicola Beauman, "Introduction" to The Ladies of Lyndon by Margaret Kennedy, 1981. 3. Dodd 4. Joseph Wood Krutch, "A Minority Report," The Nation 15 Apr. 1925. 5. Rebecca West, "Notes on Three Novels," The Saturday Review of Literature 17 Oct. 1925.* *page numbers of specific magazine articles were not given in the secondary sources.
2 Paste subsequent reception history in here (maximum 500 words)
Published in 1924, The Constant Nymph became successful in England only after it received praise in the rest of Europe. The unifying viewpoint at the time of its success, however, was that this novel showed hope for Kennedy's writing maturity in later works. She was regarded as having a budding reminiscence of Jane Austen. Literary critics acknowledged Margaret Kennedy's talent for wit and vitality and applauded her ability to satirize English behavior. "? like glorious Jane [Austen], she has a pervading humor and also a dangerous wit which she holds severely in check".1 These are the qualities of writing which made Kennedy a promising writer ; the critics called her just that: promising. Nicola Beauman says that "? there is no obvious reason why The Constant Nymph was so hugely successful. Two things helped: the unforgettable Sanger family, and the intense passion [for life] with which the novel is imbued"2. The spirit of the novel obviously attracted the attention of the readers, but the critics were not impressed with her literary style. If she had the experience and talent comparable to Jane Austen, it would have been a literary as well as a popular success. Lewis Dodd explains, "If Jane Austen had lived one hundred years later, in a freer environment, she might quite well have given us Sanger's circus."3 She lacked strong unification throughout the novel, genuine development of most characters, and at times her purpose seemed vague. "? she begins in the mood of sophisticated farce, ?she means to rise to a considerable height in the description of passion?yet she does not?do either of these things supremely well. The desired fusion does not take place?[and] we are given the outline of a great novel, but that outline is not filled by living characters or surrounded by that atmosphere of convincing passion?"4. In essence, The Constant Nymph was regarded by critics merely as a bit of art targeted toward the public as entertainment, because Kennedy presented no development of literary merit. Rebecca West notes it as "? a masterpiece of decadent art?.for when an artist makes no discoveries, adds nothing to the stuff of tradition, then his art?is on the way toward decay, and he must be termed decadent."5 In the late 1920s, Margaret Kennedy's humor and satire attracted the public, but her lack of depth and exploration deterred most literary critics. 1. Lee Wilson Dodd, "The Nymph's Precursor" The Saturday Review of Literature 14 Nov. 1925. 2. Nicola Beauman, "Introduction" to The Ladies of Lyndon by Margaret Kennedy, 1981. 3. Dodd 4. Joseph Wood Krutch, "A Minority Report," The Nation 15 Apr. 1925. 5. Rebecca West, "Notes on Three Novels," The Saturday Review of Literature 17 Oct. 1925.* *page numbers of specific magazine articles were not given in the secondary sources.
Assignment 5: Critical Analysis
1 Paste your critical analysis in here (maximum 2500 words)
As the critic Compton MacKenzie analyzed in 1923, The Constant Nymph published by Margaret Kennedy in 1924 was popular to young women and men over forty because of its scandalous affair between a budding teenage girl and her father's lifelong friend. A secondary tribute to its best selling success would be Kennedy's somewhat witty underlying satire of Victorian society. A look at the history of the mid-1920s suggests that regard for the working man increased in popularity over traditional ways of English behavior and extravagance. There was a worldwide boost in the period after World War I. The United States, for example, only had a five per cent unemployment rate for 1924 (the year that The Constant Nymph was on the Publisher's Weekly best seller list). Spirit, morale, and employment was up even in England. During this time the Labour Party was formed by collaborating groups of socialists that were trying to gain more reforms for working-class families in England. By 1925, the Labour Party had acquired approximately one-third of the democratic votes in its attempt to overcome the regulations of the Conservative Party. These historical facts of increased prosperity and social reforms for working-class people could account for the appreciation of the satire of Victorian society by Margaret Kennedy's audience. Kennedy uses characters such as Florence Churchill and Lewis Dodd's family to mock the rules of Victorian society. When the wealthy, highly educated Florence Churchill marries the penniless, introverted genius composer named Lewis Dodd, she assumes that she may use her stature and connections to secure a respectable position for her husband. Essentially, she does not believe that his extraordinary work will gain merit, rather that her attempt to mold Lewis into her class of people will again acknowledgement for him. "?she made up her mind that she must give a party?it had great strategic importance?.[Lewis] must be allowed to have a solitary and retiring disposition. To her first party she only meant to invite people whom she knew rather well, and these were chosen upon two grounds, music and influence"(269). Florence Churchill Dodd intends to orchestrate her husband's performance and introduce him into her world of elitists. Lewis Dodd, however, is a mere rugged composer that will not conform. He succeeds in embarrassing his wife and making a mockery of his guests and their trivial conversation. Kennedy succeeds in making the reader sympathize with Lewis because of his wife's malicious intent. Lewis Dodd also has to contend with family members with unlovable qualities characteristic of Kennedy's high society examples. When Lewis was just a budding musician, his father Sir Felix Dodd, another influential and respectable person, attempted to ignite his son's career by asking professionals to edit his compositions. " Simon was one of my father's friends. Bound to be! An obscene, loathsome, complacent, self-advertising maggot if ever there was one! Just the sort of fellow my father would take to?. And then I saw my manuscript in his pudgy paws, and my father said: 'I've sent your little Sonata to Mr. Simon, Lewis, to see if he could make anything of it for you"(240). Again, like Florence, Sir Felix uses his connections to shape Lewis' career instead of letting him control his own work. In the previous quote, Kennedy describes the respectable people that Sir Felix associates with in an unfavorable way. By reading this section, one knows that the infraction is conducted in secret by two despicable men, which does not add favor to the overall opinion of high society people. In a more understated context, Lewis' sister supports Margaret Kennedy's depiction of English aristocrats. Millicent, Lewis' sister, is a constant gossip who spreads vicious rumors regardless of whether they are true or not. "Millicent could be very disagreeable sometimes?. Nothing would interest her. '?he can't behave like that. The whole of London is talking about it?. [but] I wouldn't dream of repeating gossip'"(344-345). Although Millicent claims to not repeat gossip, she has plenty of false information about Albert Sanger, the famous dead composer and his children. She also happens to know the whereabouts of the runaway Lewis and the people he's associating with even before Florence does. Through Millicent, Margaret Kennedy paints a picture of a well-groomed lady, like Florence, that means to do more harm than good. Characters like Millicent, Florence, and Sir Felix Dodd exemplify English aristocrats as evil people, which allows the working-class reader initiating social reform to better identify with the more passionate Sanger children. One aspect of The Constant Nymph that critics applauded was the vivacious nature of the Sanger children. When Florence and Robert Churchill first meet the children to pick them up after their father's death, they are found having a wonderful time bathing in a lake, enjoying lunch, and visiting the cinema. "? the delightful bathers in the old boat?. In their clothes or out, they attracted attention. Though dressed like peasants, they looked wilder than the wildest mountain people? They walked, too, with lightness and pace"(126-127). From this initial impression, it is hard to see why someone would treat four abandoned children and their temporary caretaker, Lewis Dodd, with any cruelty. Multiple children living in peace in the mountains of Germany with a love of music and a love of their father are easier to like than a few rich relatives who try to forcefully impart Victorian societal values, which Margaret Kennedy obviously dislikes, judging by her intentional demeaning tone in regard to most of her affluent characters. Sanger's musical protégé is also a hero in this novel. Although Lewis Dodd's musical career is controlled by his father and his wife, he resists this domination for a short time by enjoying the passion for life with Sanger's children. Obviously, any character in this novel that is responsible for destroying their honestly peaceful lifestyle is going to be a villain in The Constant Nymph. Another reason that this novel should be moderately successful is its unforgettable love story. Tessa Sanger has been in love with her father's musical successor for most of her life (although she is only fourteen at the start of the novel). Tessa and Lewis share a special bond that only Tessa realizes. Florence Churchill, Tessa's cousin, comes to take the children to England and simultaneously falls in love with the quiet musical composer. Much of the novel deals with Tessa's heartbreak and emotional distress that she suffers at the hands of her cousin Florence. In the middle of the marriage, Lewis realizes that his educated, wealthy, beautiful wife is trying to make him an aristocrat. Constantly defending himself and Tessa, Lewis finally sees that it's the warm, honest Tessa that he's always loved. After directing his breakthrough performance in front of hundreds of the "right" people, Tessa and Lewis run away together to escape Florence's treachery. Less than twenty-four hours after his performance, however, Tessa dies from a concealed medical condition. This love story is interesting and tragic, reminiscent of Romeo and Juliet and the carnal love that the lovers almost shared. However, as critics say, the story lacks depth and the satire could use more wit and humor. These factors combined yielded a book that sold less than a million copies. The love story was enough to attract the public's attention for twenty weeks (the time that it was on the Publisher's Weekly best seller list), but not enough to sustain adequate printing of the book. The only trace of The Constant Nymph in the public's memory is the success of the subsequent play versions produced in numerous languages. The sequel, published a year later, did not get much attention and did not spark any accountable resurgence of The Constant Nymph. Overall, Kennedy's novel was lovely enough to be number one in Publisher's Weekly for four weeks, but not interesting enough to reach high sales figures. This novel, nearly a year after the minimal to mediocre success of Kennedy's first book, The Ladies of Lyndon, tells us that good love stories between pure, innocent girls and rugged men were popular even in the mid-1920's. Examining at the novel from a purely superficial level, one can make a comparison between this book and many modern day romances. The plot of this novel has many aspects of a movie screen play (which might explain it's success in the theatre in it's dramatized version) with it's rebellious hero and virgin heroine. Stylistically and literally, The Constant Nymph is not a success. Therefore, books, at least those written in the early twentieth century, do not have to be well written to be popular. This statement is upheld in modern day society as well. Many romantic authors, such as Danielle Steel, publish novel much faster than on an annual basis (as was the case for much of Margaret Kennedy's literary career) and concentrate less on the complexity or intelligence of the plot or characters, but they focus more on the tragedy of the love story. In conclusion, although The Constant Nymph may be a bestseller, it was also a poorly written love story that failed to provide a more in-depth exploration of the satire of affluent Victorian society. Therefore, as with many easy-to-read bestseller love stories, The Constant Nymph was popular for a few weeks before becoming a faint memory in the literary community. Works-Cited: Powell, Violet. The Constant Novelist: A Study of Margaret Kennedy 1896-1967. London: William Heinemann Ltd., 1983. Compton MacKenzie, "Literature in My Time," A Library of Congress Criticism: Modern British Literature (New YOrk: Frederick Ungar Publishing Company, 1966).
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