† The title page of "Madge Wylde" (Dime Novel No. 17), published in 1861, carries the statement that it is "by the author of 'Clifton,' 'Pride and Passion,' etc." The search for something about the author on the assumption that it was the name of a real person, got off to a bad start, for a review of the original "Clifton" in The Knickerbocker (XXXIX, June, 1852, 576) seems to have been overlooked. Said the reviewer: "'Clifton; or Modern Fashion' is the title of a new novel, written under the nom de plume of 'Arthur Townley.'" Neither in this review nor in another note that appeared in the next number of the same periodical (XL, July, 1852, 60) was any mention made of the author's true name. Allibone (Dictionary of English Literature) seems to have accepted the name as real, and the Library of Congress, possibly influenced by the by-line of "Madge Wylde" and Allibone's acceptance of Townley as the author of "Clifton," catalogued the Beadle novel as by Townley.
† Various writers have claimed that "Madge Wylde" was a production of Townley, Benedict, Van Namee, or Mrs. Fleming, but each claim was based entirely upon the known authorship of one book, either "Clifton" or "Pride and Passion," but nowhere upon an author who could lay claim to both titles. A third book might be included in our research, for "Hates and Loves; or, The Lesson of Four Lives," which appeared as Dime Novel No. 53, was listed as "by the author of 'Madge Wylde.' " However, knowing how Beadle juggled his authors' names, we cannot be sure that this is actually by the same author, although it probably is. Since we know only the titles of the three books, we cannot be certain that the author of another book with any of these titles is the one referred to in the citation "by the author of" on the title page of "Madge Wylde." The "Clifton" on that title page undoubtedly refers to the Townley "Clifton." A review in the American (Whig) Review (XV, June, 1852, 554) pokes fun at the book, but gives a bit of information about the story which may be of service in checking it against other stories with the same title. The reviewer speaks of the book as one of the interminable series of recent novels with a hero of good family, the best scholar and best fighter in his school, a successful law student and later lawyer, a politician, and the rescuer (from drowning) of a beautiful damsel whom he afterwards married. His only misfortune was that he was sent to Congress!
† The names of authors who may perhaps have used the pen name "Arthur Townley" are given below for what they may be worth:
† Arthur Townley was apparently considered real by Allibone, and the Library of Congress catalogued "Madge Wylde" under that name.
† J. William Van Namee was given by Lyie J. Wright (American Fiction, 1851-1875), San Marino, California, 1957 edition, 243-44) as the author of "Pride and Passion," and Ralph Adimari suggested this name as a possible author of "Madge Wylde."
† Frank Lee Benedict wrote a novel with the title "Clifton," as a serial in the New York Sun in 1856, and Mr. Adimari suggested that as another possibility.
† May Agnes Fleming was the author of "Madge Wylde" according to William Abbatt (Colloquial Who's Who). He apparently based his opinion on the fact that Mrs. Fleming also wrote a novel entitled "Pride and Passion." Mrs. Fleming's novel appeared in book form in 1882, two years after her death. It was probably first published as a serial in some periodical which has not yet been unearthed, so the original date is unknown. If Mrs. Fleming is to be considered the author of "Madge Wylde," the original date of her "Pride and Passion" must have been before 1861, when "Madge Wylde" appeared. "Clifton," however, was originally published in 1852 by A. Hart, later Carey & Hart, Philadelphia; and since May Fleming was born in 1840, it is impossible that this "Clifton" could have been hers and that "Arthur Townley" was one of her pen names. Unless she duplicated the titles of both "Clifton" and "Pride and Passion" before "Madge Wylde" was published in 1861, which is very improbable indeed, she cannot be the author of "Madge Wylde." Edmund Pearson (Dime Novels, Boston, 1929, 29) also thought that "Madge Wylde" was by Mrs. Fleming, presumably basing his opinion on "Pride and Passion.
† Temporarily for want of better information, the Beadle publications "by the author of 'Clifton,' 'Pride and Passion,' etc." are listed here under the name of Townley. The Standard Library of Romance, Vol. II, contains "Madge Wylde" and two novels by A. J. H. Duganne, and it is not impossible, though judging by his other books highly improbable, that this grouping of novels indicates that "Townley" was one of Duganne's pen names. The date of publication of "Madge Wylde" fits Duganne's period of activity. All of the following novels are various editions of Dime Novels Nos. 17 and 53.
REFERENCES: There are reviews of "Clifton" in The Pennsylvania Freeman, IX, May 27, 1852, 88, and in The American Review, New York, XV, June, 1852, 564.
Dime Novels. Nos. 17, 53, 533, 547
Fifteen Cent Novels. Nos. 17
American Library (London). No. 29
Sixpenny Tales (London). No. 2
Standard Library of Romance. Vol. II (partim)
Girls of Today. No. 11
Waverley Library (quarto). Nos. 9, 22
Waverley Library (octavo). Nos. 11, 14
† Correction made as per Volume 3.