Coda: Recovering Reade

  • Richard Fantina


In A Terrible Temptation, Reade offers a fictional self-portrait in the character of Mr. Rolfe, an eccentric novelist who reveals, through his work, abuses of power in society, and who relies on recorded facts for his inspiration. The description of Rolfe and his home bears out Reade’s dedication to collecting factual information, and to finding in it the seeds of his fiction. Rolfe’s work room contains “five things like bankers’ bill-books, into whose several compartments MS. notes and newspaper cuttings were thrown…a formidable array of note-books… about twenty large folios of classified facts, ideas, and pictures” (101-102). The narrator states that the disordered clutter of Rolfe’s room would “shock those who fancy that fiction is the spontaneous overflow of a poetic fountain fed by nature only” (101), a comment that reflects Reade’s identification of his own difficulties in the process of invention.


Sexual Minority Female Character Lunatic Asylum Insurance Fraud Newspaper Cutting 
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© Richard Fantina 2010

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  • Richard Fantina

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