TODAY IN LITERARY HISTORY
Arthur Henry Ward, better known as Sax Rohmer, was a prolific English novelist. He is best remembered for his series of novels featuring the master criminal Dr. Fu Manchu.
He published his first book Pause! anonymously in 1910 but it was in 1911 that he issued the first Fu Manchu novel, The Mystery of Dr. Fu-Manchu, serialized from October 1912 to June 1913, an immediate success, with its fast-paced story of Denis Nayland Smith and Dr. Petrie facing the worldwide conspiracy of the 'Yellow Peril'.
The Fu Manchu stories, together with his more conventional detective series characters—Paul Harley, Gaston Max, Red Kerry, Morris Klaw (an occult detective), and The Crime Magnet—made Rohmer one of the most successful and well-paid authors of the 1920s and 1930s.
The Fu Manchu series drew much criticism from the Chinese government and Chinese communities in the US for what was seen as negative ethnic stereotyping. Sociologist Virginia Berridge claims Rohmer created a false image of London's Chinese community as crime-ridden, further claiming that the Limehouse Chinese were one of the most law-abiding of London's ethnic minorities. Critic Jack Adrian notes that "Rohmer's own racism was careless and casual, a mere symptom of his times".
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