Ernest Bramah Smith (1868-1942) was a British author, better known by his pen name, Ernest Bramah.
He initially tried farming, but moved into journalism and became secretary to Jerome K. Jerome. As a writer, he achieved the remarkable feat of being successful on a continuing basis in two strikingly different forms of fiction. His detective-fiction character, the blind but remarkably percipient Max Carrados, was well received through several volumes of his exploits.
Bramah also created "a China that never was" and set in it tales of an itinerant story teller named Kai Lung; these tales (often tales-within-tales) are marked by a dry irony and deliciously absurd parody of the formally polite Chinese mode of expression, as understood by westerners of the time. The Kai Lung tales were quite popular with the intelligentsia of the times: writers from Dorothy L. Sayers to Thorne Smith mention the urbane tales in their own works.
One modern writer who is often compared to Bramah is Barry Hughart.
Quotations about Bramah
- Bramah's books fall into two very unequal categories. Some, fortunately the smaller part, record the adventures of the blind detective, Max Carrados. These are competent, mediocre books. The rest are parodic in nature: they pass themselves off as translations from the Chinese, and their boundless perfection achieved the unconditional praise of Hilaire Belloc in 1922. Their names: The Wallet of Kai Lung (1900), Kai Lung's Golden Hours (1922), Kai Lung Unrolls His Mat (1928), The Mirror of Kong Ho (1931), The Moon of Much Gladness (1936).
- Jorge Luis Borges, The Total Library
Prediction of Fascism
George Orwell credited a little-known Bramah dystopian novel, "The Secret of the League" (1907) with having given a considerably accurate prediction of the rise of Fascism.
- ^ George Orwell, "Predictions of Fascism", originally published in "Tribune" on July 12, 1940, appearing in "The Collected Essays, Jouranlism and Letters of George Orwell", Volume 2, p. 47-48).
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