Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Imperial Gothic

WHO WAS SARGENT KAYME? Because I like mysteries, I did some online sleuthing on a recently acquired book to shed light on the identity of the author behind Anting-Anting Stories and Other Strange Tales of the Filipinos, well-received book of short stories (in 1901 when America was fascinated by the exoticism of its new possessions) but only came upon one interesting lead. Written under a pseudonym, the book was thought to have been written not by "a soldier in the United States service but a well-known New England author" (Current Literature, 1901) and indeed reminds one of Kipling out of other writers of the Gothic during the imperialist period--Conrad, Croker, Perrin, Bierce, Crawford et al. "Mivins", the only other known work ascribed to this nom de plume, was a short story in the July 1902 issue of Metropolitan Magazine (More on this later). So if the writer was a well-known author, why use a pseudonym? Wouldn't using the real name help sell a book, much more one of demonstrated quality? Care to take a stab? I've given up, going instead for a story in the anting-anting collection that touches on Mindoro and gives one a taste of Moro terror and raw swift's nest.

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