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Scarborough, Dorothy

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author, Critic.

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(1878-1935) Working name of Emily Dorothy Scarborough, US author best known for her novels about the contemporary American southwest, most notably The Wind (1925), a hauntingly surreal portrait of a woman maddened by listening to the Texas winds. While she edited two volumes of ghost stories (see Eschatology; Supernatural Creatures), Famous Modern Ghost Stories (1921) and Humorous Ghost Stories (1921; vt Funny Bones 2009), she is of greatest sf interest for her published doctoral dissertation, The Supernatural in Modern English Fiction (1917), inasmuch as its final chapter on "Supernatural Science" qualifies as the first scholarly examination of sf (which she terms "scientific supernaturalism"). Unlike other early academics who discussed sf (see Critical and Historical Works About SF), Scarborough sees the genre primarily as a product of the late nineteenth century and focuses her attention on short stories, endeavouring to classify her material by its subject matter and mentioning not only famous authors like H G Wells and Arthur Conan Doyle but such now-forgotten figures as Barry Pain and John Kendrick Bangs. Her pioneering survey remains worth reading today. [GW]

Emily Dorothy Scarborough

born Mount Carmel, Texas: 27 January 1878

died New York: 7 November 1935

works (selected)


works as editor

about the author

  • Gary Westfahl, "On the Trail of a Pioneer: Dorothy Scarborough, the First Academic Critic of Science Fiction" (Winter 1999 Extrapolation) [mag/]


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