A picture for the book Lorna Doone

Lorna Doone

I find this 1920 summary to be overly harsh, but wished to include it as an instructive example of how fickle reputations can be in the literary world. Consider that the American author Herman Melville was not widely read during his lifetime and died in literary obscurity only to gain wide spread recognition after his death. Here we find the situation reversed, where Blackmore succeeds in capturing worldwide recognition while living, only to drop towards obscurity in death (save for this particular work).

LORNA DOONE, by Richard Doddridge Blackmore, published in 1869, was one of the earliest and by far the most popular of all Blackmore's dozen or more novels. By some critics it has been esteemed one of the great pieces of English fiction, but this praise is undoubtedly excessive. The theme is entirely romantic, there being little realism and no “problem” writing whatever. It is the theme of apparently hopeless, but finally triumphant, love; of feminine pity and distress; of manly courtesy and resolution; of the success of the noble-hearted and the discomfiting of evil men. John Ridd, a young rustic giant of North Devon, rescues the high-born Lorna from the hands of her outlaw relatives and finally rises not only to the possession of Lorna's hand, but to high position on the strength of his own merit. There is some historical background out of the reigns of Charles II and James II, most vividly represented at the battle of Sedgemoor. The Doones themselves are largely legendary. Probably their formidableness and knavery are very much exaggerated over any actual facts, just as the scenery of Devon and Somerset, especially the description of Doone Valley, are great exaggerations. Interwoven with the romantic and semi-historical pictures of the tale are many pleasant details of country life and many quiet scenes and adventures of a placid rural sort. The length of the story is not diminished by being told in the first person by the hero, but it is full of honest spirit and of attractive detail.

William T. Brewster.

In the 1893 illustration to the right, John ("Jan") Ridd learns to shoot his father's gun.

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Chapter 37

Chapter 38

Chapter 39

Chapter 40

Chapter 41

Chapter 42

Chapter 43

Chapter 44

Chapter 45

Chapter 46

Chapter 47

Chapter 48

Chapter 49

Chapter 50

Chapter 51

Chapter 52

Chapter 53

Chapter 54

Chapter 55

Chapter 56

Chapter 57

Chapter 58

Chapter 59

Chapter 60

Chapter 61

Chapter 62

Chapter 63

Chapter 64

Chapter 65

Chapter 66

Chapter 67

Chapter 68

Chapter 69

Chapter 70

Chapter 71

Chapter 72

Chapter 73

Chapter 74

Chapter 75

Return to R. D. Blackmore's library.