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David the King (1946)

by Gladys Schmitt

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gladys Schmittprimary authorall editionscalculated
O'Toole, CathalIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To my Mother and Father
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All day the sheep had been skittish with mating, but now it was night and the last of the stragglers had been dragged back under the first of the stars.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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The novelization of Old Testament great King David's life was kind of a big deal back in 1946, when already successful first time novelist, Gladys Schmitt, released her second book. Her version of David's story was translated into ten languages, and became a million seller as the main selection of the month for the Literary Guild and the Religious Book Club that year.

As was typical of early 20th Century American commercial literature that might be favored by, or marketed to women, the book was damned with faint praise or outright panned by the critics, but pleased readers with its dramatic and romantic retelling of Biblical events. It is pretty amusing to see Time Magazine's reviewer accuse her (or any author) of being middle brow.

Bad reviews from the literary establishment are not a problem for womens' books fans. David the King passed the word-of-mouth test between readers. Critics didn't cotton to the book's descriptions of maidens with heaving breasts and men clad in nothing but loin cloths, but Gladys Schmitt's audience loved the re-working of this well-known story; one of the tales that made the Bible a best seller!
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