Sax Rohmer  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Arthur Henry Sarsfield Ward (February 15, 1883 - June 1, 1959), better known as Sax Rohmer, was a prolific English novelist. He is most remembered for his series of novels featuring the master criminal Dr. Fu Manchu.


Born in Birmingham he had an entirely working class education and early career before beginning to write. His first published work was in 1903, the short story The Mysterious Mummy for Pearson's Weekly. He made his early living writing comedy sketches for music hall performers and short stories and serials for magazines. In 1909 he married Rose Knox. He published his first novel anonymously in 1910, Pause! and the first Fu Manchu story, The Mystery of Dr. Fu Manchu was serialized over 1912-13. It was an immediate success with its fast paced story of Sir Denis Nayland Smith and Dr. Petrie facing the worldwide conspiracy of the 'Yellow Peril'. The Fu Manchu stories, together with those featuring Gaston Max or Morris Klaw, made Rohmer one of the most successful and well-paid writers in of the 1920s and 1930s. But Rohmer was very poor at handling his wealth. After World War II the Rohmers moved to New York.

A number of films were made featuring Dr. Fu Manchu. Warner Oland starred in three early talkies: 1929's The Mysterious Dr. Fu Manchu, 1930's The Return of Dr. Fu Manchu, and 1931's Daughter of the Dragon. Boris Karloff starred in 1932's The Mask of Fu Manchu. There was a Republic Pictures serial, Drums of Fu Manchu in 1940 and a short-lived TV series, The Adventures of Fu Manchu in 1956. The character was revived after his creator's death for a series of variable quality starring Christopher Lee: The Face of Fu Manchu (1965), The Brides of Fu Manchu (1966), The Vengeance of Fu Manchu (1967), The Blood of Fu Manchu (1968), and The Castle of Fu Manchu (1969). Pulp film legend Harry Alan Towers produced two films based on the Sumuru character in the 1960s, and an updated space fantasy version in 2002. Legendary comic actor Peter Sellers starred in the 1980 spoof, The Fiendish Plot of Dr. Fu Manchu. The Fu Manchu characters were featured in Marvel Comics' long-running series, Master of Kung-Fu and were revived for two novels by Rohmer's friend and biographer, Cay van Ash. A new authorized novel featuring the characters, The Terror of Fu Manchu by William Patrick Maynard is expected in 2007.

Selected bibliography

Elaine H. Kim, Asian American Literature, an introduction to the writings and their social context, Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1982 (especially the chapter on Fu Manchu).

  • Pause!, 1910
  • Little Tich (Autobiography)(ghostwritten by Ward) 191?
  • The Sins of Severac Bablon, 1914
  • The Mystery of Dr. Fu Manchu, [US Title: The Insidious Dr. Fu Manchu] 1913
  • The Yellow Claw, 1915
  • The Exploits of Captain O'Hagan 1916
  • The Devil Doctor, [US Title: The Return of Dr. Fu Manchu] 1916
  • The Si-Fan Mysteries, [US Title: The Hand of Fu Manchu] 1917
  • Brood of the Witch Queen, 1918
  • Tales of Secret Egypt, 1918
  • The Orchard of Tears 1918
  • Dope, a Story of Chinatown, 1919
  • The Golden Scorpion, 1919
  • Quest of the Sacred Slipper, 1919
  • The Dream Detective, 1920
  • The Green Eyes of Bast, 1920
  • The Haunting of Low Fennel, 1920
  • Bat Wing, 1921
  • Tales of Chinatown, 1922
  • Fire Tongue, 1921
  • Grey Face, 1924
  • Yellow Shadows, 1925
  • Moon of Madness, 1927
  • She Who Sleeps, 1928
  • The Book of Fu Manchu, [Compilation of first 3 Books] 1929
  • The Emperor of America 1929
  • The Day the World Ended 1930
  • The Daughter of Fu Manchu, 1931
  • Yu'an Hee See Laughs, 1932
  • The Mask of Fu Manchu, 1932
  • Tales of East and West (British edition) 1932
  • Tales of East and West(American edition) 1933
  • Fu Manchu's Bride, 1933 [UK Title: The Bride of Fu Manchu]
  • The Trail of Fu Manchu 1934
  • The Bat Flies Low, 1935
  • President Fu Manchu, 1936
  • White Velvet, 1936
  • Salute to Bazarada and other stories 1939
  • The Drums of Fu Manchu, 1939
  • The Island of Fu Manchu, 1941
  • Seven Sins 1943
  • Egyptian Nights(Bimbashi Barak of Egypt) 1944
  • The Shadow of Fu Manchu, 1948
  • Hanover House 1949
  • The Sins of Sumuru, [US Title: Nude in Mink] 1950
  • Wulfheim(written as Michael Furey)later printing as Sax Rohmer 1950
  • The Slaves of Sumuru, [US Title: Sumuru] 1951
  • Virgin in Flames, [US Title: Fire Goddess] 1953
  • Sand and Satin, [US Title: Return of Sumuru] 1954
  • The Moon is Red 1954
  • Sinister Madonna, 1956
  • Re-enter Fu Manchu, 1957 [UK Title: Re-Enter Dr. Fu Manchu]
  • Emperor Fu Manchu, 1959
  • The Secret of Holm Peel and other Strange Stories 1970
  • The Wrath of Fu Manchu, 1973 [published posthumously]

see also:

  • Master of Villainy - biography by Cay Van Ash and Elizabeth Sax Rohmer
  • Twent years beyond Baker street (Sherlock Holmes clash with Fu Manchu)by Cay Van Ash 1984

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Sax Rohmer" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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