In this, the first 'modern' biography of Harris, Brome boasts of his unprecedented access to numerous private papers, leading the reader to expect some unique revelations of Harris' life. The text itself shows little evidence of this deep research however, and largely consists of long passages quoted from readily-available published sources, in particular Kingsmill and Tobin / Gertz, always scrupulously acknowledged, but giving a constant sense of deja lu to those familiar with them.
This part of the site is dedicated to the notorious author and editor Frank Harris, whose My Life and Loves scandalised Britain, Europe and America in the 1920s. Notwithstanding his reputation as a rogue and womaniser, he was an entertaining writer and individual who was always his own man.
This was one of Harris' least popular and successful books. It was portrayed as 'taking the German side' in the then raging First World War, and gained him the enmity of Arnold Bennett and others. In a more accurate view, Harris' purpose was to persuade America to stay out of the conflict. But his stated motives were different: he felt that the Germans were being unfairly depicted as militaristic brutes, and that a simplistic view of the conflict as 'good' (the British) versus 'evil' (the Germans) was being generally propagated.
Harris chose Joan as the subject of a play because he was enchanted by her story and wanted to communicate it. Unfortunately the story is not well suited to the Harrisian style and Harris was no dramatist, though he persisted in the illusion that he was. His enthusiasm for this ill-advised piece does however indicate that despite his rakish reputation he was still at heart something of a sentimental idealist.
Love in Youth is probably Harris's least known published work, after How to Beat the Boer. It is also one of his least successful, in both commercial and artistic terms.