Anglo-Saxon Attitudes (New York Review Books Classics)

Anglo-Saxon Attitudes (New York Review Books Classics)

Angus Wilson

Language: English

Pages: 360

ISBN: 159017142X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Gerald Middleton is a sixty-year-old self-proclaimed failure. Worse than that, he’s "a failure with a conscience." As a young man, he was involved in an archaeological dig that turned up an obscene idol in the coffin of a seventh-century bishop and scandalized a generation. The discovery was in fact the most outrageous archaeological hoax of the century, and Gerald has long known who was responsible and why. But to reveal the truth is to risk destroying the world of cozy compromises that, personally as well as professionally, he has long made his own.

One of England's first openly gay novelists, Angus Wilson was a dirty realist who relished the sleaze and scuffle of daily life. Slashingly satirical, virtuosically plotted, and displaying Dickensian humor and nerve, Anglo-Saxon Attitudes features a vivid cast of characters that includes scheming academics and fading actresses, big businessmen toggling between mistresses and wives, media celebrities, hustlers, transvestites, blackmailers, toadies, and even one holy fool. Everyone, it seems, is either in cahoots or in the dark, even as comically intrepid Gerald Middleton struggles to maintain some dignity while digging up a history of lies.

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looking round, ‘But these aren’t big people at all, Yves. These are frightfully, frightfully unimportant people. Darling Marie Hélène, she always manages to get the really unimportant people. It’s her great social gift. They’re what are called stuffed shirts, Yves. You’ll understand that. You speak American so perfectly.’ ‘Sure I understand it,’ Yves said, but he moved away as he saw what he had brought about. Robin turned on Gerald angrily. ‘What the hell do you mean by bringing her here?’ ‘I

about this business in a decent manner. The only bit of proof we’ve got is Portway’s letter to Stoke-say; it means we can’t save their reputations. If only he could really rely on the men who would be at the meeting, but he couldn’t. That was another reason why he couldn’t resign. Clun was an impossible bounder; Lavenham an R.C.; Cuspatt was all right, but in the last resort these Museum fellows were as much bureaucrats as they were scholars — tied by a lot of red tape. Pforzheim was a nice Hun,

of his wife’s cooing admiration of their son’s talent. ‘Once more,’ he read, ‘John Middleton investigates fearlessly a case of tyranny and injustice in this overgoverned England of ours. In each investigation that he undertakes, John Middleton goes directly to the centre of the ill, exposes the canker, and proposes its remedy. He is at once physician, surgeon, and healer, of the serious illnesses which threaten the freedom and decent living of everyone of us in England today, of you and me and

pudding followed by roast goose. Gerald dreaded the effects it would have on his digestion. ‘I shan’t eat much tonight, old dear,’ he said, patting his wife’s shoulder. ‘I’m frightfully tired.’ Ingeborg put down her knife and fork and smiled at John and Kay. ‘Papa doesn’t change,’ she said, winking at them in special intimacy. ‘Even now he believes that he is tired when he is just hungry. Give your father a large piece of goose,’ she said to Donald. ‘There, Gerald, no one can have indigestion

the Church world as one of the powerful-thinking, progressive clergymen with a sense of humour and decent manners. ‘I only hope you’re feeling better,’ he said, and Gerald realized his charm from the immense conviction of personal solicitude he gave to the conventional inquiry. ‘But I’m sure you are, with so charming a Florence Nightingale to attend you.’ Gerald saw a slight look of hostility in Dollie’s eyes and decided at once that Portway’s charm was very meretricious. ‘As to caution, my dear

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