By Angus Wilson
Gerald Middleton is a sixty-year-old self-proclaimed failure. Worse than that, he’s "a failure with a conscience." As a tender guy, he was once excited about an archaeological dig that grew to become up an obscene idol within the coffin of a seventh-century bishop and scandalized a new release. the invention used to be actually the main outrageous archaeological hoax of the century, and Gerald has lengthy identified who used to be liable and why. yet to bare in actual fact to threat destroying the realm of comfortable compromises that, in my view in addition to professionally, he has lengthy made his own.
One of England's first brazenly homosexual novelists, Angus Wilson used to be a grimy realist who relished the sleaze and scuffle of lifestyle. Slashingly satirical, virtuosically plotted, and exhibiting Dickensian humor and nerve, Anglo-Saxon Attitudes encompasses a shiny solid of characters that comes with scheming lecturers and fading actresses, immense businessmen toggling among mistresses and other halves, media celebrities, hustlers, transvestites, blackmailers, toadies, or even one holy idiot. every person, it sort of feels, is both in cahoots or at the hours of darkness, at the same time comically intrepid Gerald Middleton struggles to take care of a few dignity whereas digging up a background of lies.
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Additional info for Anglo-Saxon Attitudes (New York Review Books Classics)
But they remain in our background-memory of what being a guardian means, of what social influences can do, before we can dismiss the concerns as old-fashioned or over-protective. It is the same fear of moral miasma that Dickens’s Little Dorrit feels when she sees her father, her brother, and her sister all succumbing to the prison mentality. At any rate, regardless of Mrs Anstruther’s objections as to the undesirability of the association, Mrs Penrhyn slyly presumes to invite Mrs Randolph to stay in her house during the Christmas visit of Mrs Anstruther and the children, without prior warning.
The little influence which I thought I had gained at home is entirely neutralized here. … It is in vain to fight against the inevitable. Mrs. Randolph shall come or go, without any remark from me. So also I will not inquire whether Ina knew of the visit and kept it from me. Ignorance is as often wisdom as it is bliss. I am not required to stand upon my right if I am not supposed to be aware that any right has been infringed; and if Ina were to tell me – as no doubt she would – that her grandmamma had forbidden her to mention that Mrs.
If we are, biologically, feeling and believing and doing creatures, as Newman argues, with all the attendant risks, then unharnessed intelligence is in danger of being notional, of putting us above ourselves. It is William James who takes on the Victorian heritage in these matters, when in 1895 in a talk at Harvard on W. H. Mallock’s fine book Is Life Worth Living? he speaks of intelligence’s neutrality as finally unsustainable: This is because, as the psychologists tell us, belief and doubt are living attitudes, and involve conduct on our part.