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Anglo-Saxon Attitudes

By Angus Wilson & Jane Smiley
Anglo-Saxon Attitudes by Angus Wilson & Jane Smiley digital book - Fable

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Publisher Description

"One of the five greatest novels of the century." —Anthony Burgess

The hilarious classic novel of postwar, mid-century English academia, documenting a Middle Age historian’s middle-aged slump, and his efforts to finally set his life right

Gerald Middleton is a 60-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 7th-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.

Scathingly satirical, with Dickensian humor and nerve, Anglo-Saxon Attitudes features a virtuosic plot and 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.

One of England's first openly gay novelists, Angus Wilson was a dirty realist who relished the sleaze and scuffle of daily life. V.S. Pritchett called the novel "…brilliant and ambitious…In every generation one or two novelists revise the conventional picture of English character." 
 

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About Angus Wilson

Angus Wilson (1913–1991) worked as a deputy superintendent of the British Museum Reading Room before establishing a reputation with a collection of short stories, The Wrong Set. A novel, Hemlock and After, one of the first English books to describe the lives of gay men, brought more success, and Wilson began a prolific career as a writer of fiction, criticism, and reviews. He was a professor of English at the University of East Anglia and spent his last years in France.

Jane Smiley, winner of the 1992 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, is the author of many novels and other works. In 2010 she published Private Life, a novel; A Good Horse, a book for young adults; and The Man Who Invented the Computer, the first volume of the Sloane American Inventors series.

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