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Impromptu in Moribundia Paperback – 17 Nov 2011


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Product details

  • Paperback: 194 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber (17 Nov. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571283632
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571283637
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.4 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 357,481 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

Patrick Hamilton (1904 -1962) was an English playwright and novelist. Born in Hassocks, Sussex, he attended Westminster School but left aged 15. After a brief career in the theatre he published his debut novel Monday Morning (1925), at the age of 21. Craven House (1926) and Twopence Coloured (1928) followed, but his breakthrough success was a play, Rope (1929). A semi-autobiographical trilogy of novels followed, Twenty Thousand Streets Under the Sky (1935), then another successful play, Gas Light (1938), which was made into a film, as was Rope (by Alfred Hitchcock, in 1948.) The satirical work Impromptu in Moribundia (1939) is considered to be Hamilton's 'political' novel. Hangover Square (1941) is widely rated as his best, alongside The Slaves of Solitude (1947). His later 'Gorse Trilogy' of novels, not so critically acclaimed, was nonetheless a popular success and inspired a television adaptation. Hamilton died in 1962 of cirrhosis of the liver and kidney failure, in Sheringham, Norfolk

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Format: Paperback
I adore Patrick Hamilton's "Hangover Square" (1941) - my favourite novel of all time; "The Slaves of Solitude" (1947) is superb; I also really enjoyed the first two Gorse novels - "The West Pier" (1952); and "Mr Stimpson and Mr Gorse" (1953); and "Craven House" (1926). I felt Twopence Coloured was slightly less successful that these titles. All of these books benefit from a knowledge of Patrick Hamilton's life, and consequently I would also heartily recommend the biography of Patrick Hamilton, "Through A Glass Darkly: The Life of Patrick Hamilton" by Nigel Jones. Since reading "Hangover Square", I have been working my way through all of Patrick Hamilton's work and, with that in mind, have just completed "Impromptu in Moribundia".

"Impromptu in Moribundia" was published in 1939 and is something of an anomaly within the literary oeuvre of Patrick Hamilton. In common with his other novels he uses the book to comment on the 'cupidity, ignorance, complacence, meanness, ugliness, short-sightedness, cowardice, credulity, hysteria and, when the occasion called for it ... cruelty and blood-thirstiness' of contemporary society - in particular 'the sickening stench of the decaying genteels'. However, unlike his other books, which are firmly rooted in the "real world" (of early 20th century southern England), this satirical story takes place on the planet Moribundia. Moribundia is a thinly disguised, albeit comically exaggerated, version of the England of Hamilton's time. By reversing place names, people's names, and other labels, Patrick Hamilton comments on contemporary life. For example, Aldous Huxley becomes 'Yelxuh', Marxists are 'Stsixram', and so on.
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