‘A dream – a vision, if you will – of romance. It is a fairy tale for adults’ – Sheffield Independent
‘Vivid, unexpected, fantastic, original, and independent […] a brilliant, penetrating piece of work’ – Aberdeen Press and Journal
‘A clever and well written narrative’ – Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal
Winner of the Hawthornden Prize in 1921, The Death of Society is one of Romer Wilson’s best-known novels.
A survivor of the Great War, Major Rane Smith finds himself wearily wandering amidst the mystical inlets of Norway, seeking spiritual renewal. Deep in the forest, he fatefully stumbles upon the strange, elvish home of an old, radical Ibsen scholar, Karl Ingman. It is there that Major Smith meets Ingman’s two beautiful young daughters and his ghostly wife, Rosa.
During his stay, he enters into long days of profound dialogue with each family member. Whilst learning of the simplicity of Norwegian life, these discussions also expose the existential dilemmas faced by post-war Europe, as the protagonists struggle to reconcile their understanding of a world stricken by suffering and imperfection. A rare and exquisite gem of a novel, The Death of Society explores the impact of love on such a society, showing deep intellectual, artistic, and philosophical passions against the backdrop of a romantic passion just as profound.
Fallen into a strange obscurity after her untimely death, Romer Wilson’s novel deserves a revival of reputation that was so widely recognized in her lifetime.
Romer Wilson (1891 – 1930) was a British writer, and winner of the 1921 Hawthornden Prize. For her extraordinary talent, she has been compared to many beloved authors, including the great modernist writer Katherine Mansfield, Keats, and the Bronte sisters. Her writing career was brief but full: she wrote novels, plays, novellas, and a biography. A collection of fairy tales Wilson had compiled from around the world was also posthumously published in three volumes.