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Book Title: The Polyglots|
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The author of the book: William Gerhardie
Date of issue: July 1st 2001
ISBN 13: 9781853754456
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 538 KB
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The Polyglots is the story of an eccentric Belgian family living in the Far East in the uncertain years after World War I and the Russian Revolution. The tale is recounted by their dryly conceited young English relative, Captain Georges Hamlet Alexander Diabologh, who comes to stay with them during a military mission. Teeming with bizarre characters—depressives, obsessives, paranoiacs, hypochondriacs, and sex maniacs—Gerhardie paints a brilliantly absurd world where the comic and the tragic are profoundly and irrevocably entwined.
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Read information about the authorWilliam Alexander Gerhardie (21 November 1895 – 15 July 1977) was a British (Anglo-Russian) novelist and playwright.
William Gerhardie by Norman Ivor Lancashire (1927-2004). Photograph by Stella Harpley
Gerhardie (or Gerhardi: he added the 'e' in later years as an affectation) was one of the most critically acclaimed English novelists of the 1920s (Evelyn Waugh told him 'I have talent, but you have genius'). H.G. Wells also championed his work. His first novel, Futility, was written while he was at Worcester College, Oxford and drew on his experiences in Russia fighting (or attempting to fight) the Bolsheviks, along with his childhood experiences visiting pre-revolutionary Russia. Some say that it was the first work in English to fully explore the theme of 'waiting' later made famous by Samuel Beckett in Waiting for Godot, but it is probably more apt to recognize a common comic nihilism between those two figures. His next novel, The Polyglots, is probably his masterpiece (although some argue for Doom). Again it deals with Russia (Gerhardie was strongly influenced by the tragi-comic style of Russian writers such as Chekhov about whom he wrote a study while in College).
He collaborated with Hugh Kingsmill on the biography The Casanova Fable, his friendship with Kingsmill being both a source of conflict over women and a great intellectual stimulus.
After World War II Gerhardie's star waned, and he became unfashionable. Although he continued to write, he published no new work after 1939. After a period of poverty-stricken oblivion, he lived to see two 'definitive collected works' published by Macdonald (in 1947-49 and then revised again in 1970-74). An idiosyncratic study of world history between 1890 and 1940 ("God's Fifth Column") was discovered among his papers and published posthumously. More recently, both Prion and New Directions Press have been reissuing his works.
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