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 fascinated about an archaeological dig that became 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 recognized who used to be liable and why. yet to bare in truth to probability destroying the area of comfortable compromises that, for my part in addition to professionally, he has lengthy made his own.
One of England's first overtly homosexual novelists, Angus Wilson was once a filthy realist who relished the sleaze and scuffle of way of life. 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, great businessmen toggling among mistresses and better halves, media celebrities, hustlers, transvestites, blackmailers, toadies, or even one holy idiot. each person, it kind of feels, is both in cahoots or at midnight, at the same time comically intrepid Gerald Middleton struggles to keep up a few dignity whereas digging up a heritage of lies.
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Extra resources for Anglo-Saxon Attitudes (New York Review Books Classics)
Defoe’s protagonists are vagrants who have gone ‘beyond the line’ in one way or another and who attempt to repatriate and ‘re-civilize’ themselves, as Dampier does. The thematization in Roderick Random and Rasselas of moral and civil incalculability in a world whose diverse parts are connected by fancy is, in a sense, brought to non-ﬁctional life in the journals of Cook and Bligh, both of whom recognize that the success or failure of their expeditions depend upon the ability of the captain to make moral calculations about the impact of commercial enterprise on seamen and natives.
The choice of texts is, in fact, deliberately selective, as I focus on a group of popular maritime narratives from the period that is coming to represent something like a ‘canon’ in studies of eighteenthcentury British discovery literature. 69 I do not suggest that non-ﬁctional texts offer a more reliable account of the parts of the world which they represent than ﬁctional ones; neither do I argue that imaginative literature offers a more critical or detached account of its subject matter than ‘mere’ documentary records.
The ‘search into knowledge’, he then went on to argue, makes men of science ‘serviceable to their country’ (26) since, even as they teach kings better government, they also open up channels for the transmission of both scientiﬁc data and merchant capital back to the metropolis: ‘in a short time there will scarce a ship come up the Thames that does not make some return of experiments, as well as of merchandise’ (86). 8 At the legislative level this took the form of a series of Navigation Acts granting England exclusive trading rights with its colonies and restricting the use of foreign ships in order to maintain a 36 British Discovery Literature and Global Commerce strong merchant marine.