META NAME="Forgotten Classics" CONTENT="neglected novels forgotten authors."

forgotten classics

'Reading neglected writers so you don't have to' A Time Out column and a blog for books that seem to be undeservedly forgotten, from John Galsworthy to Rose Macaulay, from Amos Tutuola to DH Lawrence, from W. Somerset Maugham to Fanny Burney. What books do you think we should revive? If you love a writer who has lapsed in popularity please let me know! Are my choices controversial?

Monday, September 11, 2006

Patrick Hamilton

I'm currently reading The Slaves of Solitude (1943) by Patrick Hamilton, the great forgotten man of 1930s and 1940s fiction. Hamilton's maybe best known nowadays for the films of his work - Gaslight with Anton Walbrook, and Hitchcock's famous experimental film Rope. There is an article on filming Hamilton's work (mainly about Rope) by Iain Sinclair here. Hamilton's prose is accomplished and sparkling, but his novels are about the dark lonely corners of pre and post war London. Hangover Square (1941), generally considered his masterpiece, concerns the grey world of a down at heel borderling alcoholic whose obsessive drinkign and relationships combine to fray his hold on reality. Hamtilson's protagonists are fearful and sensitive, worried and prevailed upon. Here is a taste of his cynicism from The Slaves of Solitude:
'When he at last came out the other elderly guests were already setting about their business - the business, that is to say, of those who in fact had no business on this earth save that of cautiously steering their respective failing bodies along paths free from discomfort and illness in the direction of the final illness which would exterminate them'


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