Wednesday, 13 January 2010


Later this month we release Gryll Grange, by Thomas Love Peacock. Peacock is a fascinating figure in many ways, but, although a close friend of Shelley and considered an important Romantic writer, his star has never been hitched to the popular wagon. The structure of his novels falls strangely upon the modern reader, in that narrative is of relatively little significance, and there are long passages of witty, erudite dialogue set out as in a playscript. The prose, however, is like a diamond glittering with style, eloquence and satire, and, once the tone and structure are gotten used to, will hold great rewards for readers in any age.
Remarkably, Gryll Grange was written twenty-nine years after its predecessor, Crotchet Castle, after Peacock had retired from a long and highly successful mangerial role in the British East India Company's shipping line, a post in which he was succeeded by another thoughtful scribbler, John Stuart Mill. The book opens with a discussion on misnomers of various sorts, and provides a riposte to any accusations of irrelevance to the modern day thus:
I am afraid that we live in a world of misnomers..... In my little experience I have found that a gang of swindling bankers is a respectable old firm......and that a man who successively betrays everybody that trusts him, and abandons every principle he ever professed, is a great statestman.....
Plus ca change.

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