Wednesday, August 24, 2005

"Evangelist" by Joyce Cary

A bored, misanthropic Englishman's summer vacation no longer cheers him; maybe it's his attitude, and maybe it's the world. Meeting up with an old acquaintance by chance may or may not make him feel better. Read by Scoot.

If you've read The Horse's Mouth, you've read what we consider one of the most inventive (and most undervalued) novels of the twentieth century, and certainly the best about an artist struggling with his failures. (That novel was one of a trilogy centering around the painter Gulley Jimson.) Joyce Cary, born Arthur Joyce Lunel, had once intended to be a painter himself, but got sidetracked by literature and soon began publishing the novels which made him fairly popular up until his death in 1957 (making the cover of Time along the way). Mister Johnson was the first of several novels set in Africa, based in part upon his experiences as a civil servant and soldier in Nigeria and Cameroon before and during World War I. After the war, Cary moved back to Oxford, England, where his novels followed the social and cultural changes of the country.

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