A stunning anomaly within the literary oeuvre of Patrick Hamilton, "Impromptu in Moribundia" (first published in 1939) is the most explicit production of his interest in a Marxist analysis of society. It is a satirical fable about one (nameless) man's trespass (through a fantastical machine called the 'Asteradio') into a parallel universe on a far-off planet where the 'miserably dull affairs of England' are mirrored and transformed into an apparent idyll of bourgeois English imagination. "Moribundia" - in the words of Peter Widdowson, editor and annotator of this edition - is the 'physical enactment of the stereotypes and myths of English middleclass culture and consciousness'. Yet the narrator comes to discover that he has stumbled among a people characterized by 'cupidity, ignorance, complacence, meanness, ugliness, short-sightedness, cowardice, credulity, hysteria and, when the occasion called for it ...cruelty and blood-thirstiness'. Faber Finds is devoted to restoring to readers a wealth of lost or neglected classics and authors of distinction. The range embraces fiction, non-fiction, the arts and children's books.
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Patrick Hamilton (1904 -1962) was an English playwright and novelist. Born in Hassocks, Sussex, he attended Westminster School but left aged 15. After a brief career in the theatre he published his debut novel Monday Morning (1925), at the age of 21. Craven House (1926) and Twopence Coloured (1928) followed, but his breakthrough success was a play, Rope (1929). A semi-autobiographical trilogy of novels followed, Twenty Thousand Streets Under the Sky (1935), then another successful play, Gas Light (1938), which was made into a film, as was Rope (by Alfred Hitchcock, in 1948.) The satirical work Impromptu in Moribundia (1939) is considered to be Hamilton's 'political' novel. Hangover Square (1941) is widely rated as his best, alongside The Slaves of Solitude (1947). His later 'Gorse Trilogy' of novels, not so critically acclaimed, was nonetheless a popular success and inspired a television adaptation. Hamilton died in 1962 of cirrhosis of the liver and kidney failure, in Sheringham, Norfolk
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