Opulent Match [Ménage.com 3] (Siren Publishing Menage Everlasting)


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His circumstances and his views are fitted together with the utmost care to make one consistent personality. His views run very close at times—but not always—to the views his author has in his own person expressed; nevertheless, is it too much to ask that they be treated here as his own? Naturally his point of view is like Mr. That was to be expected. How can one imagine and invent the whole interior world of an uncongenial type? Every author must write of the reactions he knows; he must be near enough to them to feel them sympathetically.

It is unreasonable to expect the author of this book to write of the inner life of such people as the devout Mr. Belloc, for example, or the aristocratic Duke of Northumberland, or the political Mr. Ramsay MacDonald. He can only comment on such types from an inaccessible remoteness, attack them, admire them, state his differences from them. Their ultimate processes are inconceivable to him.

There never was a character created by an imaginative author from the inside which did not contain this quite unavoidable element of self-projection. Even Hamlet is believed to be a self-projection of Shakespeare.

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But while this is forgiven and taken for granted in the criticism of most authors, it is made a stock grievance against the present writer. It would be a great kindness to a no doubt undeserving author if in this instance William Clissold could be treated as William Clissold, and if Mr Wells could be spared the standard charge of having changed his views afresh, and so forth and so on, because William Clissold sees many things from a different angle than did Mr. Preemby, Dr. Devizes, Dr. Wells' scandalously varied views and attitudes.

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And it is a point worth considering in this period of successful personal memoirs that if the author had wanted to write a mental autobiography instead of a novel, there is no conceivable reason why he should not have done so. Which brings us to the second point in this intimate but necessary plea. It is a work of fiction, purely and completely. One thing which is something of an innovation has to be noted.

A great number of real people are actually named in this story. It is, the author submits, impossible to get the full effect of contemporary life in which living ideas and movements playa dominant part without doing that.

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You cannot have a man like William Clissold going about the world of to-day and never meeting anybody one has ever heard of. Some of these living personages are not only mentioned but more or less described. But always under their proper names. Jung is made to talk in a London flat. It is very much as he talked in a London flat. He appears because certain original ideas of his have been taken and woven into the Clissold point of view, and it was at once ungracious not to acknowledge the far-reaching suggestions that came from him and clumsy and self-important to make a footnote or a prefatory note.

Shaw, again, the Shaw of the 'eighties, blows into a Kensington evening, and Keynes lunches with Clissold. These are affectionate hospitalities; they do not wound nor injure and can awaken no resentment. With one transparent exception, the vignette of a great scientific man at home in Book I. The more nearly they may approach to living instances, the more fictitious they are. They say and do things that living people are saying and doing. That is inevitable in a picture of contemporary life. If one were to write a story in which a Prime Minister had to figure during the Balfour regime, it would be necessary to have a Prime Minister rather like Lord Balfour—or everything would have to be different.

If an August Personage has to descend into the narrative, it would have to be drawn to the figure of the August Personage of the period. A beggar or a policeman must be something like some beggar or policeman one actually knows.

People must be more or less similar to real people up and down the scale, so long as one is writing a novel and not a fantasy. But though you made your Prime Minister as Balfouresque as possible or your Prince as princely, it would be for atmosphere and not for statement, and the last imputation that is permissible against a novelist is that he is trying to say or insinuate this or that about an individual without daring to say it plainly and directly to the proper address.

Cannot this sort of imputation be checked? Cannot those who criticise books and write about books cease to pander to that favourite amusement of vulgar, half-educated, curious, but ill-informed people, the hunt for the imaginary "originals" of every fictitious character for those who will, for example, discover in the present case that X or Y or Z, who is an advertising specialist, "sat for" the brother Dickon of this story, or that Lady Steinhart is some particular resident in Cannes or Nice—because she has a large garden?

And that it is all great fun and very malicious and not for a moment to be treated as serious literature. This identification of "originals" is an old trick of the Victorian novelist and publisher; it was, I suppose, an attempt to enhance interest by that faint intimation of libel. It is really not just to the spirit and intention of a book of this type. An inanimate instance from this book will make the matter clearer without touching upon any personal note.

There is written here the most exact and detailed description of the mas , which is the scene of nearly the whole novel. Rooms in that house are described, bits of its garden, the view from the windows. It is possible to locate that mas within a few miles of Grasse; it is possible to find not one but a score of views closely similar to the view pictured so explicitly, a similar mas is to be found.


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But the actual mas no one will ever find, nor the precise rooms, nor the exact view. That mas does not exist. That view does not exist. It is the case of Mr. Britling's home over again, which everyone who did not know Mr. Wells' home in Essex very well, knew so surely was an exact account of Easton Glebe. The less these identifiers knew about it, the more they appreciated the photographic quality of the picture. The less they knew Mr. Wells, the more certainly they recognised him in Mr.

Enthusiastic strangers still invade Mr.

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Wells at times with the demand to see the place where he wept when he heard that his eldest son was killed. It is embarrassing to encounter such intrusive sympathy for an entirely imaginary loss. And matters become complicated when "originals" volunteer and surrender to the detectives.

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A charming contemporary has just confided to the world that she was the "original" of Beatrice in Tono Bungay. It is the first intimation that has reached the author of this interesting fact. No one would have suspected it. But this time may we have a truce to such artless tributes to the novelist's art? It was William Clissold, an entirely fictitious character, who thought out most of the problems of his life and made belated love to his fictitious Clementina in a fictitious mas in Provence, and in spite of the entirely imaginary wreckage of an automobile in the road to Thorenc the author survives.

It is no good to look for that stone, with its simple inscription, in the Magagnosc cemetery.

To the best of his knowledge and belief the author has never been buried anywhere. Even brother Dickon's allusion to William's good looks is not to be regarded as modest self-revelation.

All novelists use actual experiences in their work. They must know things before they tell about them. But all novelists rearrange, sublimate, intensify. One turns over the sketch-book of one's memories and uses what one needs. One takes a lifted eyebrow here and a mimosa in flower there.

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