John Worth is a painter with a genuine calling, and a real gift. But he seems in some sense subdued. His radical girlfriend has a ready diagnosis: she tells him that his work will never come to more than decoration if he does not infuse it with social meaning, political meaning. Because she is a substantial person he has to consider what she says, and it hurts-he's just not the man for the job. Stubbornly, instinctively, Worth resists. His dealer's advisor has glimpsed something in Worth's paintings that has made him buy, quietly, a number of the works for himself. He pays a visit to the artist, and suggests that he do something violent, if only as an experiment. Battered by this time, he agrees to think about it. He paints a picture airless as a De Chirico, and filled with the symbols of destruction. His friend denounces what seems to her to be the pornography of violence with no human reference, a mere icon of death. Worth understands that the judgment touches not only the work but his character. He is angry and disheartened.
His life becomes disordered, unhappy. But somehow, in his trouble and loneliness, he finds himself breaking new ground. He has always been workmanlike and steady. Now he works endlessly, with a pertinacity that looks like rage, as he begins to see his way. And as his art changes, his life is not spared the accidents of mortality. His girl leaves him, a good friend has a breakdown and kills himself. But within a year a big London exhibition of his work is arranged, the precocious climacteric of his life and art-best expressed in the violent shock of one large canvas, a modern Christ's entry into a modem Jerusalem, bringing not peace but a sword.
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
Stanley Middleton is the author of a score of novels, all of them informed by his instinctive interest in the texture of real life. Out of these workday materials he makes his drama of the senses, the heart, and the spirit. The first of his novels to appear in the United States, Valley of Decision, was published by New Amsterdam Books in 1987.From Publishers Weekly:
Readers of the prolific Middleton ( Blind Understanding ) will not be disappointed by this well-crafted and absorbing, if minor novel. John Worth, an ostensibly unambitious and down-at-the-heels, 32-year-old English artist, is taken up by Walden, an astute Hungarian art dealer. Like Worth's beautiful, politically radical girlfriend, Ursula, Walden intends to make Worth fulfill his potential in order to suit his own purposes. Tellingly, Worth's older friend Turnbull is on the brink of emotional collapse, having divorced his wife and married the charming and feisty Millicent, a woman younger than his own childen. Turnbull suffers in having failed to fulfill his promise in life, just as Worth threatens to doset adrift, as he is, by the suicide of his former girlfriend. In agonizing scenes between Worth and Ursula, Middleton reproduces, with perfect pitch, the painful progress of love going sour. His portrait of Worth is sensitive and complex, revealing a man more at home with the purely esthetic than the ideational in art, more able to feel empathetic connection with others than to transmit it. Some awkward and lazy writing is balanced by the occasional arresting phrase, and the elegantly contrived, inconclusive ending seems just right.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Hutchinson, London, 1983. Hardcover. Book Condition: Very Good+. Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good+. First Edition; First Printing. In sl browned DJ. Publisher's letterhead note pasted into front endpaper. Now protected in a mylar jacket. ; 8vo 8" - 9" tall; 172 pages. Bookseller Inventory # 8106
Book Description Hutchinson, 1983. 0091509505, 1983. 1st edn. 8vo. Original gilt lettered black cloth (top edge lightly spotted - otherwise Fine), dustwrapper (VG, price clipped). Pp. 172 (some light spotting on front endpapers; no inscriptions). Bookseller Inventory # 94461
Book Description Hutchinson 1983 Hardcover, 1983. Book Condition: Good. Well crafted and absorbing. Middleton reproduces, with perfect pitch one painful progress of love going sour. --Publishers Weekly Ex Library 172 pages. Bookseller Inventory # 280391
Book Description Hutchinson 1983, 1983. 1st edition, hardback, page edges slightly browned, text clean and tight, no inscriptions, top edges slightly bumped, Very Good / Very Good dustwrapper, ISBN: 0091509505. Bookseller Inventory # 26561
Book Description Hutchinson, London, 1983. Hard Cover. Book Condition: Very Good. Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good. First Edition. 172pp. Brown boards, light ageing only, a VG clean tight copy in dustwrapper. Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Bookseller Inventory # 018897
Book Description Hutchinson & Co, London, 1983. Cloth Gilt. Book Condition: Fine. Dust Jacket Condition: Fine. 1st Edition. Top edge just slightly dusty otherwise virtually as new in an unclipped jacket. 172 pp. Bookseller Inventory # 1st0247
Book Description Hutchinson, London, 1983. Hardcover. Book Condition: Very Good+. Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good. First Edition; First Printing. FIRST EDITION, FIRST Printing. In the original publisher's fine black cloth boards, lettered in bright Silver-gilt to the spine. Very Good Plus in Very Good dustjacket. The d/j is NOT price-clipped. However there are a couple of very minor flaws to the d/j - The pale cream-yellow of the base colour to the spine is minorly faded - but all titling is clear and bright and the fading is pretty negligible. Also there has been some staining to the front bottom corner of the d/j and inner flap, but only really seen on the inside of the jacket, and if you look very hard to the outside. The d/j is now in a new protective clear - removable - bookfilm plastic cover and all looks Very Good. However, as usual, the paper used is now VERY lightly toned/tanning, - but UNIFORMLY THROUGHOUT - due to the type of paper used. Internally one light corner crease, o/w NO INSCRIPTIONS or MARKS. 172 pp. Overall An Excellent copy. See Images. ; 8vo 8" - 9" tall. Bookseller Inventory # 114264
Book Description Hutchinson, London, 1983 First Edition. Hardback. Dust Jacket., 1983. 8vo. pp 172. Original publisher’s black cloth lettered silver at spine.ISBN: 0091509505 Fine in fine dust jacket. No inscriptions, not price-clipped. Bookseller Inventory # C39380
Book Description Hutchinson, London, 1983. HARDCOVER. 1st Edition. 1st printing. Octavo size (8vo) in black faux cloth, silver lettering to spine. 172pp. Inscribed to 'Gillian and Richard / With love' (being Gillian Tyndall the novelist and social historian) and signed by the author on the title-page . . . . . [ CONDITION : An extremely well preserved FINE barely read copy (pages slightly tanned) in a slightly tanned but otherwise almost AS NEW unclipped Dust Jacket ] . Bookseller Inventory # TE40483
Book Description Hutchinson London, 1983. Hardcover. Book Condition: Fine. Dust Jacket Condition: Fine. 1st Edition... In 1976 Stanley Middleton won the Booker Prize. He was a prolific writer who built up his readership with his addictable prose style and his ability to make the ordinary extraordinary. Ronald Blythe wrote ‘We need Stanley Middleton to remind us what the novel is about.’ And Isobel Quigley wrote, ‘A rocklike example of excellence.’ His signed first editions are much valued and sought out by the discerning collector, and this is a superb example. It is simply signed, without a dedication, on the title page, and the book is in an unread condition, and inside a perfect protected jacket Language: eng Language: eng 0.0 Language: eng 0.0 Language: eng 0.0. Signed by Author(s). Bookseller Inventory # ABE-7680481360