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Vainglory

Firbank, Ronald

Published by Brentano's, New York, 1925
Condition: Very Good Plus Hardcover
From Books First (Washington, DC, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

Ronald Firbank was a well-known British author of the 1920s, but his star has faded. His novels were written almost entirely in dialogue, and he relied heavily on epigrams in the style of Oscar Wilde. This copy has no DJ but the binding iand text block are strong and tight. Upper corners bumped, clear gilt lettering on front cover and spine; visible but faded on latter. With color frontispiece and tissue guard, which appear to have been tipped in by the publisher. Comment on "Vainglory" by literary scholar Jocelyn Brooke: Vainglory (1915) is Firbank's longest novel, and many of his admirers, including the present writer, find it almost his funniest, though not his best or most characteristic. It is diffuse and overcrowded, there is even less plot than usual, and the book is really a series of set-pieces so tenuously connected that a new reader may easily become confused. In his later work Firbank was to practise a greater economy, but if the writing is over-lush and the structure somewhat top-heavy, "Vainglory" has a youthful charm and spontaneity which make it one of his most endearing novels. Such plot as there is centres round the ambition of a Mrs. Shamefoot to commemorate herself (while still alive and, indeed, fairly young) by a stained glass window in a cathedral. This, however, is a mere peg_to support a complex verbal tapestry, in which innumerable characters endlessly converse; there are parties and sub-plots. A word should perhaps be said about Firbank's use of comic names for his characters; this could be irritating, but Firbank's names, though one would find few of them in the telephone book, for the most part have just the right touch of fantasy: though intrinsically funny, they strike one as being justly credible. Another aspect of Firbank is his occasional indulgence in sheer nonsense. In Vainglory, this nonsensical vein is much in evidence: thus, Miss Missingham, the imaginary author of a work called Sacerdotalism and Satanism, is made to remark that the towers of the cathedral at twilight resemble 'the helmets of eunuchs at carnival time', a comparison which, one feels, could have occurred to nobody but Firbank, and which only his confirmed addicts will value at its true worth." Scarce. Bookseller Inventory # 130341

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Vainglory

Publisher: Brentano's, New York

Publication Date: 1925

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Very Good Plus

Dust Jacket Condition: No Jacket

Edition: First US Edition, First Printing

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