Well-fed gentlemen of the 1880s had their pieties and cravings, their terrible doubts. Acclaimed British novelist Wilson (The Healing Art, Wise Virgin) anatomizes the age with sprightliness, affection and penetrating satire, while peeling the wraps off Victorian marriage. Smug, dog-faced geology professor Nettleshiphis field is volcanosrapes his wife Charlotte on discovering her shamelessly volcanic desire for blond painter Timothy Lupton, who really adores their giggling, consumptive daughter Maudie. Their son Lionel falls under the spell of monkish Father Cuthbert. Decaying dandies recall bygone flirtations and, over whist and madeira, smirk at the new earnestness. Individual passions, with all their guilts and sweats, are seen in terms of questions that cracked the Victorian edifice: Darwinism, the crisis of faith, art caught between the habit of daubing classical nymphs and the lure of the Impressionists' dissolving Light. Wilson shows how fiction shapes mentality: ""We're living in the stories of our own composing,'' whether medieval gothics or penny shockers. Skillful in its probes of a changing society, Gentlemen in England treats us to a rich and sparkling read. U.K. rights: Hamish Hamilton; translation rights: Literistic. February
Reviewed on: 03/04/1986 Release date: 03/01/1986 Genre: Fiction
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