British Writers: Supplement V by George Stade

By George Stade

The Scribner Writers sequence has set the traditional for literary reference for greater than 25 years. as well as addressing the lives and careers of significant writers, the articles talk about the topics and forms of significant works and position them in pertinent old, social and political contexts for modern readers. Novelists, playwrights, essayists, poets, brief tale writers, and extra lately, style writers in technological know-how fiction and secret, are all expertly mentioned within the greater than sixteen units comprising this series.

This number of essays covers 286 writers who've made contributions to British, Irish and Commonwealth literature from the 14th century to the current day. Introductory essays and chronological tables open each one quantity and supply ancient background.

Supplement V provides articles on 26 writers, between them modern authors similar to J. G. Ballard, Anita Desai, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala and Edna O'Brien in addition to vintage writers passed over from past volumes, reminiscent of A. A. Milne.

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Sheila outwits her husband but feels obliged to pretend she has a lover on the side in order to keep her husband in line. Similarly, with the well-plotted action of Taking Steps, anything more than broad characterizations would distract spectators from the physical comedy. If they felt profound pity for Roland, abandoned by his wife, spectators would not laugh. For farce, the dramatist relies on types: Roland, the insouciant upper-class squire always with a drink in his hand; Tristram, the befuddled but well-meaning law clerk; Kitty, the girl who can never make up her mind; and Leslie, the simple yet ruthlessly conniving yokel.

As Vic smugly ignores Sharon's cries, Trudy goes to the door and shouts for Douglas. When Douglas arrives, Trudy and Vic are arguing by the pool, and as Douglas tries to break them up he pushes Vic into the pool. Vic drowns as Sharon climbs out. To clear the nanny of possible charges, Trudy, Douglas, and Sharon, soon joined by Kenny, invent a story to explain what occurred. The story is played before us as a televised reenactment hosted by Jill. Vic dies a hero— supposedly trying to save Sharon—and although television loses a star, Jill lands the story of her career.

This final scene suggests that British common sense is his audience's best hope, a sentiment echoed in Way Upstream, in which a passive, mild-mannered Englishman is finally pushed to overthrow the cruel bully who has taken over the boat on which he and his wife are spending their vacation. We may also recall Man of the Moment and its pointed contrast between the flashy confidence man Vic and the simple, genuinely heroic Douglas. By lampooning the image of the overblown media figure, Ayckbourn suggests that the mob, manipulated by what it reads, hears, and watches, may in the end be misled.

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