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The fox in the attic di Richard Arthur…
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The fox in the attic (originale 1961; edizione 1961)

di Richard Arthur Warren Hughes

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392848,174 (3.7)45
One of the great European novels of Nazism and fascism in inter-war Europe, a historical novel of huge ambition and achievement.
Utente:AnthonyBurgess
Titolo:The fox in the attic
Autori:Richard Arthur Warren Hughes
Info:London, Chatto & Windus, 1961.
Collezioni:La tua biblioteca
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Etichette:Bibliothèque Universitaire d'Angers (France)

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La volpe nella soffitta di Richard Hughes (1961)

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Conceived as the first volume of The Human Predicament, a historical novel in three parts (only some notes towards the third part exist) that describes his own formative years, the times between the two wars - R.H. was born in 1900 - and is set in England as well as in Bavaria. The foreground characters, the young Augustine like the author just too young to have served, the main protagonist and present lord of the Wales family seat, his older brother being killed in the war, and their aristocratic German cousins are fictitious but - importantly - R.H., so he assures the reader, made every effort to present historical characters and events as accurately as it was possible for him.

The narration starts in 1923, 5 years after the war und this first part of the intended trilogy ends shortly after the Munich Putsch in November that year.

The writing is in multiple voices, not confined to Augustine. Part of Chapter i-26 is an essay on the perceived boundary of the self, the ‘I’, and the meaning of ‘we’, a boundary that changes from ‘primitive’ man to ‘civilized’ man but is also perceived differently in the English and German society we encounter later, but may also shift not only from person to person but within a context of momentary emotions. R.H.’s philosophical thoughts woven into the narrative are an unusual feature for a novel - it appeals to me. The theme of the ‘I’ and the ‘Other’ and the boundary between both is taken up again at various places, most directly in chapter iii-10, in characterising the two extremes: "Hitler existed alone: ‘I am, none else besides me.’" Hughes writes and I agree. Hitler's universe contained no other person than him, only things: material and tools to be used. The other extreme: Mitzi, the young woman fallen blind, loosing the rest of her sight in an afternoon; the crisis caused her ‘I’ to shrivell beneath the overwhelming power of God.

Hughes also adds general descriptions like the life under hyper-inflation Germany experienced in 1923 (Ch. ii-2). Suffering turns to hatred which cannot remain objectless: „it conjures its own Enemy out of thin air“: Jews, Communists, Capitalists, Catholics … the ‘November Criminals’ of the then elected German government. And it turns to its own fictive WE - its myths of Soil and Race, …

A vivid description of the Munich Putsch and Hitler being sheltered by ‘Putzi’ i.e. Dr. Ernst Hanfstaengl and his wife Helene. (quite true!)

At times Hughes uses strange expressions not much to my liking; some examples:
„… he had never before funked children“ (iii-5); (here: to flinch from)
„… to have havered so long“ (iii-5); (to have hesitated so long)
„… he barked his nose on the door.“ /iii-26); (here: he banged his nose on the door)

Having read the book many years ago it had stayed with me, but now re-reading it I am just slightly disappointed. (XI-19) ( )
  MeisterPfriem | Nov 26, 2019 |
The inter-war years of Bavaria, 7 May 2016

This review is from: The Fox in the Attic (Paperback)
I read half of this, and sort of came to a halt.
Starting off in the beautifully described Welsh countryside, we meet the 1920s aristocratic family of Augustibne. I really liked this first third of the book - the differences in class, where the death of a 'commoner's' child is deemed so unimportant, and the feeling among the younger generation who just missed what they expected to be their fate in the trenches of WW1. But this is not a romantic easy-read, and as we reach the end of Part 1, Hughes devotes a couple of chapters to political/ philosophical thought on the hows and whys of the cause of the Great War - interesting but bits of which went over my head.

In Part 2, Augustine goes to stay in Bavaria with his German cousins - and it was towards the end of this section that I abandoned it. There's a lot about the inter-war political situation in Germany - the Reds, those wanting Bavarian independence... Knowing little about this era, I couldn't really engage with it.

I liked Hughes' writing but would say parts of this are quite challenging.
2 vota starbox | May 7, 2016 |
A personal journey into the rise of Hitler and the Nazi party. A novel that shows us rural England and rural Germany - and seems to want to compare the two. ( )
  dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
I'm suspending judgment on this for the time being; Hughes said that he only published 'The Human Predicament' in sections because otherwise it might never get published at all. So this is only one episode in a much longer work, kind of like taking the third volume of Proust on its own, except even less complete in itself. After just this book, the Tolstoyan project seems a little heavy handed: private scene with fictional characters over here; public scene with historical characters over here; socio-philosophical reflections on the early twentieth century over here. The book's closing image starts to bring the reflections together with the private, but the Hitler chapters still seem a little formally disconnected. I suspect that this is the sort of thing that gets resolved as the project unfolds, and I'm really looking forward to The Wooden Shepherdess. Too bad he only got those two volumes done.
Large-scale project issues aside, The Fox... has everything you will love about Hughes: the light touch; the fluid prose; the just-difficult-enough-to-be-interesting-but-not-so-difficult-you-need-a-guidebook imagery, symbolism and technique; the understanding that the particular is only of interest when it reflects on the universal and vice versa; the willingness to break modernist and anti-modernist taboos whenever the book will benefit from such a breaking. Great stuff. ( )
1 vota stillatim | Dec 29, 2013 |
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» Aggiungi altri autori (3 potenziali)

Nome dell'autoreRuoloTipo di autoreOpera?Stato
Richard Hughesautore primariotutte le edizionicalcolato
Mantel, HilaryIntroduzioneautore secondarioalcune edizioniconfermato

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One of the great European novels of Nazism and fascism in inter-war Europe, a historical novel of huge ambition and achievement.

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