Simon Raven, The English Gentleman
Raven, Simon. The English Gentleman. First Edition. 1961. Book is in very good condition; dust jacket is in very good minus condition—jacket shows minor chipping, a small tear, and a faded spine.
The premise in this witty book is that World War I wounded the grand tradition of the gentleman, and World War II administered the deathblow. How banal if the author was a beleaguered type, complaining loudly that he was the last of his kind. How fun, as is the case here, when he freely admits to being a highly accomplished cad. The inspiration for the book was that if the author, a notorious scoundrel, was able to prosper in society, it could only mean the English gentleman truly was dead. The London Telegraph put it best, “However little else Mr. Raven may have in common with the angels, he certainly writes like one.”
“If ever there was a dreary way of describing an epic hero, it seems at first sight to be Virgil’s constant qualification of Aeneas as ‘pius.’”