They Have Bodies: A Realistic Novel in Eleven Chapters and Three Acts
by Allen, Barney (pseud. for Sol Allen)
New York: The Macaulay Company. Very Good+ in Very Good dj. 1929. First Edition. Hardcover. NOISBN . [book shows only minor wear at extremities, generally clean and sound; jacket edgeworn and scuffed, with various small nicks and closed tears, some diagonal creasing across top and bottom sections of front panel]. Rare novel about upper-class Toronto residents, "the Canadian smart set" -- "hard-drinking, fast-living colonials [who] present a social group as passionate and tense as those unforgettable characters so familiar to the readers of Somerset Maugham." (Morley Callaghan's name and style are also evoked by the name-dropping blurb-writer.) "A new kind of novel," it's called, "daring and colorfully written," but it didn't go down smoothly in Canada itself: it was censored by the Toronto Police Department for its sexual explicitness, and given a critical reception that ranged from outright hostility to simple bewilderment. The narrative structure, as indicated by the book's subtitle, involves groups of prose chapters (some of which are written in a kind of fragmented, stream-of-consciousness style) alternating with the dialogue-only style of a playscript. The book has been posited by at least one latter-day critic as having been at the forefront of an aborted Canadian avant-garde/modernist literature, combining "James Joyce's free indirect discourse with Virginia Woolf's steam-of-consciousness" into a text that was "visually distinct from all Canadian prose until well into the 1960s," and with some Freudian influences thrown in for good measure. Allen went on to write a few more, less experimental novels, occasionally published pseudonymously, e.g. "The Woman's Doctor" (Macaulay, 1933). OCLC shows only seven copies, all in Canadian libraries. [This item is featured in ReadInk's E-Catalog 3.1, which can be perused at our website, which you'll have to figure out how to find yourself. Many of the items can only be seen in that catalog, i.e. are not listed on whatever website you're viewing this.] . (Inventory #: 21168)
Unusual, Uncommon and Obscure Books in many (but not all) fields, with particular interest in American Culture (Popular and Unpopular), Art, Literature, Life and People from the 1920s through the 1960s.
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