It Was the Nightingale (A Chronicle of Ancient Sunlight, by Henry Williamson

By Henry Williamson

It was once the Nightingale (1962) was once the 10th quantity of Williamson's nice roman fleuve, A Chronicle of old Sunlight. After just a yr of married happiness, Phillip Maddison stories tragedy whilst his younger spouse Barley dies in childbirth. Left with a toddler son, a cat, a puppy and an otter cub he and Barley rescued whereas on vacation in France, Phillip endures the private grief. whilst the otter is going lacking Phillip dedicates his existence to looking for her, within the desire that good fortune may possibly provide him a brand new commence in life.

'At instances virtually unbearably poignant... In It used to be the Nightingale Maddison enters a global with which Williamson, at the energy of the amazing Tarka the Otter, will regularly be associated.' Anthony Burgess, Ninety-Nine Novels: the simplest in English in view that 1939

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Extra info for It Was the Nightingale (A Chronicle of Ancient Sunlight, Book 10)

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Although, as in Pale Fire, there is no direct reference to actual countries in these novels, there is an attempt at thematizing certain features of the totalitarian regimes of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. The narrative of Bend Sinister thus satirizes Nazi efficiency and includes parts of Lenin’s speeches and the Soviet constitution. The possibility of Kinbote-style, dreamlike escape, or escape from the world of totalitarian dictatorship which itself appears surreal or illusory, also informs the aforementioned novels through the acts of their persecuted protagonists Cincinnatus and Adam Krug, respectively.

The overwhelming use of Orientalist topoi especially permeates the episode where King Charles/Kinbote seduces and later abandons 17-year-old Fleur, whose graceful walk is described as that of Arab girls (Nabokov 1989a: 108). In the course of two paragraphs, Kinbote describes ‘‘the Persian rug-covered floor’’ in his royal chamber, where on a huge down pillow slept the scantily-clad Fleur, ‘‘under a coverlet of genuine giant panda fur that had just been rushed from Tibet by a group of Asiatic well-wishers’’ (Nabokov 1989a: 110).

As Julian Wolfreys observes, this overidentification with – or surrender to – ‘‘self-acknowledged figures of other discourses, other contexts we think we know’’ precisely points to the irreducibility or undecidability of any one ‘‘identity’’ (1997: 15–16). This is because the very idea of the copy, of mimicry, ‘‘implies a failed fidelity and the constantly frustrated desire for . . verisimilitude’’; it is this frustration of verisimilitude, the inherent ‘‘failure’’ to mimic an established discourse perfectly that becomes an ‘‘affirmation of difference’’ (Wolfreys 1997: 16).

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