Black List, Section H

Black List, Section H

Black List, Section H

Black List, Section H

Synopsis

Black List, Section H is Francis Stuart's twentieth novel, the consummation of a lifetime devoted to writing, and perhaps the keystone through which all of his other works must be viewed. Almost totally autobiographical, described by the novelist himself as "an imaginative fiction in which only real people appear, and under their actual names where possible," the novel encompasses the period from 1919,when H, the hero, comes to Dublin and meets Maud Gonne and marries her adopted daughter, Iseult, through the period of the Second World War, when in 1939,burdened by marital and financial difficulties he accepts a position as lecturer at Berlin University. Stuart's depiction of wartimeBerlin, the Allied bombings, and the endless shuffling between refugee and prison camps after the war is one of the few accounts of these experiences in English. More than a mere record of one man's life, the book is an experience deeply lived and set down in fine prose with an intensity that is contagious.

Excerpt

By Harry T. Moore

This is a compelling book, the story of an Irishman who in early youth marries a famous beauty, is a poet and novelist, breeds racehorses, owns a poultry farm, is imprisoned at the time of the Irish Civil War, travels widely in Europe, and spends the Second World War in besieged Berlin (though not as a Nazi or even a Nazi sympathizer). Few novels of our time have so wide a range, so great a depth, and few are so magnificently written.

The greatest poet in English of our century, William Butler Yeats (this is the judgment of T. S. Eliot, among others), the fabulous and incessantly revolutionary, Maud Gonne, and various other notable personages appear in this novel as characters, under their own names. the protagonist himself is generally designated H, somewhat in the manner of a Franz Kafka figure, but he is sometimes known as Luke Ruark, sometimes as Henry or Harry-Francis Stuart himself has a first name, Henry, which he doesn't use. He has written nineteen other novels, among which readers may remember Pigeon Irish, The Coloured Dome, Redemption, and several more.

The present book, however, is different from the rest, despite occasional similarities of theme, in that it is a powerful concentration of a twentieth-century experience of some magnitude. in order that the reader may get into this exciting book at once, we have kept these introductory remarks to a minimum, adding at the end of the book an essay on Stuart and his work, including background material concerned with the present novel. Some readers may want to examine this Postscript first, but for those who wish to begin reading the novel at once, here it is, a rare reading experience: Black List, Section H begins as soon as you turn the page.

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