Ready for Take-Off

By Preston, John | The Spectator, October 23, 2010 | Go to article overview

Ready for Take-Off


Preston, John, The Spectator


Brideshead Abbreviated

by John Crace

Random House, £12.99, pp. 355,

ISBN 9781905211555

In the recently published Oxford Book of Parodies, John Crace clocks up five entries, thus putting him just behind Craig Brown as our Greatest Living Parodist. Crace may not have quite Brown's range, but for the last 10 years his 'Digested Reads' have been reason enough to buy the Guardian.

Taking a well-known novel, he gives a brief distillation of the plot while capturing - often perfectly - the tone of its author.

At the same time, he jabs a sharpened elbow into their pomposities and limitations. It's been a long time since I ventured anywhere near Arnold Bennett, but to read Crace's spoof of Anna of the Five Towns - 'Anna's heart shuddered with expectant perturbation' - is to be plunged back into a world where every puff of factory smoke comes with its own basket of verbiage.

Henry Miller may be a parodist's dream, but Crace's skewering of Tropic of Cancer is a thing to stand in awe of:

I am an Artist. I do not even have a sou for the cunt of a woman so I go to the Jardin des Tulieries and impale my cock on a nude statue. I then siphon some gasoline from a Citroen to get drunk before spunking into the petrol tank.

John Fowles too presents a plumply inviting target for anyone in possession of a pitchfork. Crace, though, wields it like a rapier in his demolition of The French Lieutenant's Woman - especially when it comes to puncturing Fowles's infuriating knowingness and reminders of his own erudition:

We could also spend many pages discussing Victorian society from a modern perspective, with recourse to such imagery as computers, but first I would like to talk again of me.

It's tough being a novelist in the 1960s, unsure if your characters exist and wanting to pretend you aren't really controlling their story. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Ready for Take-Off
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.