Memoirs of a Midget

Memoirs of a Midget

by Walter De la Mare, Carl Van Doren (Foreword)
©1941, Item: 86209
Hardcover, 379 pages
Used Price: $10.00 (1 in stock) Condition Policy

From the dust jacket, an excerpt from Carl Van Doren's introduction:

Fifteen years ago I wrote an introduction to Walter de la Mare's Memoirs of a Midget.  Now I write another in a decade of world-wide tragedy and dread.  In reading the book over again I find that it seems hardly to have changed at all with the changing times.

It is a narrative seen from a point which is new to fiction: a midget's-eye view of the world.  Yet the normal characters will seem normal to normal readers.  There are touches of Dickens in the novel, and of farce.

Gulliver, in his adventures among the giants, may now and then be uncomfortable or embarrassed, but he is not sensitive, and he can look forward to a time when he will live with men of his own size.  Miss M., who is intensely sensitive, knows –or learns –that there is no congenial country for her to return to or escaper to.  She cannot have Gulliver's consolation that it is the giants who are abnormal.

The Memoirs could be the only serious book about a midget in the English language and still not be particularly notable.  It could be an allegory of the handicapped, and still not rise above a well-meaning level.  What gave it distinction as soon as it appeared in 1921, and has kept it fresh and alive, is its original idea, its expert handling, its affectionate realism and occasional humor, and its profound human warmth.  The Memoirs from the first was seen to have a classic quality.  And after twenty years, now that men and women all over the earth want if they can to draw together in sympathetic fraternity, the book means more than ever.  Classics have their ups and downs, but it takes them a long while to wear out.

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