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Eustace and Hilda (New York Review Books Classics)by L. P. Hartley
Synopses & Reviews
The NYRB Classics series is designedly and determinedly exploratory and eclectic, a mix of fiction and non-fiction from different eras and times and of various sorts. The series includes nineteenth century novels and experimental novels, reportage and belles lettres, tell-all memoirs and learned studies, established classics and cult favorites, literature high, low, unsuspected, and unheard of. NYRB Classics are, to a large degree, discoveries, the kind of books that people typically run into outside of the classroom and then remember for life.
Inevitably literature in translation constitutes a major part of the NYRB Classics series, simply because so much great literature has been left untranslated into English, or translated poorly, or deserves to be translated again, much as any outstanding book asks to be read again.
The series started in 1999 with the publication of Richard Hughes's A High Wind in Jamaica. NYRB Classics includes new translations of canonical figures such as Euripides, Dante, Balzac, and Chekhov; fiction by modern and contemporary masters such as Vasily Grossman, Mavis Gallant, Daphne du Maurier, Stefan Zweig, and Upamanyu Chatterjee; tales of crime and punishment by George Simenon and Kenneth Fearing; masterpieces of narrative history and literary criticism, poetry, travel writing, biography, cookbooks, and memoirs from such writers as Norman Mailer, Lionel Trilling, and Patrick Leigh Fermor; and unclassifiable classics on the order of J. R. Ackerley's My Dog Tulip and Robert Burton's The Anatomy of Melancholy. Fall 2009 sees the publication of the series' first graphic novel, Poem Strip by Dino Buzzati, translated into English for the first time.
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Set against the background of an immense country estate in Victorian England, a brother and sister struggle with the ever-shifting imbalance of power between them. The title characters are opposites, each bent on proving the other inferior. First, it is the amiable, hedonistic Eustace who depends, though reluctantly, on his opinionated and puritanical older sister. Later, a nervous breakdown and physical collapse force Hilda to rely on her brother, who dedicates himself to restoring her health.
In the poignant conclusion, Eustace's devotion proves to be his destruction, and for Hilda, an ambiguous triumph. Like Brideshead Revisited, Hartley's novel astutely evokes the intricacies of upper-class English life in a bygone era.
About the Author
L.P. Hartley (1895–1972), the son of the director of a brickworks, attended Harrow and Balliol College, Oxford, before setting out on a career as a literary critic and writer of short stories. In 1944 he published his first novel, The Shrimp and the Anemone, the opening volume of the trilogy Eustace and Hilda. In the spring of 1952, Hartley began The Go-Between, a novel strongly rooted in his childhood. By October he had already completed the first draft, and the finished product was published in early 1953. The Go-Between became an immediate critical and popular success and has long been considered Hartley’s finest book. His many other novels include Facial Justice, The Hireling, and The Love-Adept.
Anita Brookner is an art historian and novelist. She lives in London.
Table of Contents
The shrimp and the anemone — Hilda's letter — The sixth heaven — Eustace and Hilda.
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