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William Gerhardie
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First published under the title Jazz and Jasper in 1928, Doom was praised by Arnold Bennett for its ‘wild and brilliant originality’ and is remembered as William Gerhardie’s wittiest and strangest novel. It is the story of Frank Dickin, an impoverished young novelist, and his involvement with an eccentric family of Russian emigres – in particular, their beautiful daughter Eva – and with an all-powerful newspaper magnate, Lord Ottercove (based on Gerhardie’s friend Lord Beaverbrook), who takes Dickin on as a lost cause. This irrepressible comic mixture also involves a mad English lord who is bent on destroying the world – and, with an outrageous sleight of hand that only Gerhardie could manage, the novel slowly slips from social comedy toward apocalypse.

‘A master of the ridiculous … Doom seems like nothing else in the language.’ Michael Holroyd

‘I have talent, but he has genius.’ Evelyn Waugh

‘He is a comic writer of genius … but his art is profoundly serious.’ C. P. Snow


William Alexander Gerhardie was born in St Petersburg, Russia, in 1895. As a young man he went to London and, when the First World War broke out, joined the army. He was first sent to Russia and later travelled the world before beginning to write. Futility (1922), his first novel, was sponsored by Katherine Mansfield, and other notable works of…

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