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The Horse’s Mouth

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Joyce Cary wrote two trilogies, or ‘triptychs’ as he later called them, and both are Faber Finds. The first comprises Herself Surprised (1941), To Be a Pilgrim (1942) and The Horse’s Mouth (1944).

The Horse’s Mouth
is a portrait of an artistic temperament. Its protagonist, Gulley Gimson, is an impoverished painter who scorns conventional good behaviour. If a bad citizen, he is a good artist, so wholly preoccupied with his art that he is willing to endure any privation. For Gulley there is but one morality: to be a painter.

‘Joyce Cary is an important and exciting writer… To use Tennyson’s phrase, he is a Lord of Language … if you like rich writing full of gusto and accurate original character drawing, you will get it from The Horse’s Mouth.’ John Betjeman, Daily Herald