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‘Formerly, he thinks to himself, an artist took real people and transformed them into painted ones: how much finer and more satisfying is the modern method of assuming that people are not real at all, only self-painted, and of proceeding to make them real by giving them new selves based on the best-available theories of human nature…’
In Nigel Dennis’s 1955 novel – instantly acclaimed as a satirical masterpiece – a long-empty country house is reopened by Captain Mallet, his wife, and his dashing son Beaufort. Their task is to prepare for the annual summer conference of ‘The Identity Club’: a group of psychologists firmly of the view that people can be instructed as to who they really are and, consequently, persuaded to do well-nigh anything.
‘I have read no novel published during the last fifteen years with greater pleasure and admiration.’ W.H. Auden, 1955
‘One of the funniest, most intelligent and far-reaching pieces of satire.’ Times
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