South Wind

South Wind Full of zest and high spirits The Christian Science Monitor This witty elegant novel of ideas unfolds on the imaginary Mediterranean island of Nepenthe where Thomas Heard Bishop of Bampopo i

  • Title: South Wind
  • Author: Norman Douglas
  • ISBN: South Wind
  • ISBN
  • Page: 183
  • Format: Paperback
  • Full of zest and high spirits The Christian Science Monitor This witty, elegant novel of ideas unfolds on the imaginary Mediterranean island of Nepenthe, where Thomas Heard, Bishop of Bampopo in the equatorial regions of Africa, stops off on his way back to England His arrival and introduction to the local society sets the stage for an urbane and polished tale South Full of zest and high spirits The Christian Science Monitor This witty, elegant novel of ideas unfolds on the imaginary Mediterranean island of Nepenthe, where Thomas Heard, Bishop of Bampopo in the equatorial regions of Africa, stops off on his way back to England His arrival and introduction to the local society sets the stage for an urbane and polished tale South Wind brilliantly evokes the dreamy, languorous quality of life on Nepenthe, a town of whitewashed houses perched on sheer rock cliffs above a gleaming sea While peasants clamber up roads of black volcanic lava to work in the vineyards, aristocrats while away the torpid midday hours on sun dappled terraces, discoursing of life and love The memorable cast of characters includes a host of expatriates, freethinkers, eccentrics, politicians, zealots, and all manner of ne er do wells who mingle in the picturesque settlement s taverns, villas, and streets By the time Bishop Heard is ready to leave Nepenthe, there has been a murder, a fearsome volcanic eruption, an art forgery, and other nefarious doings all recounted in eloquent descriptions, replete with provocative ideas, glittering epigrams, and mordant satire Get A Copy Kindle Store Online StoresAudibleBarnes NobleWalmart eBooksApple BooksGoogle PlayAbebooksBook DepositoryIndigoAlibrisBetter World BooksIndieBoundLibraries Or buy for Paperback, 416 pages Expected publication March 20th 2019 by Dover Publications first published 1917 More Details Original Title South Wind ISBN 0486834344 ISBN13 9780486834344 Characters Bishop Thomas Heard, Don Francesco, Ernest Eames, Mr Muhlen, Mrs Meadows, Denis Phipps, Madame Steynlin, Duchess of San Martino, Mr Keith, Freddy Parker, Edgar Marten, Count Caloveglia, Cornelius van Koppen, Miss Wilberforceless setting Nepenthe Capri Italy Other Editions 57 All Editions Add a New Edition Combine Less Detail edit details Win a Copy of This Book South Wind by Norman Douglas Release date Feb 13, 2019 Win one of ten copies Full of zest and high spirits The Christian Science MonitorThis witty, elegant novel of ideas unfolds on the imaginary Medi Win one of ten copies Full of zest and high spirits The Christian Science MonitorThis witty, elegant novel of ideas unfolds on the imaginary Mediterranean island of Nepenthe, where Thomas Heard, Bishop of Bampopo in the equatorial regions of Africa, stops off on his way back to England His arrival and introduction to the local society sets the stage for an urbane and polished tale.South Wind brilliantly evokes the dreamy, languorous quality of life on Nepenthe, a town of whitewashed houses perched on sheer rock cliffs above a gleaming sea While peasants clamber up roads of black volcanic lava to work in the vineyards, aristocrats while away the torpid midday hours on sun dappled terraces, discoursing of life and love The memorable cast of characters includes a host of expatriates, freethinkers, eccentrics, politicians, zealots, and all manner of ne er do wells who mingle in the picturesque settlement s taverns, villas, and streets By the time Bishop Heard is ready to leave Nepenthe, there has been a murder, a fearsome volcanic eruption, an art forgery, and other nefarious doings all recounted in eloquent descriptions, replete with provocative ideas, glittering epigrams, and mordant satire Enter Giveaway Format Print book

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    Lists with This Book This book is not yet featured on Listopia Add this book to your favorite list Community Reviews Showing 1 30 Rating details Sort Default Filter Jun 06, 2017 Fionnuala added it review of another edition Shelves one book leads to another, review may contain comic content, echoes, 2017, art related Imagine this scene A beautiful house with lots of windows facing south In a recently vacated bedroom on the first floor, the drawers and wardrobe lie open and empty, their contents packed up and gone The only traces of the former occupant, the faint whiff of her perfume and the abandoned book on the dressing table, its pages rustling in the breeze from the open windows The title of the book is South Wind I came across that scenario in Elizabeth Bowen s The Last September and became curiou Imagine this scene A beautiful house with lots of windows facing south In a recently vacated bedroom on the first floor, the drawers and wardrobe lie open and empty, their contents packed up and gone The only traces of the former occupant, the faint whiff of her perfume and the abandoned book on the dressing table, its pages rustling in the breeze from the open windows The title of the book is South Wind I came across that scenario in Elizabeth Bowen s The Last September and became curious about the abandoned book Was it a fictitious title meant to foreshadow the troubles that would befall the beautiful house in the future, aided and abetted by the treacherous south wind Or was it a real title, and if so, why did Elizabeth Bowen choose it for Laurence to offer Marda as a parting gift only for it to be deliberately left behind in the end I love literary mysteries so I immediately looked up South Wind The only book I could find was this novel by Norman Douglas, and since it was published in 1917 three years before Bowen finished The Last September, it seemed likely that she was referring to Douglas s book But while the book entitled South Wind featured in several scenes in Bowen s story, she gave no hint as to its contents which only made me curious of course I did some further searching There are only 26 reviews of South Wind on , one of which I d read and liked though I d completely forgotten that I had According to , South Wind featured in Nabokov s The Real Life of Sebastian Knight, but I d forgotten that too So not only was the book abandoned in an empty room back in 1920, it seems to be or less forgotten by the world, me included Such a sad fate for a book aroused my sympathy I had to sample it, even if it turned out to be completely unreadable As it turned out, I enjoyed South Wind so much that I didn t want it to end I read it over many weeks of the summer, eking out this tale of life on the isle of Nepenthe Capri while reading other books alongside it I lost track of time while reading about the island, and not only the time I was taking to get through the pages but the chronology of the story itself If someone had told me that I could continue dipping in and out of this book forever, I don t think I d have minded because the contents range over so many odd and interesting subjects geology, history, anthropology, art, philosophy, religion But the oddest thing about the whole experience was that when I finally got to the end, the main character mentions that the events in the book had taken place over a mere twelve days Twelve days I thought they must have spanned twelve thousand years Further, the main character describes those twelve days as a merry nightmare I experienced it rather as a long and interesting dream, but I d agree with him about the merry aspect there was a large cast of characters and some of them were very funny and even the ones who weren t normally funny became hilariously funny when they were drunk The best conversations happened during late night drinking sessions Have you ever thought about the impossibility of realizing colour description in landscape It s struck me a good deal lately, here, with this blue sea, and those orange tints on the mountain, and all the rest of it Take any page by a well known writer take a description of a sunset by Symonds, for example Well, he names all the gorgeous colours, the yellow and red and violet, or whatever it may be, as he saw them But he can t make you see them damned if he can He can only throw words at your head I m very much afraid, my dear fellow, that humanity will never get its colour values straightened out by means of verbal symbols I always know when a man is drunk, even when I m drunk myself When When he talks about colour values I believe you re right I m feeling a bit muzzy about the legs, as if I couldn t move A bit fuzzy Muzzy, I think you said Fuzzy Muzzy But we needn t quarrel about it, need we I shall be sick in a minute, old man And how about this for a lunatic description of the moon It dangled over the water, waning, sickly, moth eaten, top heavy, and altogether out of condition as if it had been on duty for weeks on end In other respects, too, its appearance was not quite normal In fact, it soon took to behaving in the most extraordinary fashion Sometimes there were two moons, and sometimes one They seemed to merge together to glide into each other, and then to separate again.Or this The funeral was a roaring success.Some of the humour is at the expense of the English too, which somehow makes it funnier, at least for me there is a good deal to be said in favour of constipation It is the cause of English spleenfulness, and this spleenfulness, properly directed, has its uses It engenders a certain energetic intolerance of mind I think the success of the nation is largely due to this particular quality I wish the English still possessed a shred of the old sense of humour which Puritanism, and dyspepsia, and newspaper reading, and tea drinking, have nearly extinguished It ought to be revived afresh Nothing like a good drunkard for that purpose As a laughter provoking device it is cheaper and effective than any pantomime yet invented and none the worse, surely, for being a little old fashioned I confess that much of what I read in England was an enigma to me till I had studied the Bible Its teachings seem to have filtered, warm and fluid, through the veins of your national and private life Then, slowly, they froze hard, congealing the whole body into a kind of crystal Your ethics are stereotyped in black letter characters A gargoyle moralityI could go on and on piling up examples from the cantankerous and crapulous conversations which make up most of the book, or quoting the really glistering descriptions of the scenery, but I better stop before the review comes to resemble the island of the story As one of the characters remarks, The canvas of Nepenthe is rather overcharged But what of the literary mystery I mentioned at the beginning, you wonder Why did Elizabeth Bowen use this book as a prop in her story Why did she have Laurence, a rather melancholy and aimless Cambridge undergraduate who wants to be a poet, give the book to the very sophisticated house guest on whom he had a crush I thought about that as I read South Wind, and when a melancholy undergraduate called Dennis turned up, I was reminded of Laurence immediately Dennis is even aimless than Laurence, and he aspires vaguely to being a poet He also has difficulty telling the women he admires how he feels about them Was this the answer to my literary mystery Did Laurence give Marda South Wind as a kind of coded message about his feelings for her Pity I can t ask Elizabeth Bowen flag 109 likesLike see review View all 81 comments Aug 27, 2018 Vit Babenco rated it it was amazing review of another edition The onset of the twentieth century, the humankind is on the edge of the intellectual and sensual awakening, the tumultuous twenties are just around the corner, Norman Douglas catches the moment and his South Wind is one of the earlier fine instances of black comedy.A kind of merry nightmare Things happened There was something bright and diabolical in the tone of the place, something kaleidoscopic a frolicsome perversity Purifying, at the same time It swept away the cobwebs It gave you a m The onset of the twentieth century, the humankind is on the edge of the intellectual and sensual awakening, the tumultuous twenties are just around the corner, Norman Douglas catches the moment and his South Wind is one of the earlier fine instances of black comedy.A kind of merry nightmare Things happened There was something bright and diabolical in the tone of the place, something kaleidoscopic a frolicsome perversity Purifying, at the same time It swept away the cobwebs It gave you a measure, a standard, whereby to compute earthly affairs Another landmark passed another milestone on the road to enlightenment.The residents and visitors of the island are a colourful society or, probably, they should be defined as a piebald motley crew of frauds.Manners, s, customs, habits, deportment, religion, politics, psychology, sociology, arts Norman Douglas leaves no stone unturned Poverty is like rain It drops down ceaselessly, disintegrating the finer tissues of a man, his recent, delicate adjustments, and leaving nothing but the bleak and gaunt framework A poor man is a wintry tree alive, but stripped of its shining splendour He is always denying himself this or that One by one, his humane instincts, his elegant desires, are starved away by stress of circumstances The charming diversity of life ceases to have any meaning for him To console himself, he sets up perverse canons of right and wrong What the rich do, that is wrong Why Because he does not do it Why not Because he has no money A poor man is forced into a hypocritical attitude towards life debarred from being intellectually honest He cannot pay for the necessary experience Norman Douglas has a very sharp eye so he sees far and at times even turns prophetic.Men cannot live, it seems, save by feeding on their neighbour s life blood They prey on each other s nerve tissues and personal sensations Everything must be shared It gives them a feeling of solidarity, I suppose, in a world where they have lost the courage to stand alone Woe to him who dwells apart Great things are no longer contemplated with reverence They are hauled down from their pedestals in order to be rendered accessible to a generation of pigmies their dignity is soiled by vulgar contact This lust of handling what is its ordinary name Democracy.Some critics complained that the novel showed not much of a plot Well, indolent living has no plot flag 37 likesLike see review View all 3 comments Dec 30, 2010 Sketchbook rated it it was amazing review of another edition Gilbert Sullivan on Capri where the little known author lived Volcanic eruptions, an earthquake, a funeral and a festival keep the multi cast pondering sex, religion, life Advisories Get rid of conventional notions, if you value your health and The secret of happiness is curiousity The denizens include a scholar who can t decide if a relic is the thigh bone of a saint or thetibia of a cow a Wildean lady who wanders into polite murder a teenage poet who laments that he has nothing Gilbert Sullivan on Capri where the little known author lived Volcanic eruptions, an earthquake, a funeral and a festival keep the multi cast pondering sex, religion, life Advisories Get rid of conventional notions, if you value your health and The secret of happiness is curiousity The denizens include a scholar who can t decide if a relic is the thigh bone of a saint or thetibia of a cow a Wildean lady who wanders into polite murder a teenage poet who laments that he has nothing to say I can only feel Some of the narrative carries excess ornamentation There s a glorious Too Muchness But it s the very thing that keeps me fondling this topsy turvy comedy.Examples He never married it pointed to independence, to lack of ordinary human frailties In short, he was so perfect a compound of vice and intelligence that even his dearest friends could not put their finger on the exact spot where one began and the other ended Another She possessed the most priceless of all gifts she believed her own lies A geezer observes, The question that confronts me now is not whether morality is worth talking about, but whether it s worth laughing at I scan pages and hug the soliloquies which have an insouciant awareness You can tell the ideals of a nation by its advertisements Welcome to Nepenthe Capri, an operetta island of rocks in the Med which attracts diverse tourists fr all over the world Some arrive for the feast of the patron saint, St Dodekanus Even the lobsters here are celebrated flag 31 likesLike see review View all 13 comments May 27, 2018 Nora Barnacle rated it it was amazing review of another edition Postoje dobre, lepe i divne knjige, a ova je dra esna.Normanu Daglasu je majka bila Austrijanka, te maternji nema ki, i ta mo e biti prirodnije od injenice da je ko ranjena aba kukao da ga iz natmurenog Londona premeste u Karlsrue da dou i gimanziju i u njoj, prirodno klasi ne nauke Dobro, o inji mu je bio engleski, u io je tamo jo to ta i ruski i francuski i ta je jo bilo potrebno da potonje postane diplomata u Petrogradu, ali je ovaj roman napisao iz svoga politeisti kog srca i klas Postoje dobre, lepe i divne knjige, a ova je dra esna.Normanu Daglasu je majka bila Austrijanka, te maternji nema ki, i ta mo e biti prirodnije od injenice da je ko ranjena aba kukao da ga iz natmurenog Londona premeste u Karlsrue da dou i gimanziju i u njoj, prirodno klasi ne nauke Dobro, o inji mu je bio engleski, u io je tamo jo to ta i ruski i francuski i ta je jo bilo potrebno da potonje postane diplomata u Petrogradu, ali je ovaj roman napisao iz svoga politeisti kog srca i klasi arske du e koja ga je, najzad, i dovela na Kapri, da pozne dane provede u arheolo kim studijama Ju ni vetar je satira otmenog, pametnog i u enog gospodina, li enog svakog vida ogor enosti i ta tine, koji svemu pretpostavlja lep ivot i ovozemaljsku, svakome dosti nu duhovnu sre u U tom maniru je i napisana da, povremeno mi je bilo dolazilo da se za svaki slu aj jo jednom osvrnem i proverim nisam li slu ajno u senovitom kutku vrta, me u ne nim ladole ima nevine rozo e, zaboravila, oh, slamnati e ir rasko noga oboda i prigodnog cveta i perja to se u bezladole noj stvarnosti ispostavljalo kao Jaaao, ovo mora da uje jurenje uku ana Mnogo e pogre iti svako ko posumnja da je re o 450 strana smaraju eg aristokratskog razmetanja, bogatunskog pametovanja, sladunjavosti ili u enja kog nagva danja Beskrajno je uzbudljivo Radnja je sme etena na mediteransko ostrvo recimo Kapri kojim je nekad vladao dobri knez recimo Tiberije iji je vladarski liberalizam bio prili no upro en i svima razumljiv Izuzetno mu je, izme u ostalog, bilo va no da stalno bude okru en poslugom i podanicima i gnu ao se njihove potrebe za popodnevnom dremkom, pa je vaspostavio zakon koji nala e da se svi zabavni sadr aji bez obzira da li uklju uju vatromet ili ne imaju odr avati u tri sata, ma koliko upekla zvezda Ni oporezivanje ni ta komplikovanije nije bilo plati kol ko o e , a kad se proceni da je to nedovoljno, spremi levu ruku za odsecanje i nemoj smetnuti s uma da ima jo jednu i ak dva uva No, u vreme o kome nam Daglas pri a, to je samo epizodica tradicije koju manje ili vi e po tuje neizrecivo ivopisna ekipa domorodaca i do ljaka, uglavnom begunaca iz nekih prethodnih ivota, uglavnom na ivici zakona i sa moralnih margina sa ijih je biografija topli ostrvski iroko oduvao svaku fleku prava engleka lejdi najzama nijeg cuga me u sugra anima, koja svako malo, tre tena, zano i u apsu zbog svla enja na sred ulice cipele, pak, injava preko glave nepismeni i prili no tupavi Moskovljanin to se iz Raspu ina preobratio u skru enog Budo Isusa i preostala a ica njegovih nekada njih 3 miliona sledbenika od kojih se presre na majka Rusija jedva nekako otrebila grofica koja se sprema da i zvani no postane katolkinja, i tim povodom sprema ludilo urku proma eni firentinski student, latentni edipovac, koji se trudi da prona e sebe, uzbu enje u ivotu i put do srca izvesne And eline, koja se radije e e stranputicama ednosti ameri ki milioner kome se svi lihtaju za dobrotvorne priloge, ime se on silno zabavlja razni sve tenici ve i ili manji zlo inci tri sestre all inclusive kr marice ije se preduze e nalazi u nekakvoj pilji gde se Venera i Dionis na miru mogu slaviti kako dolikuje po asni konzul Nikaragve dobro, nije ba konzul, al jeste po asni i jeste Nikaragva , papski sve tenik pripadaju eg zlikov tva i jo mnogo grotesknih i bizarnih karaktera sve jedan od drugoga bolji.U toj gleriji svakovrsnih stu njaka, mufjuza i prevaranata, bankrotiranog plemstva, manje ili vi e pokajanih gre nika i svetica, engleski sve tenik, povratnik sa afri ke misije pokr tavanja, provodi dvanaest dana koliko je godina i Odisej lutao , razgovaraju i sa svima o svemu i sva emu od inkvizicije do industrijske revolucije, o obrazovnim sistemima i pravima ena, o umetnosti, o pravdi, o kulinarstvu i botanici, o mnogobo tvu, judaizmu i hri anstvu, o demokratiji, Americi, Engleskoj, anti koj Gr koj, mineralima, o meri, mladosti, ivotu, ljubavi i sre i I o promenama.Daglas svoje stavove izri e kroz brojne li nosti, ve prema temi, a svi su zdravo pametni, kosmopolitski, jasni i uravnote eni i svi lepo servirani uz fini humor i inteligentnu duhovitost zahvaljuju i kojoj u itavoj knjizi nema ni cela dva dosadna retka ima i ubistvo, da, i nesvakida nja prirodna katastrofa.Nisam mnogo knjiga itala sa ovolikim u ivanjem a u tome ima udela i romanti no starinski prevod Borivoja Nedi a tipa ma ija, kablogram, ali ne dalje od vajkao se, evrdav i drago mi je to ga je Branko Kuki tako uredio za Slu beni glasnik Potpuno sam odu evljena flag 22 likesLike see review View all 12 comments Feb 07, 2012 Andrew Schirmer rated it it was amazing review of another edition Recommends it for Nabokovians, eccentrics Note This is the longest review I ve yet composed on , but this is such an astounding work of genius, of learning and writer s craft, I feel it should be better known What follows is my small attempt to bring this about I glanced too, at the books they were numerous, untidy, and miscellaneous But one shelf was a little neater than the rest and here I noted the following sequence which for a moment seemed to form a vague musical phrase, oddly familiar Hamlet, La Morte d Arthur Note This is the longest review I ve yet composed on , but this is such an astounding work of genius, of learning and writer s craft, I feel it should be better known What follows is my small attempt to bring this about I glanced too, at the books they were numerous, untidy, and miscellaneous But one shelf was a little neater than the rest and here I noted the following sequence which for a moment seemed to form a vague musical phrase, oddly familiar Hamlet, La Morte d Arthur, The Bridge of San Luis Rey, Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde, South Wind, The Lady with the Dog, Madame Bovary, The Invisible Man, Le Temps Retrouv , Anglo Persian Dictionary, The Author of Trixie, Alice in Wonderland, Ulysses, About Buying a Horse, King Lear Vladimir Nabokov, The Real Life of Sebastian Knight Upstairs he had a studio he painted a little, the old fraud He had decorated its sloping wall it was really not than a garret with large photographs of pensive Andr Gide, Tchaikovsky, Norman Douglas, two other well known English writers, Nijinsky all thighs and fig leaves , Harold D Doublename a misty eyed left wing professor at a Midwestern university and Marcel Proust.Vladimir Nabokov, LolitaIt should not be seen as a ringing endorsement of the judgments of Vladimir Nabokov that I begin this review with quotes from two of his novels In Sebastian Knight s library, the book under review is placed in a pantheon of canonical literature, directly before Chekhov s And yet Nabokov who never came to terms with the sexuality of his brother Sergei couldn t resist a little homophobic jab at the pederast Douglas, placing his photograph in a gallery of queens in the attic of Gaston Godin, a teacher at the Beardsley ha College for Women So, how to approach this thing Well, it begins with one of the greatest opening sentences ever The bishop was feeling rather sea sick Confoundedly sea sick, in fact. And so on we roll in that wonderfully lucid, classically tinged syntax of Edwardian writing, with a touch of the baroque Baron Corvo without the bitter invective, early Waugh without the frivolity Unlike many of those Edwardian masterpieces, there is little in the way of plot The Bishop of Bampopo, one Thomas Heard arrives on the fictional isle of Nepenthe to spend a fortnight before returning to England On board the ship he encounters a charivari of characters with whom he converses a sort of prelude to the rest of the novel which consists largely of set pieces where the queer and fascinating inhabitants of Nepenthe discourse on all manner of subjects Nearly every page abounds with sub Wildean epigrams and the conversation sparkles And the characters Mr Eames, who is annotating a famous history of the island who may or may not, like Douglas, have been forced into exile thanks to his taste in boys It was not true to say of Mr Eames that he lived on Nepenthe because he was wanted by the London police for something that happened in Richmond Park, that his real name was not Eames at all but Daniels the notorious Hodgson Daniels, you know, who was mixed up in the Lotus Club scandal, that he was the local representative of an international gang of white slave traffickers who had affiliated offices in every part of the world, that he was not a man at all but an old boarding house keeper who had very good reasons for assuming the male disguise, that he was a morphinomaniac, a disfrocked Baptist Minister, a pawnbroker out of work, a fire worshipper, a Transylvanian, a bank clerk who had had a fall, a decayed jockey who disgraced himself at a subsequent period in connection with some East End mission for reforming the boys of Bermondsey and then, after pawning his mother s jewelry, writing anonymous threatening letters to society ladies about their husbands and vice versa, trying to blackmail three Cabinet Ministers and tricking poor servant girls out of their hard earned wages by the sale of sham Bibles, was luckily run to earth in Piccadilly Circus, after an exciting chase, with a forty pound salmon under his arm which he had been seen to lift from the window of a Bondstreet fishmonger.There are the Little White Cows the followers of Bazhakuloff, a renegade Russian Orthodox priest admittedly modeled on Grigori Rasputin The wealthy American yachtsman von Koppen, and my favorite conversationalists, Mr Keith and Count Caloveglia Back to our sea sick bishop I am feeling better, thank you It must have been the sight of those poor people that upset me They seem to suffer horribly I suppose I have got used to it They do suffer And they get used to it too I often wonder whether they are as susceptible to pain and discomfort as the rich with their finer nervous structure Who can say Animals also have their sufferings, but they are not encouraged to tell us about them Perhaps that is why God made them dumb Zola, in one of his novels, speaks of a sea sick donkey The island comes into view Viewed from the clammy deck on this bright morning, the island of Nepenthe resembled a cloud It was a silvery speck upon that limitless expanse of blue sea and sky A south wind breathed over the Mediterranean waters, drawing up their moisture which lay couched in thick mists about its flanks and uplands The comely outlines were barely suggested through a veil of fog An air of irreality hung about the place Could this be an island Ah, the south wind of the novel s title The sirocco reappears constantly in conversation and description and its operative influence on everything from mental faculties to island character are felt and disputed What has been, may be, continued the old man, oracularly I question whether the sirocco was obnoxious in olden days as now, otherwise the ancients, who had absurdly sensitive skins, would ahve omplained of it frequently The deforestation of Northern Africa, I suspect has much to do with it Frenchmen are now trying to revive those prosperous conditions which Mohammedanism has destroyed Oh yes I don t despair of muzzling the sirocco, even as we are muzzling that other Mediterranean pest, the malaria And has any author ever managed to elevate talk about that most mundane subject of all to such a level Continuing, the conversation shifts into high satire Keith observed Petronius, I remember, speaks of the North wind being the mistress of the Tyrrhenian He would not use such language nowadays, unless alluding to its violence rather than its prevalence Once I thought of translating Petronius But I discovered certain passages in the book which are almost improper Finally, as the fortnight s sojourn is drawing to a close, there is a shift The winds die down Don t you notice, Count, that there is an unwonted sparkle in the air this evening Something cleansing, clarifying To be sure I do, replied the other And I can tell you the cause of it Sirocco is over for the present The wind has shifted to the north It brightens all nature It makes one see things in their true perspective, doesn t it That is exactly what I feel, said Mr Heard. I do hope I ve been able to transfer some of the brilliance of this most singular book into the space allotted It is one of the most original things I ve ever read flag 19 likesLike see review View all 11 comments Oct 10, 2010 Lobstergirl rated it liked it review of another edition Recommended to Lobstergirl by Panos Tserpes Shelves own, fiction This is a really odd book I think the fact that it was published in 1917 redeems it somewhat it seems ahead of its time, and if it had been released after 1955 I probably would have hated it It would have seemed like Kingsley Amis or David Lodge than Evelyn Waugh It is resolutely comical and transgressively clever, rather than nakedly reprobative The author, Norman Douglas, was mainly a travel writer, and apparently a bit of a pederast, occasionally fleeing scandal and the authorities This is a really odd book I think the fact that it was published in 1917 redeems it somewhat it seems ahead of its time, and if it had been released after 1955 I probably would have hated it It would have seemed like Kingsley Amis or David Lodge than Evelyn Waugh It is resolutely comical and transgressively clever, rather than nakedly reprobative The author, Norman Douglas, was mainly a travel writer, and apparently a bit of a pederast, occasionally fleeing scandal and the authorities.There isn t much plot Our protagonist, Anglican bishop Thomas Heard, is on his way back from his diocese in Africa to England and stops on the island of Nepenthe based on Capri, where the author lived for a time to visit his cousin, a newly married woman with a young baby and a husband off in the colonies somewhere Bishop Heard meets a variety of mostly expatriate Brits, attends parties, has conversations, goes on walks, calls on his cousin, attends a funeral, and finally witnesses a murder The novel is strongly anti clerical the local priests are just as sybaritic or corrupt as everyone else, and ultimately Heard, tantalized and overcome by Nepenthe s lifestyle and the sirocco the south wind of the title , decides he can t possibly return to the Church.Wildean epigrams sometimes pepper the narrative Her life since the marrying period had been a breathless succession of love affairs, each eternal than the last Or Douglas regales the reader with absurdity, as in this description of Saint Eulalia, patroness of Nepenthean sailors She refused to partake of food save once in every five weeks she remained immovable like a statue for months on end she wore under her rough clothing iron spikes which were found, after death, to have entered deeply into her flesh She was never known to use a drop of water for purposes of ablution or to change her underwear than once a year, and then only at the order of her confessor who was obliged to be in daily contact with her The heat of her body was such that it could not be touched by human hands During her frequent trances she spoke accurately in sixty nine different languages there was no hair whatever on her head, which was spotless as an egg She put baskets of sea urchins into her bed and, as a penance for what she called her many sins , forced herself to catch the legions of vermin that infested her brown blanket, count them, separate the males from the females, set them free once , and begin over again She died at the age of fourteen years and two months Her corpse forthwith became roseate in colour, exhaled a delicious odour of violets for twenty weeks, and performed countless miracles On dissection, a portrait of Saint James of Compostella was discovered embedded in her liver. flag 10 likesLike see review View all 9 comments Jul 19, 2013 Collier Brown rated it it was amazing review of another edition Shelves home inventory When I read reviews, I usually go to the negative ones first entertaining And from what I can tell, those who dislike South Wind dislike it strongly, and for the following reasons 1 the language is difficult, 2 the story lacks plot, and 3 both the language and whatever passes for plot seems antiquated People who love reading will shrug these off immediately Difficult language Ah, says the reader, the joy of learning new words, new languages, new innuendos Besides, no one would When I read reviews, I usually go to the negative ones first entertaining And from what I can tell, those who dislike South Wind dislike it strongly, and for the following reasons 1 the language is difficult, 2 the story lacks plot, and 3 both the language and whatever passes for plot seems antiquated People who love reading will shrug these off immediately Difficult language Ah, says the reader, the joy of learning new words, new languages, new innuendos Besides, no one would read Shakespeare if antiquated language and plots were the criteria by which we judge a book We have smartphones No need to lug a dictionary around Click, click, click Never has it been easier to read a difficult book But really, no word or phrase in this book is indecipherable given the rich profusion of context Douglas provides For instance, we have a character in this book, Mr Eames, who s annotating an enormous history of the island Eames s idol, the great historian who wrote the book Eames is annotating, is a master stylist of Latin So there s some Latin constellated throughout the chapters, but nothing you can t skim if it gives you trouble Is it worth it My god, Eames is one of the book s treasures Here s a guy who once fell in love with a woman as big as a hot air balloon, a woman who sucked him dry of money and self worth, leaving him a mere shadow of his former self This is Douglas s great power as an author He takes an experience every living person has, either to lesser or greater degrees, and amplifies it by stranding him on an island, like an ant beneath a magnifying glass After losing this lady, Eames takes refuge in his work He becomes dry, cold, and isolated Who doesn t know a person like this He s completely universal, yet somehow strange and unique with his fetish for this historian s Latin and his need to repress whatever defects he discovers in that historian s character if some of his Latin is licentious or not quite nice, for example You re not going to get an earth shattering plot with someone like Eames He took his one big leap of faith in life and lost He s not going to risk his heart again He s stowed himself up in the attic of his mind Short of the island collapsing in on his little monastic cave, we re not going to see much in the way of showstopping sex or violence His life is a tightrope walk a little too much weight on the reclusive side, and he ll never recover the human passion he once knew with his balloon lover too much attention given to his anguish, however, might thrust him into a downward spiral of self pity Douglas keeps the tension going And the payoff happens toward the end of the novel when Eames decides to risk his safety and all his years of annotation for something no one else in their right mind would bother about I m being purposefully elusive here Don t want to spoil it Another absolutely brilliant move by Douglas I mean, isn t that truly the way of salvation Something so small, something so devoid of meaning outside the realm of one s own weird desires, can change a life completely It s such a powerful moment of redemption in the book a redemption not of one s soul to heaven but a redemption of the life of the mind and body to its place among the living Each of Douglas s characters go through this kind of journey I ve emphasized Eames as if here were the main character But he s not Mr Heard, the bishop who s just come from his mission in Africa, is the principle hero whose own journey exemplifies all the others He s spent the greater part of his youth doing what he s been taught is right spreading the good news to the poor lost souls of the darker nations But after years of this labor, he finds he s the one who s lost It s a hero s quest as Joseph Campbell describes it And like every hero s quest, what s important comes from inner transformations not the discovery of some grail or the slaying of an actual dragon though there s a fire breathing volcano in the story And it s in the novel s wonderfully diverse array of lost heroes that the magic of Douglas s writing lies We experience several novels in this one book, several journeys akin to Eames s You ll adore Keith, the rich philosophical Italian Denis, the directionless college boy still wet behind the ears the Duchess, whose husband would have been a Duke had he lived therefore, why not assume the role of Duchess and the hopelessly lovable Don Francesco, a priest with an insatiable appetite for women, hence Don Francesco rather than Father It s a novel about about beauty, friendship, loneliness, and love It s a novel that questions the values we ve been taught by institutions of all kinds domestic, religious, political, national, and so on And all the while, we are keenly aware that these ideas, rites, passions, punishments, and lunacies play themselves out beneath the descending shroud of volcanic ash which, in the end, cannot be delayed or willed away South Wind is one of those rare chimeras of literature both a work of wisdom and aesthetic experience It is at times hilarious, at times distressing, and at times joyously profound And it is one of those novels that rewards a lifetime of re readings I can see myself coming back to it with new readiness flag 9 likesLike see review View 1 comment Jan 10, 2013 Chris rated it liked it review of another edition Shelves gay, mediterranean, fiction, humor Douglas s most famous novel, although almost unknown today, was popular when published in 1917 It was the first to exploit, using literary satire, the sensual pleasure island of Capri, here transparently disguised as the island of Nepenthe, named for the drug of forgetfulness from Greek mythology.The real island has a very long recorded history In AD 20, the Emperor Tiberius decided to leave Rome forever and to build a palace in Capri, and, according to Suetonius, at last gave vent to all t Douglas s most famous novel, although almost unknown today, was popular when published in 1917 It was the first to exploit, using literary satire, the sensual pleasure island of Capri, here transparently disguised as the island of Nepenthe, named for the drug of forgetfulness from Greek mythology.The real island has a very long recorded history In AD 20, the Emperor Tiberius decided to leave Rome forever and to build a palace in Capri, and, according to Suetonius, at last gave vent to all the vices which he had for a long time tried unsuccessfully to hide In 1632, the Frenchman Bouchard was delighted to discover how accommodating both the women and the boys of Capri were For almost two thousand years the most rampant sexual appetite, the most bizarre variations, have been tolerated and even actively welcomed.In the nervous days following the shameful trial of Oscar Wilde in 1895, English homosexuals found Capri a perfect haven W Somerset Maugham came Norman Douglas stayed, and, to show that homosexuality was not exclusively British, in 1917 Fritz von Krupp, the German munitions king, and the self styled Baron Jacques d Adelsw rd Fersen, cast cares to the wind once they were established on the island Lesbians, as Compton Mackenzie s two novels, Vestal Fire and Extraordinary Women, revealed, also found Capri stimulating.Given the very real, and sufficiently historically documented, record of Capri s place as a pleasure center of the world since Roman times, one would expect Norman Douglas s novel to be a somewhat spectacular orgy, while maintaining his high literary standards and abiding by the strict censorship rules of the time, 1917 Unfortunately, by severely toning down the language, very carefully selecting the events depicted, and falsely rendering such nearly invisible sex as there is as between only men and women, he killed the fun, and corrupted the reality of Capri.An explanation for what remains in the book perhaps can be found in the legal trouble Douglas himself got into shortly before it was published In late 1916 he jumped bail in London on a charge of indecent assault on a sixteen year old boy, and effectively then lived in exile He himself wrote of this in self exculpation Norman Douglas of Capri, and of Naples and Florence, was formerly of England, which he fled during the war to avoid persecution for kissing a boy and giving him some cakes and a shilling The boy in fact complained to the police Although I can t prove it, likely Douglas was shy about worsening his reputation further by being too explicit about Capri, and thereby limiting his readership As for his reputation, it never reached greatness As for his readership, he was successful South Wind sold very well and has been reprinted frequently.In spite of the problems with South Wind, Douglas is an excellent writer and a master of satire It can be enjoyed as simply a funny story about weird people who have no modern equivalents, but readers today will undoubtedly be left quite unsatisfied.Norman Douglas was a direct influence on the younger Aldous Huxley, whose own novel writing career began a few years later Instead of reading Douglas, I would suggest any of Huxley s first four or five novels as a much better realization of intelligent literary satire directed at all the fools in English society and much of Europe Eventually, of course, Huxley went far beyond anything Douglas could have done, taking his, Huxley s, version of literature the novel of ideas to heights never surpassed Ironically, he got there with something akin to Douglas s obliqueness concerning sex, but this is a topic for an essay in itself For a classic, strong taste, refer to Brave New World Or try his Ape and Essence, a better book and one steeped in the most ruined sexuality And for Capri itself Is there something better to read if you want to experience the fun of the island Well, yes, definitely yes In fact there are two by writers who spent much time on Capri The Exile of Capri, by Roger Peyrefitte, and Compton MacKenzie s Vestal Fire If you are at all interested in what can happen when stupid laws prohibiting normal, instinctual, enjoyable human behavior are either ignored or are nonexistent, read these books for your pleasure Both are quite literary and will make you wish you were there flag 8 likesLike see review Sep 05, 2017 Bettie marked it as to read review of another edition Recommended to Bettie by Fionnuala Read for free at GutenbergOpeninG The bishop was feeling rather sea sick Confoundedly sea sick, in fact.This annoyed him For he disapproved of sickness in every shape or form His own state of body was far from satisfactory at that moment Africa he was Bishop of Bampopo in the Equatorial Regions had played the devil with his lower gastric department and made him almost an invalid a circumstance of which he was nowise proud, seeing that ill health led to inefficiency in all walks of life Th Read for free at GutenbergOpeninG The bishop was feeling rather sea sick Confoundedly sea sick, in fact.This annoyed him For he disapproved of sickness in every shape or form His own state of body was far from satisfactory at that moment Africa he was Bishop of Bampopo in the Equatorial Regions had played the devil with his lower gastric department and made him almost an invalid a circumstance of which he was nowise proud, seeing that ill health led to inefficiency in all walks of life There was nothing he despised than inefficiency Well or ill, he always insisted on getting through his tasks in a businesslike fashion That was the way to live, he used to say Get through with it Be perfect of your kind, whatever that kind may be Hence his sneaking fondness for the natives they were such fine, healthy animals.Fine, healthy animals perfect of their kind Africa liked them to get through with it according to their own lights But there was evidently a little touch of spitefulness and malice about Africa something almost human For when white people try to get through with it after their particular fashion, she makes hay of their livers or something That is what had happened to Thomas Heard, D.D Bishop of Bampopo He had been so perfect of his kind, such an exemplary pastor, that there was small chance of a return to the scenes of his episcopal labours Anybody could have told him what would happen He ought to have allowed for a little human weakness, on the part of the Black Continent It could not be helped For the rest, he was half inclined to give up the Church and take to some educational work on his return to England Perhaps that was why he at present preferred to be known as Mr Heard It put people at their ease, and him too flag 6 likesLike see review View 1 comment Sep 11, 2010 Mark Desrosiers rated it it was ok review of another edition Shelves did not make it past page 25, fiction, overrated drivel According to the resident expert who pressed this into my hand, this was one of Vlad Nabokov s favorite novels, and I can see why there are some snarky scholarship and annotation parodies involving Saint Dodekanus and the fictional island of Nepenthe i.e Capri which clearly inspired Pale Fire But, wow, has this novel dated terribly the prose is wooden, the humor is droll and pretentious, and all the moral political religious mostly religious targets of Douglas s wit are, y know, ci According to the resident expert who pressed this into my hand, this was one of Vlad Nabokov s favorite novels, and I can see why there are some snarky scholarship and annotation parodies involving Saint Dodekanus and the fictional island of Nepenthe i.e Capri which clearly inspired Pale Fire But, wow, has this novel dated terribly the prose is wooden, the humor is droll and pretentious, and all the moral political religious mostly religious targets of Douglas s wit are, y know, circa 1917 I m adding an extra star because Douglas was clearly thinking along the right lines, but this is rough going I groaned and winced my way to page 100 of 410 , where it became obvious no plot was going to emerge nor any ripping hilarious characters or dialogue , and figured this novel was overrated when first published due to its transgressive themes , and that initial hot wind kept it aloft until people stopped reading it That it remains on lists of lost classics and such is astonishing flag 5 likesLike see review View 1 comment Aug 23, 2012 Alex Sarll rated it it was amazing review of another edition A wonderful tale of life among the disreptutable expats on the Mediterranean island of Nepenthe commonly believed to represent Capri, but possibly the ideal of which Capri is a reflection There is a plot, of sorts, but the attraction is in a frolicsome perversity , in spending a few days on the beaches and taverns with these drunks and monomaniacs, hearing their grand schemes and thoughts on life, spying on the minutiae of their many sins obliquely though they are often described Man A wonderful tale of life among the disreptutable expats on the Mediterranean island of Nepenthe commonly believed to represent Capri, but possibly the ideal of which Capri is a reflection There is a plot, of sorts, but the attraction is in a frolicsome perversity , in spending a few days on the beaches and taverns with these drunks and monomaniacs, hearing their grand schemes and thoughts on life, spying on the minutiae of their many sins obliquely though they are often described Many of the best jokes in it are never even stated, merely implied, and all the funnier for that I was reminded of a slightly less arch Firbank, and given Firbank can be a bit much even for my decadent tastes, that s no bad thing Written in 1917, there s no hint of war here instead it s a holiday in that indefinite summer afternoon where Wodehouse and Miyazaki s European tales also bask flag 4 likesLike see review Apr 26, 2018 J rated it it was ok review of another edition Shelves mediterrania, decadence Early that morning, he had tried his hand at poetry once , after a long interval Four words that was all the inspiration which had come to him. Or vine wreathed Tuscany A pretty turn, in the earlier manner of Keats It looked well on the snowy paper Or vine wreathed Tuscany He was content with that phrase, as far as it went But where was the rest of the stanza How easily, a year or two ago, could he have finished the whole verse How easily everything was accomplished in those Early that morning, he had tried his hand at poetry once , after a long interval Four words that was all the inspiration which had come to him. Or vine wreathed Tuscany A pretty turn, in the earlier manner of Keats It looked well on the snowy paper Or vine wreathed Tuscany He was content with that phrase, as far as it went But where was the rest of the stanza How easily, a year or two ago, could he have finished the whole verse How easily everything was accomplished in those days Was he not the idol of a select group who admired not only one another but also the satanism of Baudelaire, the hieratic obscenities of Beardsley, the mustiest Persian sage, the modernist American ballad monger He was full of gay irresponsibility Ever since, on returning to his rooms after some tedious lecture, he announced to his friends that he had lost an umbrella, but preserved, thank God, his honour, they augured a brilliant future for him So, for other but no less cogent reasons, did his doting, misguided mother.I really should have loved this book C mon It s 1917 Capri, here called Nepenthe expats, mainlanders, natives, all engaged in culture clash farce Misbegotten schemes, false heirs, forgery, and drippingly sarcastic repartee Maugham s Under The Casuarina Tree meets Burgess The Long Day Wanes Under The Volcano, but lighthearted Night Of The Iguana but Italiano Something in the break from heavy reading vein, along the lines of Up At The Villa, say.We re hooked early with the grand swooping crane shot of the newcomer arriving at the island, a truly magical atoll nestled somewhere off the distant azure coastlines of the Italian Mediterranean Soon enough, we understand that our tour will survey fusty rectitude with loose moral underpinnings all well and good Let s go The Villa Khismet was one of the surprises of Nepenthe It lay somewhat out of the way, at the end of a narrow, gloomy and tortuous lane Who would have dreamt of finding a house of this kind in such a situation Who would have expected, on passing through that mouldy wooden gateway in the wall, to find himself in a courtyard that recalled the exquisite proportions and traceries of the Alhambra to be able to wander thence under fretted arches through a maze of marble paved Moorish chambers, great and small, opening upon each other at irregular angles with a deliciously impromptu effect The palace had been built regardless of expense It was originally laid out, Keith explained, by one of the old rulers of Nepenthe who, to tease his faithful subjects, simulated a frenzied devotion for the poetry and architecture of the Saracens, their bitterest enemies Something Oriental still hung about these chambers, though the modern furniture was not at all in keeping with the style Mr Keith did not profess to be a man of taste I try to be comfortable, he used to say He had succeeded in being luxurious.Extravagant, for certain where there is no sea view, there are fountains in courtyards, charmingly unreliable perhaps, but suggestive of sparkling conversation, intriguing developments The actual content, reminiscent of maybe Balzac is broad parody, characters all baroque grotesques tilting and wheeling around in wide circles on a small island Courting, pandering, or pointedly ignoring each other, and the reader, or less There is no pivot moment or change agent that catalyzes the micro dramatics at hand, no narrative hook, or anchor either.We get pages long socratic dialogues where characters prevaricate, about the Gods, the Weather, the Meaning, dear boy, the Meaning Oh by the way dining at Lady Whatsit s this evening It takes the author three quarters of the book to get around this stuff, and ramp up to full scale farce I suppose this is a frustrating outing because it has so much place, period, a penchant for the irreverent and still comes to naught The half hearted stabs at interim drama hold to no plot path, and the pontificating rambles don t coalesce into a novel I do think this might make a great movie, because of all of those things, and also because it s such a terrible book flag 3 likesLike see review View 1 comment Aug 25, 2017 James rated it really liked it review of another edition Shelves british literature South Wind is a unique novel Rather than presenting a traditional plot it seems like an olio or mixture of lectures and observations on various, often obscure, aspects of geology, climatology, history, morality, religion, and folklore, among other topics The author s use of articulate characters confined to a restricted setting allows for ample airing of views and recalls the methods of English novelist Thomas Love Peacock, whose country house novels were once very popular.South Wind s setting South Wind is a unique novel Rather than presenting a traditional plot it seems like an olio or mixture of lectures and observations on various, often obscure, aspects of geology, climatology, history, morality, religion, and folklore, among other topics The author s use of articulate characters confined to a restricted setting allows for ample airing of views and recalls the methods of English novelist Thomas Love Peacock, whose country house novels were once very popular.South Wind s setting itself becomes a character as the island Nepenthe, which is not to be found on a map, comes alive as the narrative progresses The literary reference is to the magical potion given to Helen by Polydamna the wife of the noble Egyptian Thon it quells all sorrows with forgetfulness figuratively, nepenthe means that which chases away sorrow Odyssey, Book 4, v 219 221 However, it is usually considered a fictional version of the isle of Capri, about which Douglas wrote a series of scholarly pamphlets and upon which he was living when he completed South Wind It reminded me of Shirley Hazzard s literary meditation, Greene on Capri in which she also captured the essence of the island She also noted the friendship between Graham Greene and Douglas in the late 1940 s when Greene first began to frequent the isle, he had the company, when he chose, of a handful of lively and literary resident compatriots and had enjoyed the last effulgence of Norman Douglas Greene on Capri, p 47 Douglas did not deny his novel s debt to a real location but insisted that Ischia, Ponza, and the Lipari Islands all lying off the southwest coast of Italy were the actual sources for Nepenthe s natural scenery Douglas even incorporated a version of his observations regarding the pumice stone industry of the Lipari Islands, the subject of one of his first publications Douglas s creation had deep roots in his own experience the details of which he drew upon heavily.The novel s characters are the result of much the same observational mode which allows the reader, if he is willing, to gradually develop an acquaintance with the place through the idiosyncrasies of the characters An example may suffice Mr Keith was a perfect host He had the right word for everybody his infectious conviviality made them all straightaway at their ease The overdressed native ladies, the priests and officials moving about in prim little circles, were charmed with his affable manner so different from most Englishmen p 131 One or two characters may be based on historically obscure acquaintances of Douglas, but others are little than personifications of facets of their author s own personality The voluble Mr Keith is most likely a spokesman for Douglas s hedonistic views, and Mr Eames and Count Caloveglia represent Douglas s scholarly and antiquarian interests All are perfectly adequate mouthpieces, but none emerges as rounded or particularly memorable outside of the group.Several British writers of Greene s generation were directly influenced by Douglas in general and by South Wind in particular Aldous Huxley s satirical novels Crome Yellow 1921, in which Douglas appears as the character Scrogan , Antic Hay 1923 , and Point Counter Point 1928 bear its stamp Greene himself generally wrote books of a darker character, but his lighter comic novel Travels with My Aunt 1969 bears similarities to South Wind Douglas s erudite yet pleasant style reminds me a bit of Lawrence Durrell Needless to say this is an engaging novel with plenty of interesting characters that than offset the lack of a robust plot flag 2 likesLike see review Jan 11, 2013 sch rated it liked it review of another edition Before beginning In a review of one of Douglas s later novels, Waugh wrote that in SOUTH WIND he had achieved, with superb facility, the only great satirical novel of his generation So let s just see what we ve got.A third of the way through the chapters are organized casually, as is, occasionally, the narration Napoleon, or somebody, once remarked L etat, c est moi But the story has a definite shape we meet various characters in conversation with others, then eventually get thei Before beginning In a review of one of Douglas s later novels, Waugh wrote that in SOUTH WIND he had achieved, with superb facility, the only great satirical novel of his generation So let s just see what we ve got.A third of the way through the chapters are organized casually, as is, occasionally, the narration Napoleon, or somebody, once remarked L etat, c est moi But the story has a definite shape we meet various characters in conversation with others, then eventually get their backstories Also the pornographic cover on the Capuchin edition is so far entirely inappropriate The humor is inconsistent.Halfway the worldly, morally suspect Jesuit is still the most entertaining speaker The worldly atheist Mr Keith is a bore to everyone readers, other characters but the author Denis the college graduate gets some nice under his breath one liners I expect great things from the Count, who is shaping into a reputable villain The three disreputable villains President of the club, corrupt judge, wealthy foreigner Mr Muhlen have no purchase on the imagination, though I want of their ally, the Vice President of the club The protagonist an Anglican bishop on leave is dull, but don t forget Chesterton s defense of Nicholas Nickleby he s just an excuse to meet everyone else The women are all interesting, but underdeveloped I figured out the identity of the naked lady on the cover.Something should be said of the narration it s of uneven quality The dominant note in the background chapters is whimsy, as in the matter of fact descriptions of the Good Duke s jovial cruelties I d call it irony, but it s not at all subtle Here s one of the better examples Nobody, probably, has done to foster pious feelings towards their island patron than the Good Duke Alfred, who, among other things, caused a stately marble frieze to be placed in the church The frieze indeed was admired so unreservedly, so recklessly, that the Good Duke felt it his duty to remove the sculptor s eyes and on second thoughts his hands as well, in order that no sovereign should possess works by so consummate a master of stonecraft There the disciplinary measures ended He did his best to console the gifted artist, who was fed, henceforth, on lobsters, decorated with the order of the Golden Vine, and would doubtless have been ennobled after death, had the Prince not predeceased the sculptor from Chp 3.Finished More of the same, though I was wrong about the Count I rather like the millionaire prophylactic manufacturer The book is a strange mix of clear satire and half serious irreverent disquisitions sometimes funny, never approaching hilarious If we reckon it sincere, the Bishop s spiritual journey is incredible from start to finish That of Denis, being less ambitious, is believable I can see the island of Nepenthe, and it is lovely.If Waugh is right, I see no reason to read any satires written by Douglas s contemporaries flag 2 likesLike see review Feb 09, 2010 Sheri Horton rated it really liked it review of another edition A beautifully written book about nothing Think of it as a classical Seinfeld flag 2 likesLike see review View 1 comment Sep 10, 2018 Mark Miano rated it liked it review of another edition I first heard about SOUTH WIND, by Norman Douglas, in the early 1990s My grandmother was turning 80 years old and she decided to celebrate the milestone by renting a house on the island of Capri, in Italy I took a leave of absence from work and stayed the entire month with her, traipsing over every square inch of one of the most historic, trendy, and beautiful islands in the world When I was preparing for that trip, my Uncle Lou gave me several guidebooks for the island and a copy of this boo I first heard about SOUTH WIND, by Norman Douglas, in the early 1990s My grandmother was turning 80 years old and she decided to celebrate the milestone by renting a house on the island of Capri, in Italy I took a leave of absence from work and stayed the entire month with her, traipsing over every square inch of one of the most historic, trendy, and beautiful islands in the world When I was preparing for that trip, my Uncle Lou gave me several guidebooks for the island and a copy of this book However, for some reason, I didn t end up reading the book on the trip, and instead just filed it away on my TBR pile.Fast forward to August 2018, when my father decided to celebrate his own 80th birthday with a special family party on the island of Capri This was just a four day journey, but I made a point of packing this book and dedicated myself to reading it while spending two weeks in Italy.My version of the book was from The Modern Library, and I found it amusing that in the introduction Norman Douglas makes such a point of arguing all the reasons that the fictional island in SOUTH WIND named Nepenthe is NOT Capri Of course there is not much likeness between them The island of Capri is real, and Nepenthe is two thirds imaginary And the remaining third of it is distilled out of several Mediterreanean islands it is a composite place A few pages later, at the start of the novel, Douglas includes a passage describing Nepenthe in which he makes it clear that Nepenthe is NOT Capri They had talked of Nepenthe, or rather Mr Muhlen had talked the Bishop Thomas Heard as usual preferring to listen and to learn Like himself, Mr Muhlen had never before set foot on the place To be sure, he had visited other Mediterranean islands he know Sicily fairly well and had once spent a pleasant fortnight on Capri But Nepenthe was different.Forgive this reader for thinking that Norman Douglas doth protest far too much Even so, after reading the book, I m not sure it matters whether Nepenthe is Capri or not My guess is that it is, and I further guess that several of the characters in the book are based on real characters who visited Capri in the early 1900s What is significant about the novel is the period in which it was written during the horrors of World War I The book provided an escape from that era with its band of eccentric characters who vacillate between hedonism and anti religious attitudes.For many years this book was a major seller and influenced several great writers including Graham Greene Perhaps because I read it nearly 100 years after it was written, most of the humor and reasoning was lost on me Some of the views of the world seemed everything from anachronistic, to elitist, to offensive, to just plain silly And so, after eagerly waiting than 20 years to read the book, it took me a plodding two weeks to finally finish it flag 1 likeLike see review Jan 30, 2019 Scott Pomfret rated it really liked it review of another edition This is a lost classic in which Douglas invents an island in the Mediterranean called Nepenthe on which gather a collection of vacationing and or expatriate foreigners who interact with the natives and each other in comic ways while interrogating philosophy, art, and murder Douglas has a knack for absurdity In a series of curiously amoral conversations among the island dwellers, temporary and otherwise, we learn of a scirocco that brings out the worst in everybody a saint who took her vows be This is a lost classic in which Douglas invents an island in the Mediterranean called Nepenthe on which gather a collection of vacationing and or expatriate foreigners who interact with the natives and each other in comic ways while interrogating philosophy, art, and murder Douglas has a knack for absurdity In a series of curiously amoral conversations among the island dwellers, temporary and otherwise, we learn of a scirocco that brings out the worst in everybody a saint who took her vows before she turned three years old and caused over 900 witnessed miracles a rain of blackening ash from a nearby volcano that blankets the island though when the volcano blows, the islanders are thrilled that it kills only people on the mainland and see it as proof of their virtue and an Episcopalian missionary bishop who surrenders his faith Nearly every character has a singular if not sympathetic back story.Other than the volcano and the murder, there is not a great deal of plot, but the novel is nevertheless dense, funny, and memorable flag 1 likeLike see review Sep 12, 2017 Kurt Johnson rated it really liked it review of another edition Returning from Africa, the Anglican Bishop of Bompopo detours to the little island of Nepenthe, where he finds some charming natives and an assortment of interesting and eccentric expatriates As the Nepenthean year slides gently along, the expatriates go on about their lives, living in a dreamland, and maintaining illusions that keep them happy about themselves.This 1917 book is the work of George Norman Douglas 1868 1952 , Scottish author and diplomat, and is considered by some to be his mast Returning from Africa, the Anglican Bishop of Bompopo detours to the little island of Nepenthe, where he finds some charming natives and an assortment of interesting and eccentric expatriates As the Nepenthean year slides gently along, the expatriates go on about their lives, living in a dreamland, and maintaining illusions that keep them happy about themselves.This 1917 book is the work of George Norman Douglas 1868 1952 , Scottish author and diplomat, and is considered by some to be his masterpiece The edition I possess is the 1924 Modern Library one, which includes a short introduction by the author, in which he defends his book against the charge that it does not possess a plot Well, in truth, this book is not plot driven it is a sort of theater of the absurd tale, in which people s hypocrisy, inanity and stupidity are laid bare Quite a fun tale, I must admit that it s been a while since I have enjoyed a book quite so much flag 1 likeLike see review Mar 13, 2018 John rated it it was ok review of another edition Shelves novel uk I have gone back and forth with my rating of this book between 2 and 3 stars This book, about expatriates and natives on the Island of Nepenthe really Capri , contains numerous funny set pieces involving a wide variety of characters Douglas also provides excellent descriptions of the scenery.The book was written in 1917, and given the times WWI I can see why it was popular and escapist In that sense, it reminds me of Hilton s Lost Horizon, in setting forth an paradise free from the restr I have gone back and forth with my rating of this book between 2 and 3 stars This book, about expatriates and natives on the Island of Nepenthe really Capri , contains numerous funny set pieces involving a wide variety of characters Douglas also provides excellent descriptions of the scenery.The book was written in 1917, and given the times WWI I can see why it was popular and escapist In that sense, it reminds me of Hilton s Lost Horizon, in setting forth an paradise free from the restrictions of popular morality.But ultimately, the weaknesses I see in the novel resulted in the lower rating The plot such as it is the physical and moral recovery of a CofE Bishop, moves slowly Long stretches of the book are taken up with long discussions with the major characters about life, etc It is true that there is much humor in the book, but it is handled in no way as well as the novels of Evelyn Waugh or Aldous Huxley flag 1 likeLike see review Oct 12, 2016 Perry Whitford rated it it was amazing review of another edition Vices My dear bishop Under a sky like this Yes, under a sky like that Vices, vices, and vices That azure sky, assisted by the restless winds of the sirocco, the Mediterranean mentality, and a community of morally dubious ex patriated residents made the island of Capri a hothouse for vice in the early 20th century.It was also a hothouse for high culture and the finer things in life Artists, duchesses, poets and counts, they came from all over Europe to the playground of Tiberius Norm Vices My dear bishop Under a sky like this Yes, under a sky like that Vices, vices, and vices That azure sky, assisted by the restless winds of the sirocco, the Mediterranean mentality, and a community of morally dubious ex patriated residents made the island of Capri a hothouse for vice in the early 20th century.It was also a hothouse for high culture and the finer things in life Artists, duchesses, poets and counts, they came from all over Europe to the playground of Tiberius Norman Douglas was one such resident He calls the place he made his home Nepenthe in this nigh on perfect novel, but he wasn t really trying to fool anybody.The book begins with Me Heard, the Bishop of Bampopo, paying a visit to the island to see his niece and take a quick tour of what Mr Keith, an aged bachelor and scholar of disinterested thought , calls the chronique scandaleuse of Nepenthe In terms of a plot that s about it, and yet I don t hesitate to ascertain again that this novel is close to perfect How so Purely down to the alluring abilities of the author Norman Douglas writes like the Blue Grotto poured out onto the page.That s not to say that South Wind will be everybody s cup of cr me de menthe For starters, as already stated, it has virtually no plot whatsoever And then you have to be susceptible to an author with the vocabulary to describe the president of the drinking club as a man of stolid pachydermatous obliquity , the waters of an extinct fountain one of twelve, each with their own history detailed in one of the book s funniest passages as anti blepharous and amygdaloidal in nature.I for one am highly susceptible to that kind of thing, especially when an author can use that kind of language without being in the least bit gauche and does so with his tongue firmly in his cheek throughout.I feel like I should include the following paragraph in its entirety, lengthy though it is If you like this then you will certainly be spoiled by reading a further 450 pages in a similar vein It was not true to say of Mr Eames that he lived on Nepenthe because he was wanted by the London police for something that happened in Richmond Park, that his real name was not Eames at all but Daniels the notorious Hodgson Daniels, you know, who was mixed up in the Lotus Club scandal, that he was the local representative of an international gang of white slave traffickers who had affiliated offices in every part of the world, that he was not a man at all but an old boarding house keeper who had very good reasons for assuming the male disguise, that he was a morphinomaniac, a disfrocked Baptist minister, a pawnbroker out of work, a fire worshipper, a Transylvanian, a bank clerk who had had a fall, a decayed jockey who disgraced himself at a subsequent period in connection with some East End mission for reforming the boys of Bermondsey and then, after pawning his mother s jewelry, writing anonymous threatening letters to society ladies about their husbands and vice versa, trying to blackmail three Cabinet Ministers and tricking poor servant girls out of their hard earned wages by the sale of sham Bibles, was luckily run to earth in Piccadilly Circus, after an exciting chase, with a forty pound salmon under his arm which he had been seen to lift from the window of a Bond Street fishmonger Douglas s intentions are not all so frivolous, however He s glib, for sure, but not without wisdom, and he has lots to say Here s one of his surrogates, Count Caloveglia, on why the people of the Mediterranean have things better than the people of the North That a man should wear himself to the bone in the acquisition of material gain is not pretty But what else can he do in lands adapted only for wolves and bears Of course there s a dangerous side to all this Douglas wants to intoxicate you with his refinement so that, like Mr Heard, you too will catch yourself in the very act of condoning vice All very well if the vice in question is the various types touched upon here, but there are limits The online biography I read about Douglas after I finished the novel strongly suggested that he was a pederast Judging by the sensibility revealed in the book he no doubt considered his behaviour as Hellenistic rather than horrific.I hope you can look beyond those scandalous biographical rumours and still read the book, though I admit such prior knowledge probably would have put me off Maybe I should have left that information out of the review, but having discovered it I simply bring myself to.All I can say in conclusion is that if that was part of his lifestyle he left it out of this story The vice on display is all of the conventional and legal kind, the recognisably human stuff, as chronicled by Monsignor Perrelli, the author of Antiquities of Nepenthe, Those quaint streaks of credulity, those whimsical blasphemies, those spicy Court anecdotes dropped, as it were, in the smoking room of a patrician club. That s also a pretty good description of South Wind itself flag 1 likeLike see review Nov 25, 2017 Eddie Clarke rated it liked it review of another edition Deducting stars for excessive length Douglas clearly does not believe brevity is the soul of wit, a big problem when he s trying to ape Oscar Wilde s epigrammatic style He loves the sound of his own voice and simply cannot write a single sentence where 22 paragraphs will do just as well I reckon the book would have been vastly improved if 100 150 pages were cut As it was up until the last 90 pages I was going to award this two stars.It s a satire on Victorian attitudes especially towards Deducting stars for excessive length Douglas clearly does not believe brevity is the soul of wit, a big problem when he s trying to ape Oscar Wilde s epigrammatic style He loves the sound of his own voice and simply cannot write a single sentence where 22 paragraphs will do just as well I reckon the book would have been vastly improved if 100 150 pages were cut As it was up until the last 90 pages I was going to award this two stars.It s a satire on Victorian attitudes especially towards morality and Christianity This is probably less relevant today Much of the book is taken up by lengthy philosophical dialogues between the characters He doesn t make much effort to differentiate the individual speech patterns, they all sound similar and three quarters of the way in I was still confusing characters.His prose does flow easily so it s not a difficult read, and some of the situations and plot developments are funny I was most fascinated by his analysis of a Catholic Church working hand in glove with the Mafia.Anyone attracted to this because of the setting in a thinly disguised Belle poque Capri then the playground of the European A Gays by a homosexual author will be very disappointed Douglas fled London due to a gay sex scandal while writing this and there is speculation he censored himself to avoid throwing paraffin on the flames The book only goes as far as throwing very coy and ambiguous hints on sexual matters flag 1 likeLike see review Jul 08, 2017 Hamish rated it liked it review of another edition Shelves lit I looked into this because Nabokov mentioned admiring it some of his letters to his wife though he later reported that he heard Douglas was a malicious pederast I can imagine N appreciating the carefully crafted world of characters, each with their relationships with one another, all being subtly moved around It also reads like the anti Magic Mountain which I m sure amused him N loathed Mann , with characters endlessly engaged in long winded philosophical discussions, only here Douglas is I looked into this because Nabokov mentioned admiring it some of his letters to his wife though he later reported that he heard Douglas was a malicious pederast I can imagine N appreciating the carefully crafted world of characters, each with their relationships with one another, all being subtly moved around It also reads like the anti Magic Mountain which I m sure amused him N loathed Mann , with characters endlessly engaged in long winded philosophical discussions, only here Douglas is obviously satirizing them rather than holding them up for the edification of the reader.And as a satire, it s certainly one of the most acerbic, sarcastic novels I ve ever read While never laugh out loud funny, it s generally pretty amusing characters bounce off each other in imaginative and entertaining ways just about everything is held up for ridicule Unfortunately, it can also get pretty repetitive and tiring, with no real form or structure and it just kind of ends eventually And the aforementioned philosophical satires get particularly tiresome It s still enjoyable enough, but I don t see it as being worth N s high praise.P.S Apparently South Wind was a pretty big deal and controversial back in the 20s, and since then it s been almost completely forgotten flag 1 likeLike see review Jun 01, 2015 Wreade1872 rated it liked it review of another edition Shelves league of extraordinary gentlemen, 1910s A tale of a mediterranean island and various foreigners who have ended up there Its a veritable paradise although with a dark edge The climate induces a relaxation of the morals and many people who come there are fleeing their past As the story progresses we learn about each of these characters and their background aswell as the rather bloody history of the island itself The author really captures that sense of freedom, change and unreality you tend to get when you go on holiday There A tale of a mediterranean island and various foreigners who have ended up there Its a veritable paradise although with a dark edge The climate induces a relaxation of the morals and many people who come there are fleeing their past As the story progresses we learn about each of these characters and their background aswell as the rather bloody history of the island itself The author really captures that sense of freedom, change and unreality you tend to get when you go on holiday There s a lot to like about the story and i only have one problem with it and thats the structure This is not a smooth read, in fact its downright lumpy with protuberances in strange places To begin with it seems as if we have a main character but he s lost for large portions of the book The author goes on abrupt tangents in order to give you character background and island history Its a very uneven and sometimes quite annoying method of storytelling Overall though still good flag 1 likeLike see review Feb 11, 2018 Lila rated it really liked it review of another edition This social satire, set on an imaginary Italian island, was on my reading list for some time until a copy fell into my hands It took a couple goes to get through There are quite a few characters to track and most of the book consists of conversation as an Anglican Bishop eventually lets loose his moral compass or resets it and finds himself approving of murder flag 1 likeLike see review Mar 20, 2016 Phil Barker rated it it was ok review of another edition Shelves read2016, penguin100 Character sketches and anecdotes about a mixture of ex pats, tourists and locals on an Italian island c.a 1910 Mostly pointless flag 1 likeLike see review Jan 25, 2018 Brad Hodges rated it liked it review of another edition Viewed from the clammy deck on this bright morning, the island of Nepenthe resembled a cloud It was a silvery speck upon that limitless expanse of blue sea and sky A south wind breathed over the Mediterranean waters, drawing up their moisture which lay couched in thick mists abut its flanks and uplands So writes Norman Douglas in his 1917 novel South Wind The island of Nepenthe is a stand in for Capri, and Douglas novel is full of oddball characters, affected by the sirocco coming up from Viewed from the clammy deck on this bright morning, the island of Nepenthe resembled a cloud It was a silvery speck upon that limitless expanse of blue sea and sky A south wind breathed over the Mediterranean waters, drawing up their moisture which lay couched in thick mists abut its flanks and uplands So writes Norman Douglas in his 1917 novel South Wind The island of Nepenthe is a stand in for Capri, and Douglas novel is full of oddball characters, affected by the sirocco coming up from Morocco.I had never heard of this book until there was an illustrated review of it in the New York Times It sounded intriguing, so I added it to my Kindle I m of two minds about it on the one hand it s a bit of a slog, since there is no real plot, mostly just a series of conversations between a myriad characters But on the other hand, the book is occasionally hilarious, which kept me reading I could quote many lines, but I think this line, by van Koppen, the American millionaire, is my favorite They eat an awful lot of apples in our country That is what makes so many of our women as flat as boards, in front and behind especially in the Eastern States It s apple eating Douglas is also quite a sesquipedalian, with a vocabulary that almost dances in its glory The Fountain of the Capon, sedative and scorbutic, was indicated for rheumatisms of every kind, not excluding sprained limbs, hydrophobia, lycanthropy, black choler, oppilations and procrastinating catapepsia And the humor is so dry as to almost be blown away Realizing their curative possibilities, he selected fifty of the oldest and wisest of his Privy Councillors to undergo a variety of hydro thermal tests on their bodies, internal and external Seven of these gentlemen had the good luck to survive the treatment They received the Order of the Golden Vine, a coveted distinction The remaining forty three, what was left of them, were cremated at night time and posthumously ennobled The story, such as it is, finds a Mr Heard, an Anglican bishop, leaving his post in Africa he was the Bishop of Bampopo and arrives to visit his cousin on the island He meets a slew of interesting characters, such as Mr Keith, who is an unabashed hedonist, a Count, and a Duchess Also living on the island are some Russian monks The Mr Heard stays on the island the he relaxes his religious views, as his moral fiber is constantly tested.The only event to occur in the book is very near the end, when Mr Heard witnesses a murder someone being pushed off a cliff There is a trial, with the wrong person having been arrested Mr Heard says nothing, which is quite immoral for a Bishop.Douglas was mostly known as a travel writer who lived on Capri, and this was his only successful novel It s a curiosity than anything else, a collection of bon mots that don t really add to up to anything complete But I m glad I read it flag Like see review Jan 22, 2018 Monty Milne rated it really liked it review of another edition I enjoyed this a great deal I didn t know much about the author except that when the cookery writer Elizabeth David encountered him living in exile n Capri she thought him amusing company for a waspish old pederast Well, this is certainly waspish the satire has a cruel edge as effective satire must , and it is frequently laugh out loud witty though sometimes teetering into absurdity It s also old that is to say, in style and spirit it is clearly the kind of thing from a different age I enjoyed this a great deal I didn t know much about the author except that when the cookery writer Elizabeth David encountered him living in exile n Capri she thought him amusing company for a waspish old pederast Well, this is certainly waspish the satire has a cruel edge as effective satire must , and it is frequently laugh out loud witty though sometimes teetering into absurdity It s also old that is to say, in style and spirit it is clearly the kind of thing from a different age I never met my Grandmother s older brothers, but they were wealthy bachelors of a dilettante bent who wore orchids in their buttonholes I feel sure they knew and loved this book.The pederasty is of course very muted, but the clues are there between the lines The character one senses that the author fancied most is a 19 year old English boy called Denis Why Denis and not Dennis Is it because the Frenchified spelling is a clue that we are dealing with someone of dodgy predilections q.v E M Forster s even dodgy hero Maurice who had he been christened Morris would surely have become a Chartered Accountant with a wife and two children and lived in dreary suburbia Denis is interesting but one of the natives Count Calevoglia is my favourite Like everyone else in this book, he is something of a fraud or at least has something to conceal Uncovering the secrets of the characters inner lives is one of the pleasures of this novel That, and the colourful sense of place, the fizzing erudition or cod erudition , and the discourses on art, pleasure, and aesthetics.There are weaknesses Most of the characters speak in the same register, so that one feels they are all really manifestations of the author, and it is sometimes difficult to tell them apart, especially early on There is not much of a plot until the last few chapters, it is hard to find a plot at all But I got a very pleasant splash of Mediterranean colour and sunlight from this book, and short of jetting off to the southern hemisphere what better way to escape from a cold, wet, dismal English January flag Like see review Jun 28, 2014 Edwin Lang rated it really liked it review of another edition Shelves read in 2014 Norman Douglas noted that Madame Steynlin unmarried but incurably romantic and a minor character called her lover, another minor character her Little Peter, or in his expansive moments, Peter the Great and that served to define what we were reading here on Nepenthe, during the spring when the south winds blows strongly, nothing is sacred, especially reputations and as Keith, polyglot and ironically, afraid of growing old and of death chastises Mr Heard saying It strikes me that y Norman Douglas noted that Madame Steynlin unmarried but incurably romantic and a minor character called her lover, another minor character her Little Peter, or in his expansive moments, Peter the Great and that served to define what we were reading here on Nepenthe, during the spring when the south winds blows strongly, nothing is sacred, especially reputations and as Keith, polyglot and ironically, afraid of growing old and of death chastises Mr Heard saying It strikes me that you attach inordinate importance to human life Or, when a chapter begins recalling the book was written near the close of the Great War, and published in 1921 with The Russian Government is notoriously tender hearted one is forced to pause and interject a Huh and it goes to show that by p 145 out of 464 one doesn t know yet what to make of the book Is it story of a Thomas Heard, Bishop, Doctor of Divinity, of his rehabilitation after a trying period as Bishop of Bampopo, in the equatorial regions, Africa is it about the different people he meets and ideas he is exposed to is it about his cousin Mrs Meadows well, when by chapter 15 which begins with Nothing was happening we are inclined to agree Nonetheless the book, at least for me, was an absolute gem, although it required a lot of time, energy and faith to get through it Mr Heard , tired, worn out, confused, the foundation of his faith and life shaken, was likely the one who had to most to say and yet through the story Norman Douglas had him say or do the least among all the characters I guess he was us to a large degree although he wasn t present or involved in many chapters and storylines It was funny to have Mr Heard in a lead but passive role, among characters , who like him were for the most part non residents of Nepenthe and there because they were wealthy, were affluent in some way, were fleeing e.g imprisonment who at the end of the day were not necessarily good or sound in mind It seemed everyone was on the take, residents and visitors, or had some issue they were wrestling with and seeking to resolve and yet that resolution did not define the book South Wind generally comprised a series of non sequential episodes that ended, sometimes abruptly and without climax However, if there were one thing that I loved about the book though and Norman Douglas style, were the characterizations Douglas did a good, good job of introducing and getting us to know his characters naked to their very core and the island and terrain Almost in summary, Norman Douglas has a character describe Nepenthe as drenched in volatile beauty and providing an interlude of witchcraft, where nature is a tremble with the miraculous.The story takes place over the 12 days that Bishop Heard sails to and remains on Nepenthe Unless I am mistaken it is a country that does not exist and Norman Douglas also never actually reveals what the south wind was, except perhaps to emphasize its effects, and particularly its effect on My Heard Nepenthe seems a land and an atmosphere where Northerners minds expand an open mind is not necessarily an empty one It just seemed a place where on one hand one could do little and yet there was dynamic about it that made the characters interesting and believable South Wind seemed to have had the effect on making the intolerable e.g cold blooded murder, tolerable, justifiable and rational People there seemed able to live and thrive amid cruelty and irrationality, and the visitors came in spite of it And yet it was not a Congo, or Central Africa Republic it was a country with a history, with saints, with culture and a future Douglas created a place that was both insignificant as far as world affairs go and significant a place where western civilization could remain in precious keep and yet vibrant and impassioned, safe I liked Norman Douglas writing, probably mostly for his sense of humour and wit There was a lot to laugh about, sometimes situations were inherently funny or absurd and sometimes Douglas carried us along with a long running joke Norman Douglas is likely broad in his thinking than deep and would likely have been great fun to have at a cocktail or dinner party, he would likely be an extrovert, and talkative, entertaining and fun I mentioned to someone who asked for a description of the book in 25 words or less, that the book is about nothing in particular, rambling on, and yet it is a wonderfully entertaining read, especially for those that like words, characters, ideas I found also that it was a book I thought that I could easily read to someone else, and that we would both enjoy the story, its fantastical nature and absurdity, and overall be entertained by it I could easily envision Norman Douglas in this mode, and laughing out loud at his own writing, the humour and satire that he had been taking care to express That is, it was simply a book to be enjoyed for the fun of it everything about it was absurd, and for the liking It reminded me how one might go for a rambling walk with a friend or dog and gain nothing from it but the joy of rambling and respite from all that weights on us just to ensure a moment of leisure, for no other reason than to enjoy those few moments.There was a period when I became impatient for something to happen, and after a while I found that Norman Douglas was perhaps asking readers for the luxury of their time not presumptuously he warns about presumption he knew the story of Polycrates, the too fortunate man He knew what lies in wait for the presumptuous mortal Nemesis , but rather in the sense of asking us for our permission for the south wind to overtake us, vicariously, for a while Edwin flag Like see review Aug 30, 2018 Flob rated it really liked it review of another edition This is an excellent read On the whole not a lot happens but there is plenty of conversation about it Considering the explosive violence of the rest of the 20th C, this feels like the calm before the storm I would have wished for a German character Wonderfully written Curious to re read Aaron s Rod after learning that Norman Douglas is a character is it flag Like see review Nov 28, 2017 Leo W rated it it was amazing review of another edition What can one say Literature s version of Seinfeld Loved it flag Like see review previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 next new topicDiscuss This Book topics posts views last activity 1000 Books Before South Wind 1 3 Feb 19, 2017 04 22AM More topics Share Recommend It Stats Recent Status Updates Readers Also Enjoyed During Douglas s years in Florence, he was associated with the publisher and bookseller Pino Orioli, who published in Italy in his Lungarno series a number of Douglas s books and also works by other English authors, many of which such as the first edition of Lawrence s Lady Chatterley s Lover , would have been prosecuted for obscenity if published in London Douglas probably had a major hand in writing Orioli s autobiography, Memoirs of a Bookseller.Further scandals led to Douglas leaving Italy for the south of France in 1937 During World War II Douglas left France, and on a circuitous journey to London, where he lived from 1942 to 1946, he published the first edition of his Almanac in a tiny edition in Lisbon He returned to Capri, where his circle of acquaintances included the writer Graham Greene and the food writer Elizabeth David He died in Capri, apparently deliberately overdosing himself on drugs after a long illness.His last known words to those near him were Get these fucking nuns away from me. Books by Norman Douglas More Trivia About South Wind 10 trivia questions More quizzes trivia Quotes from South Wind History deals with situations and figures not imaginary but real It demands therefore a combination of qualities unnecessary to the poet or writer of romance glacial judgment coupled with fervent sympathy The poet may be an uninspired illiterate, the romance writer an uninspired hack Under no circumstances can either of them be accused of wrongdoing or deceiving the public, however incongruous their efforts They write well or badly, and there the matter ends The historian, who fails in his duty, deceives the reader and wrongs the dead 2 likes I grow intolerant of fools as the years roll on If I had a son, I was saying, I would take him from school at the age of fourteen, not a moment later, and put him for two years in a commercial house Wake him up make an English citizen of him Teach him how to deal with men as men, to write a straightforward business letter, manage his own money and gain some respect for those industrial movements which control the world Next, two years in some wilder part of the world, where his own countrymen and equals by birth are settled under primitive conditions, and have formed their rough codes of society The intercourse with such people would be a capital invested for life The next two years should be spent in the great towns of Europe, in order to remove awkwardness of manner, prejudices of race and feeling, and to get the outward forms of a European citizen All this would sharpen his wits, give him interest in life, keys to knowledge It would widen his horizon Then, and not a minute sooner, to the University, where he would go not as a child but a man capable of enjoying its real advantages, attend lectures with profit, acquire manners instead of mannerisms and a University tone instead of a University taint 2 likes More quotes renderRatingGraph 50, 66, 45, 23, 5 if rating_details rating_detailssert top rating_graph Company About us Careers Terms Privacy Help Work with us Authors Advertise Authors ads blog API Connect 2019 , Inc Mobile version

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