AUGUSTUS CARP ESQ. by Henry Howarth Bashford


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Bashford's hilarious comic novel, first published anonymously in 1924, was rediscovered by Anthony Burgess in the ’60s: it's a faux autobiography of a self-righteous boor who is completely oblivious of just how obnoxious he is. The eponymous Carp, a middle-aged, middle-class prig, disguises his offensive behavior in the language of "Xtian" virtue. An active member of such groups as the Anti-Dramatic and Saltatory Union and the Society for the Prevention of Strong Drink Traffic, Carp is himself a glutton, given to a history of uncontrolled flatulence and other stomach ailments. Capable of rationalizing his life failures, he blackmails his way into employment as a "Xtian" bookdealer and marries into a family of homely women with incomes. Bashford's genius transcends the obvious hypocrisies; his language and characters remind you of Pale Fire, or that other remarkable one-shot, A Confederacy of Dunces.

Pub Date: March 1st, 2001
ISBN: 1-85375-411-0
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Prion/Trafalgar
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 2001