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eBook formatHardcover, (torrent)En
PublisherHarcourt Brace & Company
File size5.5 Mb
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Pages count372
Book rating4.5 (2 votes)
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Resurrection by William Gerhardi. New York. 1934. Harcourt Brace & Company. 372 pages... ‘Resurrection’ is fiction and autobiography mergedinto one. For though, in its passionate argument forthe resurrection of the body, it presents the entire truth of the author’s experience, it remains fiction inits technique and in its surface of names and pattern.A brilliant London ball furnishes the setting. Here are encountered the singular and bright individuals whose lives and thoughts have contributed to the reality of the author’s existence. Throughout this affair, dancing, falling in love, conversing, eating, he is driven by the powerful conviction that has lately come to him - the conviction that we do not die. This belief so colors and compels each moment, that he has the force to relive his entire life in the course of the evening. More than half of the book is given to an extraordinary recital, during which the author summons up the experiences he had in one year that was unusually crowded with adventure of every sort, a year of travel when he visited America, Greece, Egypt, India. Returning to the ball at last, he returns to his present and to the bewildering contrast that his new belief in an after-life provides. The whole last section is a record of the personal conflict, subtly played out in the setting with which the novel begins. New in treatment as in story, this represents William Gerhardi’s most mature contribution to fiction. The style and signature are unmistakable; and they are the same that distinguished such novels as FUTILITY and THE POLYGLOTS.


William Alexander Gerhardie (1895-1977) was a British (Anglo-Russian) novelist and playwright. Gerhardie (or Gerhardi: he added the ‘e’ in later years as an affectation) was one of the most critically acclaimed English novelists of the 1920s (Evelyn Waugh told him ‘I have talent, but you have genius’). H.G Wells was a ferocious champion of his work. His first novel Futility, was written while he was at Cambridge and drew on his experiences in Russia fighting (or attempting to fight) the Bolsheviks, along with his childhood experiences visiting pre-revolutionary Russia. Some say that it was the first work in English to fully explore the theme of ‘waiting’ later made famous by Samuel Beckett in WAITING FOR GODOT, but it is probably more apt to recognize a common comic nihilism between those two figures. His next novel, THE POLYGLOTS is probably his masterpiece (although some argue for DOOM). Again it deals with Russia (Gerhardie was strongly influenced by the tragi-comic style of Russian writers such as Chekhov who he wrote a study of while in College). He collaborated with Hugh Kingsmill on the biography ‘The Casanova Fable’, his friendship with Hugh being both a source of conflict over women and a great intellectual stimulus. After World War II Gerhardie’s star waned, and he became unfashionable, and although he continued to write, he had nothing published after 1939. After a period of poverty-stricken oblivion, he lived to see two ‘definitive collected works’ published by Macdonald (in 1947-49 and then revised again in 1970-74). More recently, both Prion and New Directions Press have been reissuing his works. Asked how to say his name, he told The Literary Digest ‘Pronounced jer (as Ger in Gerald) hardy, with the accent on the a: jer-har’dy. This is the way I and my relatives pronounce it, tho I am told it is incorrect. Philologists are of the opinion that it should be pronounced with the g as in Gertrude. I believe they are right. I, however, cling to the family habit of mispronouncing it. But I do so without obstinacy. If the world made it worth my while I would side with the multitude.’ (Charles Earle Funk, What’s the Name, Please?, Funk & Wagnalls, 1936).

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