THE MAN WHO LOST HIMSELF - by Sir Osbert SITWELL
An extraordinary, experimental novel from the author of 'Before the Bombardment'. Fictionalized account of the life and death of an artist, Tristam Orlander. A refreshing and highly unique experience. A Travel Novel, Biography and the Uncanny are rolled into this incredible, "one-of-a-kind" novel.
"The solution of many a thing, that at the time constituted a mystery, is revealed in the light of those occurrences which preceded and followed it." Osbert Sitwell
From the 'Author's Preface' : "Any blame there is - at any rate if it concerns the end of the story - must attach to the author rather than his Creator. But this was not all. The very moment the book was ﬁnished, and to be called, as the writer had long planned, ‘The Man Who Found Himself’, it was discovered that a novel of identical name was announced by the publishers as ready for publication in the following week. This was, of course, quite accidental, for ideas hang about in the air over our heads in much the same way that ﬁsh glide and linger in a pool, and one author is as likely to hook a title as another. It was none the less disheartening, for the name so well ﬁtted this book which now sees the light. However, after mature reﬂection, the help of a few friends - and one, in particular, to whom the writer now makes his grateful acknowledgments - it suddenly became plain that if a Man has Found, he must also have Lost, Himself. Accordingly the book is so entitled."
Extra Features: An Editor's Preface introduces Sitwell's Novel; the author's own 'Preface' is included; Select Bibliography of Sitwell's works; the Unabridged Text, conveniently divided into chapters; Annotations at the close; Two Portraits of the Author (old and young).
An Extract from this Book: "So actual was his participation in this other life, that it was as though the abrupt rap-ping called him back from a great distance. Indeed, his physical response to it was quicker than his men-tal one, for his heart gave an automatic leap and bump at the sound, as if in fright, and he heard his voice - although it seemed a long way off - shout, "Come in". The pseudo-oriental lights in the room were softly veiled; but a single shade had somehow become tilted to one side, and its lamp threw down an intense beam of hot light upon the door.
It was thrown open, and the concierge entered, saying, "The gentleman to see you, sir". But it was the porter, his head thus illumined from above, rather than this unexpected visitor, who ﬁrst held Tristram's attention. With a sensation of nausea, as though an invisible but iron ﬁst had hit him in the diaphragm, at last he grasped the ﬂuttering memory, or association, that had been eluding him all the afternoon. Of course it was! He had been sure from the beginning that he had seen this face before, and now he recognised it. It was that of the whining, piteous child, whom many years ago he had seen so often walking in the wood, hand in hand with its vil-lainous, black-mantilla'd French mother. However, the concierge, unconcerned and grave, appeared quite ignorant of the effect he was making. masked by this surprise, a much deadlier one was in waiting. The porter retired, and the stranger advanc-ed into his place. It was only now, really, that Tristram began to puzzle over his visitor. Up till then his mind had been concerned, to the exclusion of everything else, with the identity of the concierge. But who could be coming to see him at this hour, and in this place?Who could it be? He looked up, and saw standing there a tall, young ﬁgure, his gold hair shining under the light, the narrowing, upward-slanting and deep blue eyes ﬁxed upon his and ﬂashing out a whole ﬁre of contempt and hatred; a tall young ﬁgure, every line instinct with beauty, pride and genius. The pros-perous, famous, elderly man sat there not stirring, without a movement, though the book he had been reading fell from his hand with a clatter down upon the ﬂoor; sat there, gazing at this apparition."