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Defy the Foul Fiend

Defy the Foul Fiend

(1934)
or The Misadventures of a Heart
A novel by

 
Keep thy foot out of brothels, thy hand out of plackets, thy pen from lenders' books, and defy the foul fiend. ~Shakespeare
Willoughby Corbo, our hero, is born the illegitimate son of an irresponsible and irascible nobleman, Lord Ollebeare, who has a nose like a double strawberry as well as "six Norman names, a ruined house, a wild park, and one large and barren farm." With hardly a backward glance, Ollebeare dumps his unwanted wee newborn on the doorstep of his brother and hastily disappears. Willoughby is raised alone - neglected and unloved except for the attentions of a devoted (though somewhat unsavory) old servant; "Here was an equality, between the little bent old chap of seventy and the straight boy in his earliest teens, between the old centaur and the puppy hero."
At the proper age Willoughby must find a job and is thrown into a somewhat tilted modern world for which he is wholly unprepared. One employer queries:
"Eton?" asked Lord Stumber abruptly.
"Yes, thanks," said Willoughby. "I had lunch before I got the train."( Ch 4)
Willoughby sees himself as a worthless wretch and says about himself: "I am," he said," a waster for political, social, moral, artistic, philosophical, individual, creditable, and interesting reasons." (Ch 23) Ah, but after lost jobs, squalid boarding houses, unpaid debts, unsavory love affairs, and a reunion with his father, does he defy the foul fiend? The ending may surprise you.

Though better known for his short stories - John Collier received the Edgar Award as well as the International Fantasy Award in 1952 for the short story collection "Fancies and Goodnights - John Collier is also a great novelist. Defy the Foul Fiend is a gem of a read.

 
Used availability for John Collier's Defy the Foul Fiend


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Kindle Editions

July 2012 : USA, Canada, UK Kindle edition
Title: Defy the Foul Fiend or The Misadventures of a Heart
Author(s): John Collier
Publisher: eNet Press Inc.
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   



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