book cover of Impromptu in Moribundia

Impromptu in Moribundia

(1939)
A novel by

 
 
First published in 1939 and never reprinted until now, Impromptu in Moribundia remains at once a fascination relic of the 1930's, an innovative piece of fiction-writing - especially typographically, and a novel which will strike a chord with contemporary readers. This re-publication allows readers access to one of Patrick Hamilton's rarest texts, an absorbing example of his work, too little of which has surfaced through the mists of oblivion surrounding this now much neglected writer.

Hamilton is best known for his theatrical thrillers, Rope and Gaslight, and for his mordant novel, Hangover Square (1941). Unlike much of his other fiction, Impromptu, whilst still concerned to depict the raddled English Bourgeois ideology of the inter-war years, belongs to a non-realist mode of thirties novel-writing, contriving 'parallel' worlds through fable, allegory, satire and dystopia to excoriate contemporary social and political tendencies. Hamilton exploits the boldly simplified, cartoon-like methods of fabulation to make his fictive Moribundia a concrete realization of the stereotypes and myths of English middle-class culture and consciousness. The visitor from 'Earth' finds himself actually watching the cricket-match from Henry Newbolt's Edwardian poem, Vita Lampada, while Moribundians think and talk only in the clichs of mass journalism and advertising. Hence the incidence of 'ballooning' - one of Hamilton's finest comic inventions: in some conversations, a balloon appears out of the top of a Moribundian's head on which are inscribed the words of an advertisement of the 'Thinks' variety. These are physically depicted in the text in graphic typographical form.

In a world now characterised as 'postmodern' - where political apathy and rampant consumerism driven by ubiquitous advertising and media-imaging seem to be its defining features, and where simulacra displace the reality they deceptively resemble - Hamilton's vision of Moribundian 'Unchange', and of the consumerised reification represented by 'ballooning', may seem eerily familiar.


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Used availability for Patrick Hamilton's Impromptu in Moribundia

Hardback Editions

November 2011 : UK Hardback
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Title: Impromptu in Moribundia
Author(s): Patrick Hamilton
ISBN: 0-571-28364-0 / 978-0-571-28364-4 (UK edition)
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Availability: Amazon   Amazon CA   


Paperback Editions

December 2018 : UK Paperback
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Title: Impromptu in Moribundia
Author(s): Patrick Hamilton
ISBN: 0-349-14162-2 / 978-0-349-14162-6 (UK edition)
Publisher: Abacus
Availability: Amazon UK   Amazon AU   


November 2011 : UK Paperback
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Title: Impromptu in Moribundia
Author(s): Patrick Hamilton
ISBN: 0-571-28363-2 / 978-0-571-28363-7 (UK edition)
Publisher: Faber and Faber
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


April 1999 : UK Paperback
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Title: Impromptu in Moribundia
Author(s): Patrick Hamilton
ISBN: 0-905488-33-4 / 978-0-905488-33-2 (UK edition)
Publisher: Trent Editions
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


Kindle Editions

December 2018 : Australia, UK Kindle edition
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Title: Impromptu in Moribundia
Author(s): Patrick Hamilton
Publisher: Abacus
Availability: Amazon UK   Amazon AU