The Blaze of Noon

July 12, 2011 § Leave a comment

All kinds of hats off to the excellent Oneworld Classics, who dedicated one of their wonderfully designed editions to a reissue of Rayner Heppenstall’s The Blaze of Noon.
Though I guess a minor literary figure, Heppenstall is certainly an interesting one: as a trailblazing producer on the Third Programme, a courtier to better writers (Dylan Thomas, George Orwell, and Muriel Spark among them), and a victim of a pretty stinging posthumous attack (as part of a tedious bit of largely unrelated deconstruction-bashing) in John Carey’s The Intellectuals and the Masses. He also wrote a few interesting books (novels, criticism, and memoirs), of which The Blaze of Noon is one of the most interesting, with its Nietzschean skullduggery and various fiddlings with notions of sense-depravation and their implications for the novel.
So, kudos to Oneworld, and I’m off to buy my copy (when it’s released)…
(As a side note, I wonder if Oneworld are considering reissuing Heppenstall’s other significant novel, The Connecting Door (1962)? It’s the main source of his association with the nouveau roman (an association mentioned twice on the Oneworld page for The Blaze of Noon) and there’s potentially a reason they could reissue it, given that I know that it was reissued by Calder & Boyars in the mid-sixties, and that Oneworld now owns the whole Calder list. It’s certainly an interesting enough period-piece: a nice postwar paranoia study/bit of quiet narrative-levels experimentalism. (And as a side side note, if they want someone to write an introduction to said prospective reissue whose PhD looks in depth at The Connecting Door, I’m only an e-mail away…))

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