Here, together for the first time in one volume, are Joe Orton's earliest and last published works. Head to Toe is the saga of Gombold, who strays onto the head of a creature some hundred miles high and begins making his way through the giant's nether regions and on toward his toes. En route, he falls into the clutches of a dominating and gender-bending policewoman; finds himself in an assassination squad whose target is the prime minister; and finally enlists in an apocalyptic war between the Left and Right Buttocks. Up Against It is a screenplay commissioned by the Beatles in 1967, in which, as Orton described it, "The boys have been caught in flagrante , become involved in dubious political activity, dressed as women, committed murder, been put in prison, and committed adultery." The two works, which mirror each other in many ways, combine elements of satire, eroticism, and nightmare with Orton's characteristic glee.
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The plays of Joe Orton (1933–1967)— Loot, What the Butler Saw, Entertaining Mr. Sloane, and others—rank with Oscar Wilde's as some of the most outrageous and hilarious of our time. He was brutally murdered by his male lover at the peak of his career.From Publishers Weekly:
A cross between Gulliver and Alice, Orton's unwitting hero, Gombold, begins his journey when he wanders onto the head of a giant, hundreds of miles tall. The trip of the title, and back again, takes long enough for the host-creature to age, long enough for Gombold to have assorted adventures with assorted companions. Mostly he gets into trouble running afoul of unknown conventions, a frequent experience in such an odd landscape. Here plants talk, governments are run by large, trivial-minded women, men are occupied with war and revolution and Gombold spends many years imprisoned in a privy. Gargantuan body parts contribute an oddly gruesome, mildly distasteful humor to Gombold's travels, but on the whole his journey is a grim one, leaving him as bewildered at the end as he was at the beginning of his quest. Those who know of Orton's plays, including What the Butler Saw, and his violent death at the hands of his male lover, will recognize familiar satiric, scatological and erotic themes in this novel, which is powered by an unflagging, risk-taking imagination and the kind of energy associated with major literary talent.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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