Title: Great Circle.
Publisher: Arbor House Publishing, New York, NY
Publication Date: 1984
Edition: 1st Edition
First Edition Thus; First Printing indicated. Very Good in Wraps: shows indications of very careful use: just a touch of wear to the extremities and the lamination is lifting right at the lower front corner tip; mild rubbing to wrapper covers; the pages have tanned rather heavily, due to aging and foxing at the front and rear endpapers; four pages lightly riffled at the bottom corner near the end of the book; the binding leans very slightly, while remaining perfectly secure; text clean. Despite a number of minor flaws, still appears close to 'As New'. NOT a Remainder, Book-Club, or Ex-Library. 8vo. 335pp. Introduction by Graham Greene. (The Arbor House Library of Contemporary Americana). Trade Paperback. Conrad Aiken's Great Circle is a psychological study of a middle-aged man who is reliving a childhood trauma. Written during the early years of psychoanalytic theory, the novel is a veritable guidebook of Freudian concepts such as regression, transferance and oedipal guilt. In the first part of the novel, the protagonist, Andrew Cather, is a Harvard academic who is desperately struggling to cope with the breakdown of his marriage. The reader only begins to understand the magnitude (and real source) of Cather's pain in the second part of the novel which is written in stream of consciousness. In this second section of the novel Cather is a twelve year old child who, within a span of a few days, makes several discoveries, each more painful and unsettling than the last. Aiken's use of stream of consciousness is very powerful. The reader vicariously experiences every blow to the protagonist's psyche. The story is all the more poignant because it is a young child's psyche that is being battered. The novel has some autobiographic overtones -- Aiken was well-acquainted with childhood trauma. The characters in this novel, with the exception of the 12 year-old Cather, are unsympathetically-drawn and are hardly appealing. The story, also, is harsh and disturbing. In contrast, Aiken's prose is incredibly beautiful and poetic. Aiken experimented with punctuation, parts of speech and spelling which serves to strengthen the poetic tone of the book. The Arbor House paperback edition contains an introduction by Graham Greene which sheds much light onto the themes of the novel. Reportedly, Sigmund Freud considered this book a masterpiece of psychoanalytic fiction. After reading it, one can certainly understand why. Those interested in literature and psychology should not pass this book over. It is a fascinating and effective work of art. First Edition Thus; First Printing indicated. Bookseller Inventory # 42485
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