Read The Rock Pool by Cyril Connolly Free Online
Book Title: The Rock Pool|
The author of the book: Cyril Connolly
ISBN 13: 9780892550593
Edition: Persea Books
Date of issue: June 30th 1999
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 1.51 MB
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Reader ratings: 6.1
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An interesting novel with some rather unlikeable characters (especially the protagonist). It is set in the south of France in the 1930s in the fictional Trou-sur-mer (based on Cagnes). Living there are a bunch of disparate and rather bohemian characters of varying nationalities. They are all fairly dissolute and for the time it was considered shocking. It was initially published in France in 1936 because no publisher in England would touch it. It was not published in Britain until 1947. What was so shocking? Extreme violence? No. Explicit sex? No.
What was so shocking were the descriptions of lesbians and gay men as functioning members of society and living openly with human strengths and weaknesses. This was unacceptable to the English publishers who looked at it in the 1930s. The Narrator, Naylor was a particular type of Englishman, public school and Oxbridge, a little money, no real occupation and no real purpose. He is also rather unpleasant. He sees Trou-sur-mere as a rock pool whose inhabitants he can study. Inevitably he becomes part of the "pool" and the story charts his decline.
Connolly took his characters from real life and in the early 1930s he and his wife had lived and travelled in the south of France. The origin for the Naylor character was apparently killed in the war flying for the RAF. Racasse, the artist, survived and Connolly had a picture of Connolly and his wife painted by the artist the character is based on. The Rock Pool is basically an attack on the English social system and charts the downfall of some of the "bright young things" of the late 20s. Naylor is a passive character and Peter Quennell has likened him to Frederic in Flaubert's Sentimental Education.
There are some marvellous comic moments and the middle class Englishman is shown up for what he is. There is also the sense of of something coming to an end, no more innocence. A brief book, an easy read and well written. However, given its quality I am surprised it is so little known.
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Read information about the authorCyril Connolly was born in Coventry, Warwickshire in 1903. Educated at Eton and Balliol College, Oxford he was a regular contributor to the New Statesman in the 1930s.
Connolly also co-edited Horizon (1939-41) with Stephen Spender and later was literary editor of the The Observer. Books by Connolly include the novel, The Rock Pool (1938), the autobiographical, Enemies of Promise (1938) and The Unquiet Grave (1944), a collection of aphorisms, reflections and essays.
After the Second World War Connolly was the principal book reviewer of the Sunday Times. He also published several other books including The Condemned Playground (1945), Previous Convictions (1963) and the Modern Movement (1965). Cyril Connolly died in 1974.
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