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Cary, (Arthur) Joyce (Lunel)

british service jimson

(British, 1888–1957)

Joyce Cary studied art in Edinburgh and Paris, fought in the Balkans before the First World War, and later travelled to Nigeria with the political service, serving in military campaigns in the Cameroons before returning to England in 1920. Aissa Saved (1932) is an account of the effect of missionaries on those they ‘save’, and Mister Johnson (1939) is a tragi-comic novel about an accommodating and ambitious black Nigerian who is betrayed by the British imperial service for which he works. Cary is best known for a trilogy telling the life stories of Gulley Jimson, a rakish English bohemian painter, Sara Monday, his model, and Mr Wilcher, a businessman. Herself Surprised (1941) and To Be a Pilgrim (1942) cover the early years, but it is The Horse's Mouth (1944), covering Jimson's final years in London, that remains one of the funniest and most astute fictional portrayals of a visual artist written in the twentieth century.

Graham Greene, V. S. Pritchett, James Joyce  WB

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