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Jacobson, Howard

polytechnic cain

(British, 1942– )

Born in Manchester and educated at Cambridge, Jacobson lectured for several years at Wolverhampton Polytechnic before publishing his first novel, Coming from Behind (1983). This tells of an English lecturer, Sefton Goldberg, marooned in the grim confines of Wrottesley Polytechnic, yearning for the warm sun of the South, and dreaming of achieving success as a novelist. The plot may imply autobiographical realism, yet it is a comedy of Rabelaisian proportions which displays moments of true comic mastery. The Very Model of a Man (1992) is perhaps more daring in its recreation of Cain, the world's first murderer. Condemned to permanent exile for killing his brother Abel, Jacobson's Cain challenges God's notions of love and creation in a characteristically irreverent display of philosophical fireworks.

Tom Sharpe, William Boyd, Malcolm Bradbury  RP

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