DOUGHTY, Charles M. The Cliffs [(A Drama of The Time, In Five Parts) on half-title]. London, Duckworth and Co, .
8vo. Original blue cloth, lettered in gilt on spine, top edge gilt; pp. [viii], 266, ; light wear to binding, otherwise a very good copy.
Reissue of the original 1909 sheets. The Cliffs and its sister texts are held by those who know of them as undiscovered treasures of English Literature, much in the same was as Doughty himself is one of the many revolutionary authors who faded into relative obscurity after his death. In this particular instance, the joy of 'The Cliffs', comes in its unparalleled eccentricity. The cast list itself is enough to may any reader balk, with TRUTH and his company of LIGHT ELVES sharing the stage with HUBERT the fisherman and the GHOST OF BUONAPARTE. Shorter than his magnum opus The Dawn In Britain, The Cliffs strikes a more whimsical tone, despite the sub themes of war, invasion and sacrifice. It is through exploiting this dichotomy that Doughty creates a compelling read, a subtlety in his later work that is oft misunderstood.
Doughty's infamous refusal to bow to Victorian standards of propriety in his writings provides amusing results, though perhaps not for the faint-hearted or politically correct. Doughty's strong sense of patriotism occasionally produces an interesting turn of phrase, particularly when discussing those born outside of Britain's shores. Nevertheless, this adds to the flavour of the book, which provides a window into the cultural and literary uncertainty at the beginning of the 20th century, and allows us to see a Doughty more at ease with his unique style of writing than ever before.
“I’ve been through much Doughty of late…its goodness defies the lack of form which would have ruined a less great work”
“A patriotic drama: invasion of Britain by aeroplane & eventual victory of ourselves, chastened into a national frame of mind”
– T.E Lawrence on Doughty and The Cliffs