Arthur & George

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Arthur & George
JulianBarnes Arthur&George.jpg
First edition
Author Julian Barnes
Cover artist Bill Sanderson
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre Historical novel
Publisher Jonathan Cape
Publication date
7 July 2005
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages 352 pp
ISBN 0-224-07703-1
OCLC 61286197

Arthur & George (2005) is the tenth novel by English author Julian Barnes which takes as its basis the true story of the 'Great Wyrley Outrages.'

Plot introduction[edit]

Set at the turn of the 20th century, the story follows the separate but intersecting lives of two very different British men: a half-Indian solicitor and son of a Vicar, George Edalji, and the world-famous author of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Roughly one-third of the book traces the story of Edalji's trial, conviction, and imprisonment for a crime he did not commit. About one-third of the book traces the story of Doyle's life and his relationships with his first wife Louisa Hawkins and his platonic lover Jean Leckie. Roughly one-third of the book concerns Doyle's attempt to clear the name of Edalji and uncover the true culprit of the crime. Julian Barnes called it ' a contemporary novel set in the past' and the book does not aim to stick closely to the historical record at every point.

Characters in "Arthur & George"[edit]

  • George Edalji, solicitor in Birmingham
  • Charlotte Edalji née Stoneham, George's mother
  • Shapurji Edalji, George's father, vicar of Great Wyrley
  • Maud Edalji, George's sister
  • Mr. Meek, George's lawyer
  • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the famous author
  • Jean Leckie, Conan Doyle's second wife
  • Louisa Doyle née Hawkins, Doyle's wife
  • The Mam, Arthur's mother
  • Connie, Arthur's sister
  • Willie Hornung, Connie's husband
  • Mary Doyle, Arthur and Touie's daughter

Main themes[edit]

Arthur and George is laden with the unique and complex form of irony, simultaneously comic and tragic, that Barnes is known for. In this novel, however, Edalji's race, and the question as to how large a part it played in his wrongful conviction, represents a new theme for Barnes. Other themes, however, are more familiar Barnes territory: "Britishness" in its frustrating complacence, death and spirituality, and the challenges faced by the human heart. As always, Barnes is interested in how characters are shaped over time; Arthur & George is in many ways a continued exploration of the themes he explored in Metroland, Talking it Over, Love, etc, and especially The Lemon Table.

Dramatization[edit]

Playwright David Edgar has dramatized the work for the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, with the opening performance scheduled for 19 March 2010.[1][2]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Release details[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The George Edalji Case". Birmingham City Council. Archived from the original on 29 March 2010. Retrieved 13 March 2010. 
  2. ^ Edgar, David (2010). Arthur and George (Stage Version). Barnes, Julian. London: Nick Hern Books. ISBN 978-1-84842-096-0. Retrieved 27 June 2013. 
3. Oldfield, Roger 'Outrage: The Edalji Five and the Shadow of Sherlock Holmes', Vanguard Press (ISBN 978 184386 601 5)

External links[edit]