Catastrophe Practice: Plays for Not Acting, and Cypher, a Novel

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Dalkey Archive Press, 1979 - Literary Collections - 342 pages
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In his recent novels--including his award-winning Hopeful Monsters--Nicholas Mosley has investigated the patterns that govern our mental and emotional lives and the possibilities that we have for change, and nowhere has he explored such themes with greater concentration than in Catastrophe Practice. A unique book whose characters and concerns are the basis for the other four novels of the Catastrophe Practice Series - Hopeful Monsters, Imago Bird, Judith and Serpent--Catastrophe Practice is remarkable both in its form (three plays with prefaces and a novella) and in its ability to convey the complexities of thought. Drawing upon catastrophe theory to examine the discontinuities in human personality and our tendency to progress suddenly rather than smoothly, the six characters of Catastrophe Practice struggle to disrupt traditional ways of being. These characters (and the author) feel that conventional ways of interpreting the world have become destructive--conventional language, conventional feelings, conventional situations--and try to find a way to realize genuine experience. The basic optimism of the book is affirmed in the fact that the characters do progress, as they move away from the tragic or comic models hitherto provided by literature into categories more suited to growth and actualized living.

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Catastrophe practice: plays for not acting; and Cypher, a novel

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The three plays and one short novel that make up Catastrophe Practice show humans still fumbling about between two worlds--one dead, the other powerless to be born--that Arnold wrote about. Like ... Read full review


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About the author (1979)

Born in London, Mosley was educated at Eton and Balliol College, Oxford and served in Italy during the Second World War, winning the Military Cross for bravery. He succeeded as 3rd Baron Ravensdale in 1966 and, on the death of his father on 3 December 1980, he also succeeded to the Baronetcy. His father, Sir Oswald Mosley, founded the British Union of Fascists in 1932 and was a supporter of Benito Mussolini. Sir Oswald was arrested in 1940 for his antiwar campaigning, and spent the majority of World War II in prison. As an adult, Nicholas was a harsh critic of his father in "Beyond the Pale: Sir Oswald Mosley and Family 1933-1980" (1983), calling into question his father's motives and understanding of politics. Nicholas' work contributed to the 1998 Channel 4 television programme titled 'Mosley' based on his father's life. At the end of the mini-series, Nicholas is portrayed meeting his father in prison to ask him about his national allegiance. Mosley began to stammer as a young boy, and attended weekly sessions with speech therapist Lionel Logue in order to help him overcome the speech disorder. Mosley says his father claimed never really to have noticed his stammer, but feels Sir Oswald may have been less aggressive when speaking to him than he was towards other people as a result.

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