Early Armored Cars by Bartolomew

By Bartolomew

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The gifted but unbalanced son of a distinguished archaeologist had once told Middleton, while they were both drunk, that he had mischievously planted a pagan symbol in the tomb of an early Christian which his archaeologist father was then excavating. Middleton, who has hirnself since then become a leading historian, has remained silent about the deception, convincing hirnself that he does so out of loyalty to his friend, who had soon afterwards been killed in the First World War. But we see dearly that he has remained silent because he cannot accept the fact of deli berate human wickedness and deceit.

In Wilson's Hemlock and After (1952) Bernard Sands has to win the blessing both of the state and of an ominously authoritarian county and business set before he can establish his centre for writers; in Murdoch's The Flight /rom the Enchanter (1956) the mysterious tycoon, Mischa Fox, not only is an influential press baron but also directly manipulates the political and administrative life of the country. Those who seek power - James Sands in Wilson's Hemlock and After, John Middleton in Wilson's Anglo-Saxon Attitudes (1956), Lefty Todd in Murdoch's Under the Net (1954), Bill Mor in Murdoch's The Sandcastle (1957) - seem marked by an egotism or by an authoritarian spirit singularly in tune with the brutal and morally impoverished modern industrial world in which they live.

However, it was in drama, written for television as weIl as for the stage, that the most striking innovations were made (see also Chapter 6). The plays of Arnold Wesker, John Arden, Harold Pinter, David Mercer and Edward Bond brought a new seriousness of content and of purpose to drama, making the theatre the principal vehicle in the decade for debate and discussion about social and political issues. Perspectives were often contradictory . The pessimism of Pinter with his imagery of collapse, of decline, of menace, was countered by the bleak optimism ofBond, the resignation ofWesker by the activism ofMercer and Arden.

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