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The Prevalence of Witches by Aubrey Menen

The Prevalence of Witches by Aubrey Menen

9.98

New York : Charles Scribner's Sons, 1948. First edition with Scribner "A" on the copyright page. Hardcover. 271 pp. ; 20 cm. $2.75 dust jacket. Owner name on flyleaf. Pages are age toned, clean and unmarked. Binding is firm.


THE PREVALENCE OF WITCHES
by AUBREY MENEN

Not since Voltaire unveiled Candide has there been a satire of the rare quality of this novel by Aubrey Menen. His deft pen pricks and probes relentlessly at the pretensions of modern civilization, and furnishes needed proof that English literature is still vividly alive.

The setting of this story is a section of India called Limbo, a territory comparatively unsullied by the grimy paw of civilization—and fortunately so, we are finally forced to conclude. A Limbodian chieftain is accused of murder under the British civil law, although in Limbodian eyes he has committed no crime but has merely rid his community of a particularly evil witch. Three highly educated and articulate Englishmen, an American missionary, and a phony Swami pool their eccentric talents in an effort to see justice done according to Limbodian beliefs. The result is a hilarious, ingenious rationalization of the native religion, to the detriment of many of our own cherished ideas. So smoothly and subtly is it done that the reader finds himself agreeing heartily with the surprising denouement.

The Prevalence of Witches is wonderfully witty, but it is deceptively light reading, inasmuch as it pierces to the very fundamentals of our customs and mores. It is satirical; yet never bitterly so. Beautifully written in a style all too infrequent these days, it is a book to which you will return with added pleasure whenever the weight of the world becomes an insupportable burden.


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