Friday, May 31, 2013

Book Review: H. Albertus Boli, The Crimes of Galahad

Christopher Bailey: Self-Portrait

One of the two fellows above is Christopher Bailey . . . and the other, I think, is H. Albertus Boli, author of the remarkable 'autobiography' of Galahad Newman Bousted, The Crimes of Galahad.

I began reading this novel at the encouragement of an old Baylor NoZe friend, Ken Askew, albeit with no little trepidation, for the back cover warns:

Galahad Newman Bousted
is the wickedest man on earth
as he hatches an outrageous scheme to defraud his own father!
as he plots to ravish an innocent maiden!
as he plans a murder so foul, he sickens even himself!

Not the sort of book that I ordinarily would read, but it came well recommended, and turned out to be quite amusing. Galahad does undergo a sort of degradation, as one might expect from the title and back cover, but not quite as one might expect. He in fact never entirely succeeds in following through on his wicked schemes -- though not for want of intention or effort.

He had been raised as a good boy, but upon graduating from high school faced a life of penury as a clerk in his father's stationery shop. The horror of such a future -- for he felt that he deserved far better -- drove him to adopt a wicked life of selfishness, inspired by a review of some obscure Frenchman's book advocating a life of evil based on seeking one's self-interest.

But each time Galahad sets out to follow his own self-interest in ways that would result in genuine wickedness, unforeseen events intervene that transform his selfish plans into results beneficial for all concerned.

For example, Galahad spends weeks and weeks carefully preparing the aforesaid ravishing of an innocent maiden, only to see a large man with a club leap from hiding first and make a go for the innocent girl -- a thwarting of Galahad's plans that so enrages him that he leaps forth from his own hidden spot and successfully beats the other man senseless . . . emerging from the event not a criminal but a hero.

This sort of turnabout repeats with every evil intention that Galahad attempts to bring to fruition -- almost as though the author of all this creation graciously arranged events in Galahad's life to work for the good rather than for evil!

There's a theology in there somewhere . . . so let's see what Galahad says he's learned from life:
Let every enlightened young man take his example from me . . . . Let him gain a reputation for scrupulous honesty in every branch of affairs; let him be remarked for his humble piety and conspicuous in charity; let him devote himself with assiduous care to the happiness of those around him, that they may be found useful in promoting his own happiness. (page 403)
We could do with more such wickedness in the world! Perhaps it's not wickedness at all, after all, for the title page quotes Matthew 7:16:
Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
By those sacred words, Galahad is to be known by his fruits as a good man . . . unless we need to dig deeper to get at the root of evil. Perhaps you, dear reader, can do that digging? If so, you must first dig into this novel and mine its riches.

Book highly recommended!

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At 6:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gotta make this quickest - lightning - don't have time to log off this network and into my email.

You may notice Jeff, some hits on an old post of yours. An epal asked if Ozarkians constructed sentences using "Olde English" and I dropped in first, a link to Randolph then, I recalled your mentioning akin. I "dropped it" in the UK.


At 6:31 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...


Jeffery Hodges

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