Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)


*London. Capital city of the British Empire, whose neighborhoods, landmarks, public houses, and climate provide a constant source of energy for a maverick artist. His friends, admirers, rivals, and passersby represent the rich variety of life in Great Britain just before the war that significantly transformed the city. Other parts of the city are brought into the narrative as Jimson pursues his quest for a place to paint. The wealthy patron Hickson lives in “Portland Place, top end, near the park,” one of the more affluent sections of the city. The Beeders, who are collectors, live in a modern development called Capel Mansions, a relatively tasteful, slightly ostentatious group of town houses that Jimson describes as “fine large new buildings in the playbrick design.” The sculptor’s model Lolie is described as good stock by her husband, who identifies her as being from Bethnal Green. Sara Monday, Jimson’s lifelong, truest love, lives with her common-law husband in Chattfield Buildings, grim, squalid, deteriorating tenements probably built as inexpensive lodgings for the poor. These locations, as well as public houses in Chelsea, Hammersmith, and Belgravia—bohemian quarters near the city’s center—contribute to the ambience of the metropolis and deftly suggest its complexity. A bus tour that Jimson and his admirer Nosy Barbon take provides additional details to deepen the picture.

*River Thames


(The entire section is 455 words.)

The Horse's Mouth Bibliography

(Great Characters in Literature)

Adams, Hazard. Joyce Cary’s Trilogies: Pursuit of the Particular Real. Gainesville: University Presses of Florida, 1983. Discusses Cary’s philosophical and political ideas in The Horse’s Mouth. Particularly good on Cary’s uses of William Blake’s poetry.

Bloom, Robert. The Indeterminate World: A Study of the Novels of Joyce Cary. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1962. Considers Cary’s attempt to combine the serious and the comic in a single novel; includes a useful list of Cary’s other publications.

Cook, Cornelia. Joyce Cary: Liberal Principles. New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1981. An incisive overview of the themes, motifs, and intellectual backgrounds of The Horse’s Mouth from a social perspective.

Echeruo, Michael J. C. Joyce Cary and the Dimensions of Order. New York: Harper & Row, 1979. Examines The Horse’s Mouth as an expression of an existential impulse toward human freedom and artistic expression.

Wolkenfeld, Jack. Joyce Cary: The Developing Style. New York: New York University Press, 1968. Emphasizes the use of poetic language in the depiction of the protagonist’s artistic vision and his personal psychology.