N(orman) F(rederick) Simpson Alan Brien - Essay

Alan Brien

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

N. F. Simpson's prose hardly ever deviates into sense. It is a palimpsest of non-sequiturs, a double acrostic of crossword clues. It is also true farce in that it aims to provoke laughter by deceiving us into admitting impossible connections between improbable opposites. But with Simpson, the opposites are ideas as well as persons. He provokes the head-laugh as well as the belly-laugh. His jokes are brain-splitting as well as side-splitting. Once we have made the electric connection between the two poles of his irony, we can no longer refuse to believe in the reality of the circuit. It is the Swiftian conjuring trick performed in the manner of Feydeau.

At least, that was my understanding of Mr....

(The entire section is 657 words.)