Thursday, April 1, 2010

ERNEST BRAMAH - New Kai Lung stories

Ernest Bramah's immortal Chinese storyteller Kai Lung has been a great favourite of the literary cognoscenti for over a century. The beautifully mannered prose and humorous incident has won over devotees such as Hilaire Belloc, critic Sir John Squire - and Lord Peter Wimsey, who is found quoting Kai Lung with approval in several of Dorothy L Sayers' detective books. Now four completely unknown new Kai Lung stories have been found and published in a new title, Kai Lung Raises His Voice (Durrant Publishing). Academic and enthusiast William Charlton (co-author of the first Arthur Machen biography)found them among Bramah's papers at Austin, Texas, and quickly realised what a prize they were. They date from the Edwardian period when Bramah's writing was at his best. "They confirm my belief," he says, "that Bramah is one of the really great humourists of our language". The collection also includes six other Kai Lung stories from Punch in the 1940s, previously only available in a limited edition, and one more from a 1924 anthology. Details from www.durrantpublishing.co.uk. Anyone who already admires the Kai Lung stories will be delighted by these new additions to the canon; anyone who doesn't know them has a great treat awaiting. Mark V

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