SANITY ISLAND: A NOVEL. London: Chatto & Windus, 1941. Octavo, pp. [i-vi] vii [viii] 1-311 [312: printer's imprint], original scarlet cloth, spine panel stamped in white, top edge stained scarlet, fore and bottom edges rough trimmed. First edition. "SANITY ISLAND, both funny and serious at the same time, is the novelsitic equivalent of the Marx Brothers' DUCK SOUP (1933). The peaceful island nation of Meridia remains untouched by the horrors of World War II because it is of no strategic value to any of the warring powers. The disruptive forces embodied in the the Nazi and Communist parties threatens to replicate itself on a smaller scale, however, when Hugo Frinck, the self-proclaimed "Strongest Man," a former journalist who idolizes Adolf Hitler, plots to become the dictator of Meridia via his leadership of The Strong Men, a fascist movement whose goose-stepping adherents, the Purple-Shirts, parade about the capital sowing unease. Their primary opposition rests with the local Communists whose leader, Torsen, also dreams of ruling the country and smashing all opposition. Alarmed by the possibility of Meridia being plunged into the same senseless violence as the rest of Europe, Mervyn Hobhouse, the British Consul in Meridia, and Nicholas Klap, the son of a wealthy Meridian perfume and soap manufacturer, recruit Bilbo the Clown and his family of acrobats and comediennes to lead the revolution of Humorous Rearmament. Hobhouse believes that dictators such as Hitler and Stalin are the direct result of humankind having lost its sense of humor and that, if people actually realized how ridiculous such individuals truly are, the resulting laughter would destroy such tyrants and their ability to terrorize millions of innocents. For Hobhouse, laughter is necessary for humans to recognize their shortcomings and to embrace tolerance, pity, and understanding. As Humorous Rearmament gains traction, Frinck, who has no sense of humor, attempts to assassinate Hobhouse, but Bilbo and his young son Andrew, a skilled ventriloquist, sow the seeds of Frinck's downfall at a Strong Man rally where Frinck mysteriously suffers from uncontrollable flatulence while attempting to whip his supporters into a frenzy. While SANITY ISLAND might strike contemporary readers as somewhat quaint, Adrian Alington's political satire is hysterical and heartbreaking, well written and utterly sincere. Hobhouse's belief that Humorous Rearmament can preserve Meridia's peace and transform the nation into the utopian Sanity Island is clearly an expression of Alington's own hope for Great Britian's role in the early days of World War II when he published this novel. A wonderful book that is worth resdiscovering." - Boyd White. Gerber, Utopian Fantasy (1973), p. 154. Sargent, British and American Utopian Literature, 1516-1985, p. 221. Bleiler (1948), p. 20. Not in Reginald (1979; 1992). Bookplate of William Inman affixed to the front free endpaper. Some patchy fading to cloth (bleed through from jacket), a nearly fine copy in very good copy (priced 7/6 on the front flap) with light wear at edges, mainly spine ends. A nice example of a very scarce jacket. (#167014).
No statement of printing.