Being Blunt

The book is a novel, one of several by Mr. Banville, and yet as Knopf's classification suggests (and as it seems, in keeping with the literary rage these days), it is not to be taken as a novel only.

Issue: Winter 1997-1998

Being Blunt

Byline:Midge Decter

John Banville, The Untouchable (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1997).

On the copyright page of John Banville's The Untouchable, its American publisher provides the requisite "Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data" as follows: "Espionage, Soviet--Great Britain--History--Twentieth century--Fiction." The book is a novel, one of several by Mr. Banville, and yet as Knopf's classification suggests (and as it seems, in keeping with the literary rage these days), it is not to be taken as a novel only. For the book purports to be a first-person memoir by an aging gentleman who is beyond any doubt the late Anthony Blunt, prestigious British art historian, familiar at Windsor Castle, one-time official of the British counter-intelligence service, receiver of a knighthood, pederast, and Soviet spy.

You must be a subscriber of The National Interest to access this article. If you are already a subscriber, please activate your online access. Not a subscriber? Become a subscriber today!