Friday 20 September 2019

The Fortunes of 'Nigel'

There's one in Anita Brookner's 2003 novel The Rules of Engagement. I'm 47*, and there weren't any in my peer group at school. Recent news reports suggest it is a rare choice for parents.

My copy of Scott's The Fortunes of Nigel (1822) dates from the 1920s. This is very likely one of the last times the novel was in print. And why? Could it be the title? The novel itself is wonderful, a fantasy of the past, in this case set in Jacobean London, and richly literary.

No doubt the political associations** of the name 'Nigel', in the UK at least, will continue to keep the novel from our bookstores.

*That is my actual age. I haven't been that age 'for some years'. For more on this intriguing topic, see here.
**I faintly recall a Farage-themed TV documentary named after Scott's novel, but cannot find the reference.

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